Using call centers to increase surge capacity: projects HEALTH and HELP

The HEALTH model outlines the requirements, specifications, and resources needed for developing a public health emergency contact center. The practice takes advantage of existing poison control centers and nurse advice lines to provide one-on-one health communication and minimize surges in demand for health and event information. It should be a cost-effective way to provide advice and automated follow-up by collaborating with partners that possess expertise and involvement in large sectors of the public during emergencies. In the event of a pandemic, the health system will be overwhelmed with the worried well and truly contagious people; it is critical that public health agencies seek additional partners to manage communications issues. This proposal is extensive, and different aspects of it could be useful to different states depending on their assets and risk situation. The HELP report was added after materials were posted, and thus has not been reviewed.

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