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Report: Three Government Entities Turn to Tech in Response to Pandemic

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The Partnership for Public Service and Microsoft have released a report on how three government agencies adopted technology platforms to expand existing services and establish a new function during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched a chatbot to address the increasing number of inquiries, enabling call center personnel to focus on calls regarding urgent medical concerns and personal requests.

“Response from veterans has been positive. Within the first few months, the chatbot saw more than 53,000 unique user sessions. During peak usage, the chatbot responded to twice as many coronavirus-related queries as did the VA tier 1 contact center over the same period of time,” the report reads.

The South Bend Common Council in Indiana responded to the health crisis by transitioning to virtual meetings to facilitate discussion on issues, while the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering launched the Medical Imaging and Data Resource Center, an initiative that facilitates analysis of medical images to detect and treat COVID-19 using artificial intelligence.

The report also mentioned several lessons learned from agencies that turned to technology during the health crisis, such as establishing a technology foundation, assessing how technology can enable mission delivery, monitoring cybersecurity concerns and putting users first when designing tech platforms.