Neustar Partners With Virginia Department of Health to Optimize COVID-19 Contact Tracing Operations

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Neustar solutions improve operational efficiency for contact tracers and offer reliable caller ID displays for recipients, increasing answer rates and helping curb transmission of COVID-19

Neustar Inc., a global information services and technology company and leader in identity resolution, is partnering with the Virginia Department of Health to implement contact tracing solutions to enhance the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Neustar’s solution set aims to increase tracers’ right-party answer rates and ultimately improve the program’s overall efficacy in controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus throughout the Commonwealth.

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“Poor data and unreliable caller displays are some of the most significant barriers for contact tracing programs across the country. In a pandemic, quality contact intelligence and smart communications are more critical than ever, because in this case, the public’s health and safety depend on it”

According to a national Neustar survey of more than 200 contact tracers across 39 states, around 50% of contact tracer calls go unanswered, and of those calls that are answered, as many as 25% are answered by the wrong person. The challenge in reaching contacts and potentially exposed individuals is twofold. First, consumers are reluctant to answer unknown calls. Frustrated with robocalls and scammers, most individuals ignore calls from unknown numbers — including those of contact tracers. Stringent spam filters have exacerbated the problem for tracers by inadvertently mislabeling some legitimate COVID-19 calls as “Spam Risk” on consumer devices. Second, contact tracers often rely on incomplete or inaccurate records when reaching out to confirmed cases and their potentially infected contacts, and poor contact intelligence further diminishes tracers’ chances of reaching exposed individuals.

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Neustar addresses these inefficiencies and increases right-party answer rates for health organizations across the country — including the Virginia Department of Health — with a suite of outbound communications and identity resolution solutions:

  • Branded Call Display offers enhanced, informative call displays on supported devices, including the option to display a contact tracing organization’s name (e.g., “VA Dept. Health”), location, reason for the call (“Important health information”), logo and more.
  • Caller Name Optimization displays an accurate and consistent caller name and number for contact tracer calls and ensures that calls are not incorrectly blocked or mislabeled as spam.
  • Certified Caller protects an organization’s phone numbers from call spoofing using STIR/SHAKEN call authentication technology and offers assurance of a call’s legitimacy by visibly displaying a “verified” mark on recipients’ screens across supported devices.
  • Phone Behavior Intelligence corrects and appends incorrect and incomplete contact data in real time and layers on patented customer contact intelligence and predictive insights to indicate the best phone numbers to use in outreach, along with the best time of day and day of the week to call each number.

“Poor data and unreliable caller displays are some of the most significant barriers for contact tracing programs across the country. In a pandemic, quality contact intelligence and smart communications are more critical than ever, because in this case, the public’s health and safety depend on it,” said Tom McNeal, vice president of partner channel and public sector for Neustar. “At Neustar, we are very familiar with the challenges organizations face in making connections through the phone channel — these are hurdles we have been helping the country’s top brands, from banks to retailers, overcome for years. Now, we are proud to deploy our industry-leading contact tracing solutions to support the Commonwealth of Virginia’s contact tracer workforce and help inform and enable critical connections for the state and our country.”

“Contact tracing remains an important strategy in slowing the spread of the virus as we take steps to safely reopen our state. More than a third of Virginians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and that rate continues to improve. However, new virus variants require that we stay vigilant in identifying new cases and their contacts. We are pleased to partner with Neustar to enhance the effectiveness of our contact tracing efforts,” said M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA, State Health Commissioner for the Virginia Department of Health.

Neustar’s industry-leading contact tracing solutions are fueled by the Neustar OneID® system — an unrivaled identity graph platform that enables resolution of virtual and physical identifiers.

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