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Healthcare Organizations Leverage PagerDuty Platform and Pro Bono Technical Support to Advance Global Vaccine Equity

by Nisha Kadaba December 20, 2021 | 6 min read

As new COVID-19 variants emerge and the world continues to combat the spread of the virus, we know that the pandemic will not end for anyone, until it ends for everyone. While vaccinations remain the most crucial tool the global population has to combat COVID-19, only 3.2% of people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated. Vaccine availability, access, and trust are critical to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity and relevant information to be vaccinated—including (and especially) those who have historically been economically or socially marginalized.

In July 2021, PagerDuty.org announced the deployment of $1 MM in funds and product credits to help close the COVID-19 global vaccine equity gap, as a part of our commitment to Time-Critical Health. Three organizations, CareMessage, Turn.io, and WeRobotics, received wraparound support including funding, product credits, and technical expertise from PagerDuty employees to shore up their operations and help scale their COVID-19 vaccine technology solutions. In line with PagerDuty.org’s mission to advance justice and health, each organization is focused on increasing access and combating vaccine hesitancy in underserved communities globally. 

This Fall, our technical pro bono program convened 13 PagerDuty employees and our three partners for an eight week project sprint. Building on our program foundation of active listening, cross-sector learning, and collaboration established in our first cohort last spring, this sprint began with a rigorous discovery process to learn about each partner’s digital operations, and drove a comprehensive review of their current incident response frameworks. Drawing on insights gained, the technical teams then designed targeted solutions to reduce alert noise, integrate new monitoring and automation tools, and improve the team’s work-life balance. They also introduced best practices to improve efficiency, with the intent to build a strong operational foundation, improve team communications and workflows and enable prioritization of mission-critical work.

Our Partners

CareMessage, a U.S. based nonprofit and current PagerDuty customer leverages technology to help safety-net organizations fulfill the essential needs of underserved populations, and to date, over 260 organizations across 41 states in the United States have used CareMessage to send over 13.2 million messages regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The PagerDuty team worked with CareMessage to reduce alert noise and increase context for their engineering team by taking a service-based approach to their PagerDuty service architecture. Early outcomes indicate that CareMessage can now suppress unactionable notifications, reduce the urgency of non-emergency events, and gain better context via Analytics on problem areas of their infrastructure and ultimately reduce downtime. These results, paired with unrestricted funding, can help the organization to expand its reach to one million underserved patients by making CareMessage’s tech-driven intervention available to additional community clinics.

Moving forward, this framework can also serve as a template for future CareMessage expansion as they scale the vaccine messaging support they provide to hospitals, clinics, and nonprofits to reach underserved and vulnerable communities, which will be increasingly important as we continue to battle new strains of the coronavirus.

“I’m inspired by how results-driven the PagerDuty team was while collaborating with us, and we’re looking forward to experiencing how the project’s outcomes will support CareMessage to enhance its alerting system and the engineering team’s work-life balance!”

– Ronaldo Raivil, Senior Software Engineer, CareMessage

Turn.io is a social enterprise with headquarters in South Africa that enables nonprofit and social impact organizations to use the WhatsApp Business API for large-scale public health and humanitarian initiatives. Their team is small, but their size is precisely the key to maintaining the focus needed to deliver their ambitious goals in such challenging areas as healthcare and humanitarian relief. 

Turn.io’s SLA is 99.5% uptime, and to help them achieve that goal, the PagerDuty pro-bono team delivered a proof-of-value framework for optimization and automation of incident response with PagerDuty and Rundeck. To lay the groundwork for achieving further automation and extracting service performance data, the team assisted Turn.io in increasing the verbosity of the payload from their monitoring tools, reconfiguring their PagerDuty service architecture in a more granular manner, and leveraging event rules functionality.

Early outcomes indicate improved workflows, enabling Turn.io engineers to carry the escalation burdens more broadly within the team, potentially reducing mean time to respond (MTTR).  Next, Turn.io plans to scope out the potential and develop the groundwork for further automation of incident response, including Rundeck.  These enhancements will enable the Turn.io team to continue to expand their technical infrastructure for vaccine programs to provide millions of people in marginalized and minority communities with easy and secure access to vital COVID-19 information and vaccine appointments schedulers. 

“The PagerDuty product has allowed us to scale our pandemic response work globally. Working with the PagerDuty team has really highlighted how we as a team can continue to do our work more effectively and sustainably.”

-Simon de Haan, CTO and Co-Founder, Turn.io 

WeRobotics uses drone technology to tackle last-mile essential medical supply and delivery challenges in hard-to-reach communities, and works to shift power to local experts. 

The PagerDuty team partnered with WeRobotics to leverage the PagerDuty platform to up level their incident response around drone field and operations support for their upcoming COVID-19 vaccine delivery in the Tawi Tawi province in the Philippines. In collaboration with WeRobotics engineers, our team built a foundational proof of concept to lay the groundwork for further use of PagerDuty to support their global efforts along with other best-of-breed tooling. 

PagerDuty, along with its integrations, represents a way for the WeRobotics engineers to be more proactive in reducing the impact to field operators reliant on devices and software that WeRobotics supports. This can pave the way for a strong foundation for a mature incident response program, enabling WeRobotics to scale in the future and expand its services to address essential medical supply challenges in other countries where they operate which include which include Peru, Dominican Republic, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Ghana and Madagascar, and Uganda.

“The team at PagerDuty went above and beyond in assisting us. Our engineers will be able to more efficiently provide a timely response to critical events, and eliminate the guesswork of who is on call at a particular time.” 

– Joseph Muhlhausen, Head of Drone & Data Systems, WeRobotics

As partners consider how they scale their operations and further deploy their vaccine technology solutions, PagerDuty’s pro bono teams added technical capacity and helped foster the culture of continuous learning and improvement using incident-related data. Also, anecdotal feedback indicates partner engineering teams are beginning to experience improvement in their own work-life balance and will continue to leverage these learnings to prevent burnout and focus on mission-critical work.

As part of PagerDuty’s continuous commitment to Time-Critical Health, we’re incredibly proud to support our partners with targeted technical support and product credits, along with unrestricted funds, to grow their operational strength and build innovative technology solutions to help close the global vaccine equity gap, and ultimately save more lives.

Learn more about PagerDuty’s social impact model and our new commitments. If you’re a social impact organization, apply for PagerDuty’s discounted Impact Pricing so you can keep your digital operations up and focus on your mission-critical work.

Photo Credit: WeRobotics