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Scaling contact tracing to keep employees safe

NASA deploys a modern unified application for COVID contact tracing, enabling thousands of employees and contractors to return to work safely.


Call for change

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is responsible for civilian space programs and aeronautics and space research.

NASA’s vision is to discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity. Following the successful launch of a Mars rover and safely bringing home astronauts from low-Earth orbit aboard a new commercial spacecraft, NASA has been focused on its Artemis program—to send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, establish sustainable exploration of the Moon, and to use what is learned on and around the Moon to send astronauts to Mars. The agency plans to enable NASA to safely return over 60,000 contractor employees and almost 20 thousand civil service employees by tracking via a modern unified application.

In response to COVID-19, NASA announced mandatory telework for all personnel except for employees required for mission-essential work, and developed policies pertaining to the CDC, federal, state, and local guidance to monitor its workforce. While personnel were taking extra precautions, agency leadership continued to develop and implement policies and procedures to enhance safety in the workplace.

As employees began to return to the space centers for work, the space center developed and implemented policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing manually via paper and spreadsheets depending on center. However, with these processes, agency leaders observed a lack of consistency and scalability, posing potential risks for employees. They investigated options for a digital contact tracing solution with a robust framework for all centers to adopt and pursued an Accenture solution powered by Salesforce that could be built and deployed quickly.

When tech meets human ingenuity

Accenture had previously enabled State and Local governments to react fast and effectively to COVID-19 by rolling out Salesforce Contact Tracing applications. Accenture’s Salesforce, telephony and analytics expertise led to technical solution launch for a US state within just nine days, followed by a ramp up of 200 volunteer contact tracers within the first three weeks, and another 1,000 tracers the following week. With this success, the NASA solution leveraged a pre-packaged asset to accelerate delivery of a unified solution.

Contact Tracing Capabilities

Accenture’s contact tracing solution enables data collection with guided scripts and customized workflows and rules by locality to provide the following capabilities for NASA:

  • Contact COVID-19 confirmed/suspected positive cases and identify the individuals they have been in close contact with.
  • Contact, inform, and guide all exposed contacts who are at risk or suspected positive.
  • Trigger pre-built case management flows and investigative processes to drive speed to action for contact tracers and minimize outbreak.
  • Surface data insights to track compliance and drive proactive engagement.
  • Surface infection data anonymously to the NASA Executive Decision Lens for top level agency visibility and control.
  • Interface with meeting planner for active discussions around people who may have attended similar meetings while a person is on site
  • Automatically send privacy and compliance emails after contact tracing discussions.
Pick up - Connect - Collect - Connect - Advise - Contact follow-up with supervisor
Pick up - Connect - Collect - Connect - Advise - Contact follow-up with supervisor

The solution integrates activities between the NASA chief medical office, clinical doctors, the CIO, and Security teams into one digital platform, complying with all labor relation and privacy laws to protect HIPAA, PII, and employee rights. Accenture developed a solution tailored to NASA Medical Staff’s unique needs and worked alongside all 14 NASA clinic locations to ensure a successful go-live.

A valuable difference

With Accenture’s speedy and scalable solution, NASA is using the Salesforce platform to bring employees back to the workplace safely while progressing on its mission. Accenture provided NASA visibility throughout the design and build process, proactively adjusting the application to meet users’ needs. The outcomes delivered from this effort include:

  • Starting and finishing technical deployment within just 4 weeks
  • Deploying solution to 80 medical contact tracers for a population of over 60,000 contractor employees and almost 20 thousand civil service employees
  • Scaling the solution to include email integrations
  • Offering outbound anonymized executive level Tableau reporting
  • Developing capabilities for future integration with Office365 for meeting, people, and location data
  • Linking to security operation systems like Splunk and NuVision

NASA can safely and securely limit the spread of disease with this solution and continue to expand it to integrate with access management and HR systems as well as smart devices for enhanced intelligent contact tracing.

The NASA Contact Tracking and Tracing application is available for download by appropriate federal agencies through GSA.