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Under the leadership of Ohio’s Lt. Governor Jon Husted, InnovateOhio’s mission is to look at all state services with an eye on customer experience, and to find ways the state can better serve constituents at lower costs.

InnovateOhio Platform (IOP), a component of the InnovateOhio program, is group of technology savvy software developers providing integrated and scalable capabilities that enable Ohio agencies to become more customer-centric and data-driven, delivering on InnovateOhio’s vision to better serve Ohioans.

IOP’s core focus is to harness and disseminate data to drive better and more efficient outcomes by exploiting previously hard to assemble information.

Ohio Lt Gov Jon Husted

Ohio Lt Gov Jon Husted
Director of InnovateOhio

The Challenge:

When the Coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020, the State of Ohio, like other states, went into crisis management. It immediately needed to provide a rapid response for the dissemination and gathering of information in order to keep its citizens safe, as well as to respond to the demands of the Federal Government. The Governor of Ohio turned to its IOP team and enlisted them to build a series of web applications based on quickly evolving needs, while the course of the pandemic and the requirements of the response changed overnight. Traditional web applications could take months to build which would be far too late to protect the economic welfare and health of Ohioans. Lives were at stake, and IOP needed to produce results faster than ever before. IOP urgently needed a versatile yet standardized platform for the collection and dissemination of information vital for Ohio citizens.

The Solution:

IOP quickly realized that building data collection web application solutions from the ground up would be far too time consuming and expensive, but through its previous experience using the platform, knew that it could rapidly standardize all of its pandemic related form-based data collection applications by exploiting the powerful and agile front-end data collection attributes of Rather than build their own web-based forms and data collection algorithms, IOP standardized on the platform for all their data collection and management needs. The form and data management API platform handles their data input requirements as a stand-alone middleware solution, similar to a modern microservice. By using in this way, any required changes to data elements within their forms could be made dynamically with little to no impact on core development activities. Using, complex data collection applications with evolving data requirements, can be built in days and can be modified easily and refined within hours. Any citizen-facing or internal applications can be constructed with smart data conditional logic and validations with fully documented API’s behind every field. This way it’s easy to populate legacy applications or feed data to new analytic tools like Tableau, for the creation of publishable dashboards thereby providing critical information to the citizens of Ohio. And because supports mobile platforms, citizens can quickly exploit Ohio’s pandemic response websites and drill down or supply personal data using smart phones or tablets.

View of Cincinnati downtown at night - org photo by Mohan Reddy Atalu from Pexels

Results and Business Benefits:

IOP was faced with a once in a lifetime crisis driven development crunch. In a matter of a few months, using the form-building and data management API platform, it quickly produced the following vitally important web-based applications in series for Ohio: 1) Covid Contact Tracing, 2) Department of Health Corona Virus Guidelines, 3) Covid Test Results and Analytics, 4) Long Term Care Facilities Data, 5) Hospital/Healthcare Inventory, 6) Ohio Job Listings, and 7) Vaccine Readiness Portal. The results were so impressive that Ohio and IOP recently won a Government Experience 2020 Award from the National Association of State CIO’s for its stunning Covid Response.

Because the Governor of Ohio demanded it, IOP produced applications at an incredible pace. None of the applications were trivial; each required significant form-centric data collection and integrated data management capabilities. For instance, the Covid Contract Tracing application receives data from 88 counties, exploits the auto-population capability of and feeds output to Tableau for data analysis. Likewise, the Department of Health’s Coronavirus Virus Guidelines, produces results in five languages and provides a library of tailored FAQ responses based on citizen input and APIs. The Job Postings application is capable of providing citizens with current job openings based on logic and proximity of zip codes. The Hospital/Healthcare Inventory application tracks the critical availability of hospital beds and equipment such as ventilators. The Vaccine Readiness Portal allows Ohio healthcare providers to qualify themselves for vaccine distribution prior to a Covid vaccine being available.

The application supports over five thousand Ohio healthcare providers, feeds hundreds of columns of data to the Center for Disease Control, and using for its workflow, collects electronic signatures from multiple stakeholders, at every step of the process.

None of this could have been accomplished without IOP’s standardization on the platform for its development and technology strategy. Because the platform is so efficient and provides such an economical way to handle form creation and data management, IOP was able to get 80% of application functionality right out of the box. Little to no time was needed to design user interfaces, logic, or manage underlying database technology. As a result, IOP could focus instead on rapid application development to protect the health and economic well-being of the citizens of Ohio.