CDC CARE Hotline was an approach to monitoring designed to allow travelers to report their health status daily to an interactive voice recognition system (IVR). The IVR solution was piloted with CDC federal employees who returned from deployments to countries with Ebola outbreaks during the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The system designed used open source tools from InSTEDD, Verboice for IVR, and mBuilder for SMS. These tools were packaged together and used to facilitate CDC employees’ adherence to daily reporting requirements. The packaged technologies are easily adaptable and can be modified for future emergency responses, contact investigations, or routine monitoring for public health protections.
CDC CARE Hotline sought to promote behavior change in the form of facilitating traveler adherence to post-arrival monitoring requirements for potential Ebola symptoms, decrease the time to detection and time for response for potential cases of Ebola, and to develop an adaptable reporting system that could be adjusted to a jurisdiction’s needs. The project demonstrated the ability to quickly and easily design and deploy a robust reporting system that was able to detect and follow-up with potential cases. According to CDC surveys of participating CDC employees, results indicated that users became more familiar with and found the system easier to use over the course of their monitoring period. Most users were highly satisfied with the IVR system and would recommend it for future monitoring efforts. Additionally, the costs associated with developing and implementing the IVR were documented.