Joann Harbison, client services manager, Missouri Information Technology Services division
Can you describe your role?
My role is to facilitate IT services for the department, so initially that took the shape of getting everybody distributed, taking them out of physical office locations. Second was as we moved through pandemic and testing became the necessity, working with the department to develop epi-tracks to get that implemented so that we could bring in that lab data electronically so that we were not manually entering it from our laboratory partners, because that was absolutely not going to work. We got those brought into a system so that we can manage the cases and got that data aggregated for dashboards to enable decisions.
What do you love most about your job as a public servant?
It’s not often that we get to say that we helped save lives. In this case, I think we did. We very much impacted how quickly folks got the information to get people quarantined, so that they could make policy decisions. It was all based on the ability to move that data. So, that’s what I enjoy most — being able to deliver the technical support, the tools and enable public health to serve Missouri.
What lessons will you take with you from the pandemic?
The ones that echo loudest are that data is empirical to decisions. We can successfully work in alternative locations, and teamwork is essential. Working across state boundaries is absolutely necessary.