At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, health systems across the country and the world faced unprecedented challenges and hardship. People suffering from the virus needed life-saving care, with guidelines changing by the day, if not the hour. At the same time, health care workers needed to be protected from infection, and other patients required health care support to address other urgent needs.

Multiple groups involved in the Center for Applied Health Informatics came together to face these challenges, devising innovative solutions involving technology, health information, and improved workflows. COVID-19 testing, patient outreach, vaccination deployment, and telemedicine are just a few of the areas where Penn Medicine groups excelled in using health informatics to respond to multiple new health care needs. The resilience, flexibility, single-minded focus, and innovative spirit employed during the pandemic will help those groups address myriad other issues facing the health care system today and in the future.

hotline nurses

COVID-19 Virtual Safety Nets

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, Penn Medicine faced two major challenges. First, they had to find a way to care for patients safely and humanely when they could not meet with them face to face. They also had to figure out how to support the broader community—including those who were not established patients—and provide accurate and up-to-date information about the virus.  Learn More
doctor using a smartphone


Telehealth has been an essential tool for providing health care to patients globally during the COVID-19 pandemic. Penn Medicine coordinated a multidisciplinary team from across the health system to design and implement an innovative telehealth platform that allowed an unprecedented increase in virtual appointments and has served hundreds of thousands of patients since early 2021. Learn More

COVID-19 Vaccination Deployment at Penn Medicine

Even before the first COVID-19 vaccines became available in late 2020, health systems around the United States faced difficult questions about how they should be distributed. With a limited supply of the vaccine, who should get a shot first? How should patients sign up to receive the vaccine? How should health care providers educate people about the vaccine, and encourage vaccine-hesitant people to get it?  Learn More