In mid-March of 2020, WISE Indiana was enlisted to help the state respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, no one knew the severity of the situation or how this team was going to help the state to respond quickly to the anticipated questions. Luckily, the Indiana University School of Medicine research librarian team set-up a great system to track questions and the WISE Indiana team developed the rapid response process. With the constant uncertainty in those early months, frequent and transparent communication was the key to success in the beginning. This team was meeting daily to keep up with the numerous questions coming in. On top of having to respond to the questions, the WISE Indiana team had to organize a process to identify experts, who all were nearing workload capacities, to assist in responding to the needs of our state leaders. The team had to work quickly to launch a website and email system deliver relevant and up-to-date information to the researchers and clinicians who needed it most. We were able to quickly collaborate with infectious disease experts who had a following and we expanded on their efforts with the COVID-19 Daily Digest, a website and daily email newsletter from WISE Indiana. As part of the Daily Digest, it would be imperative to have experts in key topic areas (i.e. ethics, communication, clinical) reviewing the overabundance of emerging literature. Utilizing the partnership with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, WISE Indiana assembled a group who would be the first of many to engage in writing daily (now weekly summary blog posts) blog posts on COVID-19 literature. In addition to being a technological feat while working entirely remotely, this was also big win for WISE Indiana to expand the current network of experts. Without the ongoing engagement with the research librarians, experts, Indiana FSSA, Indiana CTSI, and many others, none of this would have been possible. They have remained nimble and responsive throughout this entire process.
Expert Responses to Key Questions
Since the launch of the COVID-19 Daily Digest, the WISE Indiana Team and our network of experts has responded to 93 COVID-19 questions and 14 vaccine-related questions, with an average turnaround time of less than 48 hours. These questions have been broad and included questions about potentially promising treatments for COVID-19, best practices for sanitizing, available mental health resources, communicating about COVID-19, and COVID-19 infections and children.
Throughout this process, we’ve been able to work with a tremendous network of experts who help review the available literature and provide their expert guidance on these topics. The evidence and responses are utilized by Indiana leaders and decision makers to inform policy decisions during the pandemic. To become involved with WISE Indiana as an expert contributor, please provide your contact information in the Expert Directory.
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
Most recently, WISE Indiana’s work on the COVID-19 pandemic has expanded to include daily responses to frequently asked questions by all Hoosiers who call 2-1-1 to ask about the COVID-19 vaccines. This was a natural expansion of the work our team has done since the start of the pandemic – providing evidence-based responses to key questions about the COVID-19 pandemic – but focused on responding to the questions of all Hoosiers. In many ways, the flood of guidelines and recommendations about the COVID-19 vaccines has mirrored the early stages of the pandemic and being able to provide a rapid and evidence-based response to questions concerning these vaccines is just as important for improving the health and wellbeing of Hoosiers. To date, the WISE Indiana team has responded to 177 vaccine-related questions from 2-1-1 call center agents.
Hoosiers 16 and older are now able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. To schedule your vaccine, visit ourshot.in.gov or call 2-1-1 to find an appointment near you.
As we progress into the second year of the global pandemic, the WISE Indiana team is committed to continuing to provide the most recent and relevant evidence to front-line clinicians, researchers, and state and local policymakers. Throughout the past year, we’ve been able to respond quickly to the needs of Hoosiers from Fort Wayne to Evansville and everywhere in between. State Health Commissioner Kristina Box, MD, FACOG, put it best:
“The WISE Indiana partnership has allowed us to get the most current information available into the hands of those who need it to best protect Hoosiers.”