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Automation for 'profound need'

In many cases, the pandemic accelerated the modernization of local governments, pushing them to transition traditional services into automated digital transactions.

In Suffolk County, New York, Chief Information Officer Scott Mastellon turned to robotic process automation to free up the county’s nurses from spending as much time doing paperwork so they could spend more time caring for patients. The Long Island region was hit hard by COVID-19 at the onset of the pandemic, and health care workers had been overwhelmed by the amount of data entry required to log coronavirus cases before the tasks became automated.

Clark County, Nevada, the state’s most populous county, took a similar approach to distributing emergency housing assistance during the pandemic. Residents were previously required to hand-deliver a housing assistance request form to one of 14 locations throughout the county, posing a health risk, on top of slowing down the relief process. The county contracted IBM to develop a portal through which residents can quickly apply for relief.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the lives of the residents of Greater Las Vegas and Clark County,” Assistant County Manager Kevin Schiller said in an announcement of the project’s launch. “We had a profound need to immediately address an unprecedented number of claims and, on top of that, navigate the issue that most of our government services were not open to the public and the staff processing assistance claims were forced to work in remote environments.”

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