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Nonprofits Leverage PagerDuty Platform and Pro Bono Technical Support to Help Save Lives by Reaching People Faster

by Nisha Kadaba May 20, 2021 | 6 min read

“The stability of Trek Medics’ platform can be the difference between life and death,” said Giran Moodley, PagerDuty’s Senior Solutions Consultant and one of seventeen Dutonians who completed PagerDuty.org’s first pro bono program. Giran supported Trek Medics International, which works to reduce preventable death and disability by improving access to emergency care for at-risk and vulnerable populations through mobile phone technologies.

Working with partners like TrekMedics, PagerDuty can tackle a pivotal piece in curing delay and improve outcomes in emergency response and healthcare for the most underserved populations. In 2020, PagerDuty selected three Time-Critical Health grantees who work at the intersection of urgency, equity, and technology to receive a total of $350,000 in unrestricted funding, in-kind technology, and pro bono technical support. Our integrated grantmaking approach aims to provide holistic support and help tech-forward nonprofits address emergent issues and ultimately help save lives by reaching people faster.

Over eight weeks, 17 Dutonians worked directly with International Medical Corps, Nexleaf Analytics, and Trek Medics to apply their deep knowledge and expertise, scope specific challenges and build and implement solutions leveraging PagerDuty’s platform.

International Medical Corps (IMC) is a humanitarian organization that provides relief to those struck by disaster, no matter where they are, no matter what the conditions, working with them to recover, rebuild, and gain the skills and tools required for self-reliance.

IMC’s Emergency Notification System used email notifications when there was an outage during disasters or office closures, which hindered key team members to quickly respond and be deployed. With the acute phase of disaster response measured in just hours, deployment speed is critical, especially in remote and underserved regions.

The PagerDuty team demonstrated a proof-of-value framework to drive accountability, ownership, and better tracking of processes within IT and Emergency Response teams to serve the organization’s critical goal of getting medical resources on site within 72 hours.

“IMC needed to address urgent mass communication in the onset of an emergency or unplanned outage. We had a huge gap in increasing the visibility and centralization of aggregating a variety of different alerts from different platforms. With PagerDuty’s platform, we’re able to be more efficient and quicker in our response time to alerts and minimize the noise on non-critical needs.”

David Giron, Director of Information Technology, IMC

Nexleaf Analytics is a nonprofit technology company that uses data and technology to improve the health of people around the world. Specifically, Nexleaf designs sensor technology and uses data platforms to improve the performance of life saving medical equipment.

While monitoring their equipment use with the Center for Public Health and Development in Kenya, Nexleaf realized that a fundamental barrier to health care was available power to health clinics. Power outages can overtime reduce healthcare equipment’s performance. Using Nexleaf’s sensors in conjunction with PagerDuty platform, the team increased power outage alerts in real time. The data collected can advocate for better responses and solutions to these outages, and over the next few months Nexleaf will continue to test alerts with the ultimate goal to increase power and monitor outages across 17,000 healthcare facilities.

“We’ve had a very rewarding experience… The team’s ability to get into the weeds with us to tackle unique challenges, while always maintaining focus on ensuring the solution really works for people on the ground is so appreciated. From data scientists and analysts to engineers, the entire team has been so generous with their time and expertise—we progressed way more quickly had we been entirely on our own. We look forward to continuing our work with PagerDuty and amplifying our impact on time-critical health.”

Marym Mohammady, Program Manager, Nexleaf Analytics

Trek Medics, a nonprofit that built a cloud-based, emergency dispatching platform that alerts, coordinates, and tracks responders on any mobile phone — ‘911 where there is none’ — wanted to improve their oversight of multiple monitoring components of their Beacon platform.

Prior to their use of the PagerDuty, the Trek Medics team logged in to different websites to keep track of their various applications — highly inefficient for its small team. The PagerDuty team helped them leverage the PagerDuty platform to monitor their system components, including streamlined monitoring and alerting for both internal processes and external service integrations. This is critical as Beacon scales quickly to meet growing demand.

“Early results are proving very valuable—shortly after implementing PagerDuty, our team received an alert that the memory usage was getting to dangerous levels, so we were able to resolve it right away. It’s not clear how quickly we would have caught that ourselves, so that was a potentially big save. All in all, it’s clear we’ve got eyes looking out for us in both expected and unexpected places with PagerDuty, and it’s making everything much more resilient because of it.”

– Jason Friesen, Founder, Executive Director, Trek Medics

In addition to delivering impact to nonprofit grantees, PagerDuty’s pro bono program also benefits PagerDuty employees, providing them the opportunity to work in diverse teams, observe different workflows, and discover innovative use cases.

“One of the key benefits of participating in the pro bono project is understanding the depths of our platform and thinking of out-of-the-box capabilities and use cases which can literally help save lives.

Julie Gunderson, DevOps Advocate II, PagerDuty

This pilot emphasized the importance of cross-sector learning and collaboration. By actively listening to our partners and putting nonprofit needs at the center, PagerDuty deepened relationships with our time-critical health partners and Dutonians lent their skills in a new and meaningful way. Most importantly, our grantees received the hands-on support they needed to increase their impact and are better resourced and equipped to meet urgent needs in real time and serve our shared mission to help save more lives.

PagerDuty.org recently launched a new call for proposals for Equitable COVID-19 vaccine access and distribution, with a $1 million grant round that includes $750,000 in cash grants, plus $250,000 USD in product credits, and additional technical volunteer support. We invite organizations active in this work to review the eligibility criteria and apply for support by June 11.