Behind COPI

Behind COPI and its user-friendly website, is a comprehensive technical report that was completed by Heluna Health’s Research and Evaluation team in October 2023.

The report provides detailed insights behind the development of COPI and the methodology supporting it. One of the key reasons for its focus on county-level preparedness, the report explains, is that unlike the federal government, which gathers national data, local health departments and other agencies often lead outbreak response. Despite the critical role played by local institutions during health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the report notes that there are far fewer tools available to assess preparedness at the local level than on a global scale. That makes COPI all the more relevant. “COPI is not intended to predict where outbreaks will occur or what consequences may result, but rather, to assess various aspects of how a county’s systems are prepared for preventing, detecting, and responding to future outbreaks,” the report says.

Focusing on California, COPI tracks 63 indicators—defined in the report—which describe county-level preparedness, focusing on the major systems that are involved in preparing for future outbreaks. Visitors to the COPI website will notice that each county has a numerical score on a 0-10 scale for each of the different indicators, with higher scores indicating better performance.

Public health and healthcare preparedness showed substantial variation across counties in the COPI analysis, perhaps attributable to a greater degree of local management of these functions. The data suggests that many counties have room to improve in these areas.

As the report states, COPI is an evolving index. “There are many challenges in building a local-level preparedness index, especially in identifying appropriate data to capture the level of detail needed to inform decision makers. Future research will focus on refining the data on preparedness and expanding the tool to other states.”

Read the COPI Technical Report here