County: Miami, County, KS

Population: 34,237

Product: CivicOptimize Productivity

Keys to Project

Scalability, Flexibility, Ready-to-Use Forms

Miami County, KS Processes 1,000 COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Requests in Two Hours with CivicOptimize® Productivity

Citizens in Miami County, Kansas, take great pride in living in a place that offers a small-town feel but keeps them close to the Kansas City metropolitan area. However, their comfortable and familiar way of life was unexpectedly altered when the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the United States—and the world.

According to Sara Denney, Miami County Payroll and Benefits Coordinator, citizens immediately felt the loss of a sense of community when County leaders put social distancing requirements in place as a safety protocol.

“I think the biggest impact that COVID-19 has had on our citizens has been the loss of person-to-person contact,” said Denney. “They’ve had to find ways to do business differently, from how they eat at restaurants to grocery shopping, to how they request services from our County. For our staff, we’ve been challenged to find ways to maintain personal relationships with our citizens and stay connected to them without person-to-person contact.”

Throughout the year-long pandemic, in her role in the County’s Human Resources Department, Denney has overcome the challenges the pandemic has posed and has worked tirelessly to identify ways to maintain operations through new approaches and processes. From telecommuting to changing schedules to minimize large office gatherings to leveraging technology to automate processes, Denney and her peers have found ways to continue serving their citizens while keeping them safe from the coronavirus.

“The tool is amazing. It can handle 1,000 responses in two hours, it’s easy for citizens to use, and they don’t have to create an account and remember a password. They just answer a few questions, and Productivity triages them into an appointment schedule. We didn’t have to manually look at 1,000 survey responses and prioritize them based on age or other risk factors—the system does it automatically.”

—Sara Denney, Miami County Payroll and Benefits Coordinator

Miami County, KS Processes 1,000 COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Requests in Two Hours with CivicOptimize® Productivity

The Challenge of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

After eight months of fear, frustration, and loss, citizens in Miami County turned with hope to the promise of COVID-19 vaccine availability—and County leaders focused their time and resources on doing their part to facilitate scheduling and distribution.

“Everything related to the vaccine has felt like a whirlwind,” said Denney.

In the first phase of the vaccine distribution, following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, the County prioritized distribution to essential workers. Using their CivicEngage® website, County leaders created a form that allowed doctors’ offices to self-identify the number of vaccines they would need for staff.

“Facilitating phase one of the vaccine distribution was easy,” said Denney. “Phase two was different. We have 34,000 citizens in our County. We needed to determine how to relay to them information about the vaccine, collect and store their data, and triage and prioritize vaccine distribution on a mass scale.”

Denney and her team began to receive questions from citizens about vaccine availability via walk-ins and phone calls.

“We received so many phone calls that our system shut down after a few hours,” said Denney.

Realizing that manual vaccine appointment scheduling and coordination logistics would be nearly impossible, the County turned to their partners at CivicPlus for an automated solution.

The CivicOptimize Productivity Vaccine Portal

It was a Wednesday morning when the County’s Commission Chairman asked Denney to prioritize surveying citizens to begin coordinating vaccine distribution prioritizations. He expressed to Denney that the County would do whatever was needed to identify and triage citizens successfully and that they needed the survey online in two days. He then asked her to lead the initiative.

The first step Denney took was calling CivicPlus®.

“We set up a call Friday morning, and my account manager walked me through the capabilities of Productivity and the new Vaccine Portal tool. I knew it would meet our needs.” Denney adds with a smile, “Then I told him, ‘We need it done today.’”

The CivicOptimize implementation team quickly went to work configuring the Productivity Vaccine Portal for Miami County. The Portal is designed to help municipalities survey citizens about their vaccine interests, triage them based on risk factors, assign them appointments, and document necessary accommodations, such as a citizen’s desire for a drive-through vaccine.

“CivicPlus was awesome,” said Denney. “They jumped right in, setting up a survey for us. By that night, we had it up running.”

Overwhelming Response and Administrative Automation

Denney has closely been monitoring the citizen sign-ups and appointment scheduling that the Vaccine Portal is automating.

“The tool is amazing,” said Denney. “It can handle 1,000 responses in two hours, it’s easy for citizens to use, and they don’t have to create an account and remember a password. They just answer a few questions, and Productivity triages them into an appointment schedule. We didn’t have to manually look at 1,000 survey responses and prioritize them based on age or other risk factors—the system does it automatically.”

Looking to a Future of Digital Innovation and Connectivity

Denney says that she hopes the progress that local governments have made in adopting technology to automate citizen service delivery is here to stay.

“I’d hate to see it end,” said Denney. “We’ve seen such forward progress and found new ways to do business. We’ll continue to be focused on connecting with citizens in person, but technology can certainly help us improve and accomplish more online. This process of using Productivity for our vaccine survey has gotten all of our brains working on how else we can use it in other departments.”

Denney attributes the overall success of Miami County’s successful vaccine distribution strategy and execution to every member of the administration who made it a priority.

“The process has been a County-wide response. We’ve been successful because we’re all working together to help everyone else out.”

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