“WISHIN has been a tremendous asset for us.”
After their first year as part of the WISHIN network, employees of the West Allis Health Department were unanimous in their recommendation to continue the relationship. Ashley Palen, director of community and environmental health services, says, “We have really enjoyed using WISHIN. Those of us who use it highly advocated to our health commissioner that it is a cost that is worthwhile. It offers a great benefit to our department.”
WISHIN and West Allis began their partnership in the summer of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was building momentum. Palen says her department would receive information about new COVID-19 cases in West Allis, but the lab reports could be incomplete. “We started using WISHIN to sort out additional demographic information for people,” Palen says. She says WISHIN provides information that helps her department with its contact-tracing efforts for people who had COVID-19.
But that’s not all. The nurses in the West Allis health department use patient records from WISHIN as they deal with communicable disease cases. “We do a lot of case management,” Palen notes, “so the nurses use WISHIN, particularly in tuberculosis follow-up and active cases verifying different lab records and test results.” A suburb of Milwaukee, West Allis is a city of 60,000 people with a diverse economy and community. The city is updating old industrial buildings and is redeveloping old manufacturing sites with new housing, restaurants, and retail businesses. Palen says West Allis has “an active, and robust school district.”
She says West Allis is a “great community” and WISHIN is a strong partner in the city’s effort to keep its residents healthy. “WISHIN has been incredibly helpful in expediting our work,” Palen says. “We are able to better assist clients by being able to pull up what they are referencing if they have questions to make sure the counseling and information we are providing is accurate.”
While the WISHIN-West Allis partnership may have been born- out of COVID-19, Palen sees the relationship staying strong long in the post-COVID world. She says “WISHIN has been a tremendous asset for us.”