CDC outsources IT solutions to Dell for another 5 years

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CDC scientist Carol Bolden examines microscopic slides showing Exserohilum rostratum during the 2012 multistate fungal meningitis outbreak investigation. (Credit: CDC) CDC scientist Carol Bolden examines microscopic slides projected onto a computer screen. (Credit: CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a five-year contract with Dell Services for IT infrastructure support services Monday, adding to an already 11-year-long relationship between the two.

Valued at more than $120 million, the contract will provide comprehensive IT solutions to support the life sciences research the agency performs to protect America and keep it secure from the harmful spread of disease and other health threats.

Despite the more than a decade of business with CDC, Dell Services was not just handed this contract on good merit, said George Newstrom, vice president of Dell Services Federal Government. “It’s not an extension. We had to re-compete for this business, and it was a full and open competition.”

Newstrom couldn’t go into specifics on the work his company would perform for CDC due to security concerns, but he did explain that much of Dell’s work in health care IT focuses on “service desks, high-tech desktop support, data center migration, customized applications, and we do a lot of [business process outsourcing] work as well.”

In addition to embedding “a couple hundred” Dell employees at CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta to operate its IT, Newstrom said Dell Services also provides health IT solutions to the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, while other parts of the company support larger health care companies, like Emblem Health and the American Red Cross.

Newstrom pointed out that in the more than 10 years Dell has worked with CDC, the way the agency operates has become much more global. Right now, for instance, its biggest challenge is taking place in West Africa battling the Ebola outbreak, for which it created a software application to track people exposed to the deadly virus.

“I don’t think you can pick up a paper or turn on a TV and not see them involved in something,” he said. “And while their mission is protecting the health care and security of U.S. citizens, it’s truly a global entity because of how diseases are spread, how quickly they can go, how vast they are.”

And that makes the role of the IT professionals at CDC an ever-expanding one, Newstrom said. On any given day “it could be the Ebola crisis or a desktop refresh they’re doing.”

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Dell, George Newstrom
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