- The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how ill-equipped many public health agencies, employers, and providers were to manage a global crisis
- Contakt World’s Smart Health RM is a centralized, cloud-based platform for public health agencies and employers to efficiently analyze and act on critical disease-tracking and risk data
- Through a partnership with the National Association for County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), which serves local public health departments, the SaaS platform will be accessible to 3,124 counties and cities across the U.S.
In today’s society, immediate access to nearly any product or service imaginable is no longer a luxury. Thanks to smart devices, apps, and cloud technology, it’s something consumers have come to expect.
But tragically, sectors like public health and healthcare have lagged the consumer market in their access to these solutions, despite their potential to empower public health officials to save thousands, if not millions, of lives. You see, public health agencies are tasked with keeping all their local residents safe, whereas a doctor is tasked with keeping only you safe. The two are inextricably linked, and both systems failed us—especially the most vulnerable among us—during the pandemic.
This often-overlooked injustice was thrown into sharp focus by the pandemic, which revealed just how ill-equipped many public health agencies and providers were to manage a crisis of this scale. Far too few public health agencies have the resources they need to perform contact tracing and other disease control methods efficiently enough to truly control the spread of diseases like COVID-19.
As a result, COVID-19 revealed just how fractured the health system is, leading to preventable deaths and hundreds of thousands of business closures.
In fact, according to an internal survey conducted by Contakt World in Q1 2021 through its Diamond Affiliate partnership with NACCHO, 69.2 percent of health agency respondents shared that they lacked a case management system entirely. Public health officials further cited a need for better community engagement. A lack of infrastructure revealed the disparities that exist in healthcare and public health.
“At the end of the day, COVID-19 has proven to be a great revealer of inequities and disparities in our healthcare system.” – Justin Beck, Founder, Contakt World Technologies Corp.
Through Contakt World (CSE: HELP | OLC: TLOOF), Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, Justin Beck and his team are finding solutions to fill that void by developing tech and communications tools to improve community health and safety.
“In March 2020, I became frustrated with the fact that using our phones, we can order any product online instantly, but for some reason we aren't enabling our public health agencies to manage a pandemic with that same level of efficiency,” notes Beck.
“I developed a patent application, then started talking to some of our leading minds in public health and learned that we've had the ability to build something that could manage a public health crisis like this and prevent others for decades. It's just that nobody's really put the time and attention into doing it.”
Linking public health agencies and their communities
Contakt World is more than willing to take on that job. The company’s central product, Smart Health RM, is a centralized, cloud-hosted system with dashboards where health officials can access all their collected data on COVID-19 or other infectious diseases.
They can then use it to make informed decisions around contact tracing, priority vaccine recipients, and other life-or-death choices. The system is complemented by Smart Chek, the company’s line of wearable devices, and Smart Connekt, an advanced, AI-powered communication system to help public health agencies reach as many people as possible.
The goal is to help health officials save lives by identifying cases more accurately and efficiently, while also protecting patient privacy and reducing the administrative burden that often leads to burnout.
Smart Health RM also helps agencies and enterprises with the following:
- Manage cases for COVID-19 and other contagions
- Streamlines workflows for case managers, contact tracers, and supervisors
- Allows easy communication via text, email, and interactive voice recordings
- Prioritizes case activities according to risk (patent-pending)
- Links the health agency with employers for maximum connectivity
Smart Health RM and its accompanying solutions can also be adopted by employers–such as large schools or manufacturing facilities, where administrators need to track, monitor, and reduce the risk of transmission of infectious disease of students and employees.
Contakt World is serious about bringing their technology to as many public health agencies and employers as possible. Their alignment with the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) allows them to market their solutions to 3,124 counties and cities across the U.S., which they believe will also open the market to private solutions at schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and more.
“You have to be approved to join NACCHO as a non-health agency member,” Beck explains.
“We’ve been listening to feedback from public health experts since April 2020, including NACCHO. We’re one of three Diamond Affiliate partners of NACCHO, and recently partnered with them on their inaugural Innovative Practice Award to recognize 33 health agencies who demonstrated unique methods to address the pandemic, too.”
“They're very selective–they need to make sure companies aren’t joining to market products to their health agencies that aren’t truly valuable. We see this partnership as a channel to reach the people that we need to serve, which are local health agencies, and to understand their needs. We are obsessed with serving local health agencies, since they’ve been underserved for so long–and serving them is the best gateway we can have to serve employers in their area.”
Contakt World estimates their access to market consists of 3,124 county and city health departments in the U.S., and more than 50,000 healthcare providers within those jurisdictions.
Since their launch, the company has been praised for its innovative technology-based approach. In early 2021, they were awarded the 2021 BIG Innovation Award, presented by the Business Intelligence Group. They followed that with two Stevie Awards in North American Business, then two Honorable Mentions from Fast Company for “World Changing Idea.”
Contakt World was selected for its unique combination of aggressive research and development with human-centric design, and their mission to improve health equity and save lives by modernizing public health infrastructure. “We really appreciate the accolades so far, but I think we’re just getting started,” notes Beck.
Communication is key to public health education
Accompanying Contakt World’s innovative tech solutions are media and communications initiatives designed to address serious public health education concerns, such as vaccine hesitancy.
Contakt World believes that user research-based strategies to shape messages and campaign materials are the most important part of making health communications work.
Beck adds, “having the best technology solution is one thing–but driving people to software so health experts can help them is what we’re about. So, we have the best of both worlds: a purpose-built SaaS platform, and the capacity to reach 250 million Americans each month in a highly targeted fashion in partnership with iHeartMedia and Unified. No solution exists like this, and it’s probably why health agencies are so excited.”
Through Engagency, the company’s in-house public health communications agency, and their podcast, ‘Contakt World: Truth in Health,’ the company’s goal is to act as a thought leader in the public health space–and deliver the message of local health agencies to the people in a way they’ll listen and trust.
The podcast lets Contakt World shine a light on the public health concerns we are facing at the community level and its impact on people's lives while making the information accessible for everyday folks. Its production also lets them work with the leading minds in public health.
It’s a mission that’s never felt more relevant than it does right now, amidst the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beck is particularly excited about the success of Contakt World’s podcast in Season 1, which has already won two AVA Digital Awards and reached Top 30 status on iHeartRadio. Season 2 plans are already underway to tackle broad social issues.
The podcast established Contakt World as leaders in their market by hosting visionaries like health equity leader, Daniel E. Dawes, Executive Director of Satcher Health Leadership Institute, who recently presented the Health Equity Tracker Project to the White House, renowned vaccine expert, Dr. Peter Hotez, who regularly appears on CNN, and Dr. Oscar Alleyne, Chief Program Officer for NACCHO.
It also featured other leaders in public health like Dr. Lawrence T. Brown, founder and director of the Black Butterfly Project and author of the book, "The Black Butterfly: The Harmful Politics of Race and Space in America," Emmy-Award winning journalist, Dr. Seema Yasmin, Olympian, Kemoy Campbell, thought leader for American Indian and Alaska Native rights, Abigail Echo-Hawk, and infectious disease epidemiologist, Dr. Saskia Popescu. The final episode of Season 1 even featured Dr. Kyu Rhee, Senior Vice President for CVS Health (NYSE: CVS), which has about 10,000 pharmacy locations, and CMO for Aetna, which manages a population of more than 20,000,000 members.
“We've been able to really do a deep dive into these conversations,” says Beck. “Through our conversations with this amazing roster of guests, we’ve been able to share with our listeners the pervasive issues of health and racial equity in this country. I learned a lot, and I know everyone who listens to even one episode will have a newfound respect for public health.”
Another crucial part of Contakt World’s communication outreach strategy is their new campaign to raise awareness around vaccine hesitancy, especially among Black American populations. This campaign is presented in partnership with podcast guest, Daniel E. Dawes, as well as Atlanta-based Satcher Health Leadership Institute and their affiliate organization, Black Health Equity Alliance.
“We expect to showcase our capabilities with this campaign, then hope to extend it nationally while implementing our software platform at health agencies all over the country” says Beck, of the campaign.
The campaign will be designed by Engagency and leveraged through the massive distribution capability of media partner iHeartMedia. Beck expects the campaign to garner serious media attention.
“There’s going to be an incredible creative element, and the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and Daniel E. Dawes have a very high profile within the movement to improve health equity,” Beck shares. “We expect there will be a great deal of media attention on it, and we’re excited to lend our expertise to vaccine hesitancy–but ads are just a piece of the public health and health equity picture we address.”
Working towards social change
Beyond this pandemic and into the future, Contakt World plans to set an example within its sector as an ecosystem of public health tools designed to be accessible to all kinds of people, healthcare workers and communities.
“When we serve the public health agency, we have an opportunity to improve their connection and service of their entire community–including all the businesses, hospitals, and schools. No other company is thinking this way, and we learned how important this is by listening to experts like Dr. Oscar Alleyne at NACCHO. We don’t want to be a technology company trying to tell public health experts how to do things–our technology is just an extension of public health brains and hearts.”
It seems that the new Biden administration agrees, issuing several new executive orders aimed at updating public health infrastructure to address systemic issues and hopefully, help agencies access the funds they need to take advantage of solutions like the one created by Contakt World.
The Federal Government has billions in stimulus to improve public health infrastructure, reverse the damage of the pandemic, and prepare for other disasters. Contakt World seems ready to meet these needs.
Partnerships and collaborations are another of Contakt World’s strategies to better serve local public health agencies. The company even engaged Objective Capital Partners, a leading middle-market investment bank, to run buy-side M&A, citing the value gap shareholders of Contakt World could realize between private acquisitions of SaaS by Contakt World and potential public valuation from those deals.
“To supplement our commercial strategy, we’re focused on acquiring SaaS companies that screen employees or crowds, because we can link those solutions to Smart Health RM, then use ads to drive more business and usage of the entire ecosystem.”
Other exciting partnerships include the company’s new alliances with MeshTek, recipient of investment from Shark Tank via Mark Cuban, and Kinexon, which provides technology to the NFL. MeshTek and Kinexon make wearable, wireless monitoring devices whose technologies will help Contakt World serve employers, hospitals, schools, and more through its a line of wearable devices that manage risk.
Kinexon’s wearables were part of the broader strategy that enabled an entire NFL season, for instance. The company has also collaborated with PathCheck Foundation, an MIT spinout and innovator in vaccine technologies. Of the partnerships, Beck explains, “we’re a SaaS platform, so we built the core solution in Smart Health RM, which gives us endless possibilities to manage today and prepare for tomorrow. We think we’re better suited to meet the needs of local health agencies than Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), which wasn’t developed for public health. We live and breathe public health.”
A bright future for healthcare technology
“First and foremost, I hope that even as we become more vaccinated, we address the underlying systemic issues that caused millions of preventable deaths globally,” says Beck of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We also need to prepare for variants, other contagions, and general crises of humanity.”
“At the end of the day, COVID-19 has proven to be a great revealer of inequities and disparities in our healthcare system. Because we failed to create the right sort of data systems that would prevent this, our most vulnerable populations – such as the elderly, Black and Brown communities – have suffered the most, even though we spend more in this country than anywhere else on healthcare.”
As COVID-19 has dominated public health conversations worldwide, the healthcare sector has found itself at a crossroads of digital transformation, presenting a rare opportunity for companies willing to make the leap.
With the global smart healthcare market projected to grow to USD$479 billion by 2027, innovative, forward-thinking companies have a chance to not only save lives and reduce human suffering but establish themselves as leaders in a massive and increasingly lucrative market.
Contakt World hopes that even with the end of the pandemic in sight, governments and public health agencies will harness the power of data and technology to manage disease more effectively in the future, learning from the mistakes of the past.
As a comprehensive platform designed to leverage technology and support the public health sector in promoting long-term health and safety, Contakt World is exactly the type of company we can expect to see leading the way.
To learn more about Contakt World, visit their website here.
You can also listen to Contakt World: Truth in Health on iHeartRadio wherever you listen to podcasts, or through this link.
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