How cloud technology is revolutionizing data management in the public sector
By: Genevieve Michaels
- COVID-19 has shown governments and health departments the importance of efficient, flexible information management
- Originally focused on permitting and inspections, HealthSpace’s solutions have broad potential applications across all areas and levels of government
- The company’s COVID-19 contact tracing app has already played a major role in helping public health departments keep up with overwhelming amounts of data
Data management is the core of governmental and public health operations. From disease surveillance to permitting and inspections, these sectors serve the needs of their citizens by managing, storing and analyzing massive amounts of information.
Historically, these sectors have been slow adopters of new technology, held back by concerns around privacy and cybersecurity. But this past year, the importance of efficient, agile data management has come into sharp focus, as public health departments across North America and the world have found themselves drowning in a tidal wave of COVID-19-related data — and struggling to keep their heads above water.
“We are the first company to create a cohesive, low-code, self-service platform that will allow government agencies to take their data management into the next generation.” — Silas Garrison, CEO and Director, HealthSpace Data Systems Ltd.
Cloud-hosted platforms were already emerging within the government space as the next-generation solution for data management, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has hastened their adoption dramatically.
One central platform revolutionizing data management
Unique within this space is major player, HealthSpace Data Systems Ltd. (CSE: HS | OTCQB: HDSLF), whose hero platform, HSCloud, and associated COVID-19 contact tracing application, stand out from their competitors for their agile, flexible nature.
Originally intended for environmental health permitting and inspection management such as enforcing restaurant food safety standards, HealthSpace’s software replaces cumbersome traditional data management systems, managing every aspect of the permitting and inspection process, from permit creation to inspection scheduling to processing complaints, directly within the platform.
HSCloud is complemented by HSTouch, which allows inspectors to conduct and record paperless field inspections in connection to the cloud-based system even without data or an Internet connection. My Health Department (MyHD) is the platform’s public-facing web extension, which allows agencies to publish inspection results online as well as provide an interactive portal to the general public for submitting information, such as license applications and complaints, online.
Since its launch, HealthSpace’s clients have broadened far beyond permitting and inspection agencies. In fact, the platform has shown its value to an exceptionally wide range of government bodies, spurred in no small part by the challenges of COVID-19 and the company’s quick launch of their contact tracing app.
“We were having conversations with our customers and hearing the pure exhaustion in their voices and the desperation in trying to manage the sheer volume and flow of information,” says HealthSpace CEO, Silas Garrison, of the pandemic’s effect on their users.
“We obviously want to help the government operate more efficiently,” Garrison continues.
“We were able to tweak parts of our self-serve platform, turn it into a brand-new contact tracing module, and within a week usher it into the market. I’m very grateful that we were able to step in at a time of great need, and that our solution was able to rise to the occasion and prove itself.”
That agility has real, tangible benefits for public health workers and the citizens they serve. When one HealthSpace client, a fairly populous midwestern city, started navigating COVID-19, their health department began receiving hundreds of times the complaints they were used to and struggling to prioritize the unprecedented flow of information.
But because of HealthSpace’s self-serve nature, the department was able to segment all COVID-19-related complaints at the touch of a button without ever needing to contact HealthSpace or make substantial, time-consuming updates to its product.
“Without our platform, it was nearly impossible to adequately identify how many people may have been exposed to positive COVID-19 cases and managing contact tracing the traditional way was out of the question,” says Garrison. “Once clients used HealthSpace, they were able to keep up with contact tracing efforts and have better access to the data collected which ultimately benefits the citizens of their area. When the government isn’t scrambling to keep up, it reduces the chaos, fear and trepidation that people feel.”
The platform’s flexibility, combined with extreme government demand for data management solutions, means HealthSpace sees serious growth potential on the horizon. Within North American local governments alone, there are thousands of agencies that must manage a high volume of data on a consistent, ongoing basis.
“Governments are heavily segmented,” explains Garrison. “Health and business regulations always run through different departments; health departments alone actually encompass 3 to 4 different department types, or sub agencies. Each of these are unique market opportunities for us.”
Tapping into new sectors
That growth has been demonstrated in the platform’s rapid adoption by agencies other than those focused on permitting and inspections.
Aside from the solution’s COVID-led expansion into public health and disease surveillance, the company has recently entered the clinical health space — and its other potential applications are even wider-ranging. Garrison shares that HealthSpace is growing into segments including agricultural departments and code enforcement.
Earlier in January 2021, the company announced a new contract with Portage County, OH, where the county will be the first to utilize the HSCloud Suite to manage its clinical and patient data. The county will also use the platform for its environmental health department.
“We are the first company to create a cohesive, low-code, self-service platform that will allow governments to take their data into the next generation,” says Garrison. “Our goal is to become the ubiquitous, preferred cloud solutions provider for governments, with HSCloud as our premiere platform.”
While HealthSpace has seen massive acceleration over the past few years, the company isn’t slowing down. With a hopefully positive trajectory towards widely vaccinated populations, a new need for data management emerges — both related to administering the new vaccines and analyzing COVID-19-related data so health officials can be better prepared for similar public health emergencies in the future.
Developments lasting beyond the pandemic
And even if the virus were to disappear tomorrow, government demand for data management isn’t going anywhere.
“Public health departments have been mired in COVID-19, but after this, they go back to managing what they always have, which is all manners of disease surveillance with things like the flu, mumps, and HIV,” Garrison explains.
“All that data gets managed and handled by health departments. And now, they realize they can manage it in a more efficient way.”
Not only is the platform gaining users, but HSCloud is evolving, too. Set to launch in the first half of 2021, the company’s new GovCall product will be a first-of-its-kind “TeleGov” platform which will allow inspectors and clinicians to conduct video meetings with citizens directly within the HSCloud platform. This enhances the already robust nature of company’s cloud data management platform by allowing routine site visits and some doctor-patient consultations to be conducted virtually.
Another development sees the company moving into the FinTech space with HSPay, which will allow for online billing and payments directly through the cloud platform for citizens who regularly have to pay various fees to these health agencies.
“Developing a mechanism that can quickly and easily collect funds from citizens and private business owners across disparate geographic regions and seamlessly remit it back to the government agencies is not a small undertaking,” says Garrison of the deliberate approach and focus on strong partnerships the company has applied to the app’s development.
“Once we are fully launched, the power and complexity of both the GovCall and HSPay platforms will be truly transformative, not only to the government space but to our company overall.”
Why investors should be excited about this company
As HealthSpace establishes its reputation, public interest in the company is building, too. In late 2020, the company announced an oversubscribed brokered offering of $6.5 million, comprising both brokered and non-brokered components.
Proceeds will be used for research and development into HealthSpace’s software, sales and marketing, as well as expanding the company’s workforce.
“We are very pleased with both the investor feedback and support we received through this placement,” shares Garrison. “These funds will help us execute more effectively while enabling us to increase growth into other areas of the government market.”
By proving the strength of its platform, HealthSpace is poised to dominate a sector that’s overdue for disruption. Government attitudes toward technology are changing, and Garrison feels that soon, these fields will no longer be considered late adopters.
He notes, “For us, it’s all about revolutionizing the way that the government even looks at technology.”
“When it comes to rolling out new solutions, we’re going to see a greater propensity for more rapid adoption of cutting-edge solutions, which we are on the cusp of providing.”
Because information management is so critical to government processes, the company’s potential to grow into untapped markets is immense. “The government has to manage information. The more they regulate, the more information they collect,” says Garrison. He emphasizes the company’s plans to broadly revolutionize data management for governments.
“There is no other company focused on becoming a ubiquitous cloud data-management solution solely for government,” he says. “There are multi-billion-dollar companies that sell technical solutions to governments, but they’re not low-code, self-serve platforms in the way that ours is. We see a multi-billion-dollar opportunity for disruption.”
To learn more about HealthSpace, visit their website here.
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HealthSpace Data Systems Ltd. Trades on the CSE under stock symbol HS, the OTCQB under stock symbol HDSLF and the FSE under 38H.