The rapid spread of COVID-19 in France caused the government to declare a state of health emergency which is set to continue until at least July 24, 2020. Due to the volume of cases and overwhelming impact on hospital capacity, “stay at home” orders were given to all residents starting March 17. Beginning May 11, as the health situation allows, some reopening has begun in phases, according to the Prime Minister’s plan released on April 28, 2020.

In France, regional health agencies (Agence Régionale de Santé or ARS) are responsible for the regional management of the national health system. They provide all levels of healthcare resources, including first-level treatment, to deploy the national healthcare strategy defined by the Health Ministry. The regional agencies are responsible for population health as well as healthcare and social care, adapting national policies to their regional characteristics.

Following the release of the Prime Minister’s plan, regional health agencies needed to put in place and operationalize their efforts in three key areas, including:

  1. Deployment of the testing strategy and contact traceability and isolation measures for people identified with COVID-19
  2. Governance of the system, including global coordination of internal and external stakeholders, such as prefectures, private health insurers, elected officials, and the professional medical community 
  3. Provision of tools and support for the ramp-up of teams to be deployed in local territories to support the testing, traceability or isolation measures

Partnering to develop a strategy and implement measures rapidly and effectively

In the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (BFC) region in the Eastern part of France near the German and Swiss borders, the ARS has nearly 450 employees and eight locations to align as closely as possible to local population needs. The ARS BFC General Secretary, Xavier Boulanger, knew CGI’s Business Consulting practice in France had an outstanding reputation for deep expertise in public sector health and for providing agile and rapid interventions for clients. These CGI experts are highly familiar with the complex relationships of the French health ecosystem and of unique local environments due to our client proximity operating model.

The General Secretary invited CGI to discuss how we could assist them with their go-forward strategy and plan. Based on our approach and strong team of experts located near client teams, we were asked to begin a consulting engagement with the ARS BFC on May 1.

The CGI team worked closely with the client to develop a strategy by May 11 (in just 10 days) and is providing strategic advisory and support services to implement the key measures. This includes providing guidance on appropriate tooling. As an example, CGI is helping the ARS BFC deploy a solution called SORMAS (The Surveillance, Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System), which is an open-source mobile system for disease control and outbreak management procedures in addition to surveillance and early detection.

As the teams focus on deploying action plans and tools to fulfill their current mission in the near-term, they anticipate the emergence of next steps for the rebound and reinvention phases.