CDC: UTILIZING CLOUD TO MAINTAIN PUERTO RICO’S IMMUNIZATION DATA
TechFlow’s forward-thinking cloud-based solution prevented massive data loss during a global pandemic
“Without the contractor’s exceptional IT knowledge and support, this IT system would not be in sufficient functional state to transition to a new platform with the desired data. This would have resulted in an immunization data gap for Puerto Ricans at a time when COVID and flu must be tracked.”
- The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDOH) sought TechFlow’s assistance in their joint operations, systems administration, and maintenance of the Puerto Rico Immunization Registry (PRIR) Immunization Information System (IIS).
- Immunization Information Systems support public health efforts by providing accessible immunization tracking, reporting, and vaccine coverage through GIS reporting, Mass Vaccination Support, and identification of under-vaccinated areas.
- When a catastrophic event resulted in the near total destruction of onsite hardware and critical health data, TechFlow’s foresight and prior deployment of a secure, cloud-based, data backup solution prevented massive data loss. Within 24 hours of Government approval, TechFlow had re-established the PRIR database within the Cloud and Puerto Rico’s COVID response strategy and flu immunization efforts could continue.
- The CDC rated Puerto Rico at Level 4 for COVID-19 as of February 2021, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 and a crucial need for the PRIR to be fully operational—and secure—so that the PRDOH could effectively respond to COVID-19.
The PRIR Immunization Information System (IIS) serves a critical role in tracking immunization data in Puerto Rico. This database maintains immunization records for Puerto Rico residents and is available for healthcare providers and residents to track and view their immunization history. The PRIR provides key public health benefits through immunization tracking, reporting and vaccine coverage, and identification of under-vaccinated areas, all with a goal of increasing vaccination coverage in those areas and reducing preventable diseases. The PRIR IIS would play a vital role in Puerto Rico’s strategy of immunizing its residents against COVID-19.
The PRIR confronted a common problem that many systems and agencies face with legacy IT systems: aging infrastructure and hardware, documentation misplaced or missing, and disparate systems stored within an on-premises data center. When the TechFlow team came onboard, it performed an initial gap analysis and assessment of the system and identified areas of risk and instability in the IIS system configuration. With PRDOH approval, TechFlow implemented its recommended solution.
Then disaster struck – a catastrophic failure in both primary and secondary datacenter equipment due to an electrical event caused the complete corruption and failure of the PRIR system. At a time when PRDOH needed this crucial data to support its COVID-19 vaccination readiness efforts and CDC reporting requirements, it appeared that all may be lost. However, because PRDOH teamed up with TechFlow before the disaster, TechFlow’s team anticipated the potential for just such a systemic failure and its resulting data loss and implemented a solution which secured this data.
TechFlow assessed the PRIR and identified key gaps in operations and data continuity and discovered that nightly backups of the PRIR database were not being stored. This gap convinced our team that PRIR needed an immediate and secure solution to protect the vital data in the event of a system disruption. We designed and presented the Government with a cloud backup solution that would both preserve the data and comply with all applicable HIPAA, federal, and local regulations.
When an electrical event caused catastrophic corruption and failure of the PRIR system, TechFlow was there to evaluate next steps and recovery. The PRIR could not be rebuilt in its old form and the on-premise systems were entirely lost, but TechFlow’s foresight and implementation of its solution had preserved and secured the data in the Cloud, thus avoiding what could have been a total loss of all vaccination data for Puerto Rico stored within the PRIR system.
Upon receiving approval from the Government to transition the PRIR to a new home in the Cloud, the TechFlow team re-established the database, secured and hardened the environment, and provided data access to PRDOH staff and regional users within 24 hours.
By being Always Ahead, TechFlow helped a government client avert a public health information disaster, maintain connectivity and access to critical data, and create a solution that met the high bar for government privacy and security standards. TechFlow’s IT experts listen to stakeholder concerns and requirements, analyze the system baselines, and provide solutions that not only work for the present, but anticipate the growing needs, requirements, and potential risks facing your government agency.
- TechFlow quickly diagnosed the PRIS IIS as suffering significant vulnerabilities, and efficiently implemented a cloud-based storage solution before those vulnerabilities were exposed by a systemic failure.
- Within 24-hours of Government approval, TechFlow had re-established the PRIR database within the Cloud and Puerto Rico’s COVID response strategy and flu immunization efforts could continue, helping save lives.