What we learned from our Bermuda visit
With 1 in 4 Bermudians using the WeHealth Bermuda App, it has become a key part of the solution in Bermuda’s fight against Covid-19.
In October of 2021, after a year of close collaboration, the WeHealth Team finally had the fortune to visit Bermuda in person. Our goal was to better understand the perspectives and realities of Bermudians and explore how the WeHealth App can continue to play a valuable role in the Island’s COVID-19 defense strategy.
For most of us, it was our first trip to the island. We found the people of Bermuda to be very gracious and welcoming. Whether it was a bright smile, a recommendation of somewhere to visit or stopping to talk on the street about the WeHealth Bermuda App, we were immediately caught up in the friendly, laid-back atmosphere.
The WeHealth Team, with Martin Walsh (Ministry of Health Senior Manager of Digital Services), grabbing a quick coffee before a meeting.
But it wasn’t all fun in the sun for the WeHealth Bermuda team. While in Bermuda we met with team members from Digital Services, The Ministry of Health, Contact Tracing, Bermuda Tourism Authority, and WorkForce Development. And, of course some of the most informative conversations we had with Bermudians were spontaneous, unstructured and marked by a delightful directness.
While it is clear that there is tremendous room for improvement, we are encouraged by all that we learned (see below) and found some very positive indications that we can further reduce the threat of future waves. As an example, this is what Bermudians were able to achieve September through mid-October this year by using the WeHealth App to help keep their friends, families and communities safe.
Some of the highlights from our meetings include:
Learning from The Ministry of Health about the mass campaign for booster shots that started on October 11th, the big challenges around testing during the Delta wave, and how successful communication strategies are rooted in simplicity and delivered verbally.
The WeHealth Team, with Carol Yazoglu (Contact Tracer at the Bermuda Ministry of Health), DeAnn Trott (Contact Tracer at the Bermuda Ministry of Health), Laure Marshall (COVID Applications Implementation Lead) and Martin Walsh (Ministry of Health Senior Manager of Digital Services).
In our meeting with the Health Council we discussed how technological innovation is a vital part of Bermuda’s strategy to improve public health response for everyone on the Island, especially for the most vulnerable. There is great opportunity in Bermuda for a tool that can give individuals and policy makers a better understanding of possible exposure risk and can automate the delivery of the right information to people when they need it most.
The WeHealth Team, with Ricky Brathwaite (Heath Council Chief Executive Officer) and Lee MacArthur (CEO of Sonic Intel).
Conversations with the Bermuda Tourism Authority centered around ways to make navigating the Bermuda Travel Authorization easier for visitors. We discussed the idea of creating one tool could connect many parts of the process, and help make the entry and exit process frictionless, while increasing safety for residents and visitors alike.
The WeHealth Team, with Erin Smith (Chief Information Officer) and Charles H. Jeffers II (Chief Executive Officer).
We also had a very productive meeting with some team members of the Department of Workforce Development focusing on how we can invest in building deeper roots in Bermuda. This discussion sparked a number of new relationships with community leadership and a diversity of organizations who better understand the perspectives and needs of all Bermudians.
Sameer Halai (WeHealth CEO) and Daron Raynor (CIO, Department of Information and Digital Technologies).
Of course in between meetings we managed to squeeze in some fun! We went swimming at Horseshoe Bay Beach. We hiked to Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. We had codfish and potato breakfast from Mr. Chicken. We took a boat out and snorkeled one Sunday afternoon. Our surroundings were breathtaking. Bermuda is paradise!
The WeHealth Team swimming at Horseshoe Bay Beach.
Thank you Bermuda for making us feel so welcome. We had an amazing time on the island and plan to be back soon!