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COVID-19 served to teach governments many painful lessons about their pitfalls and challenges in managing public health crises. Although both practitioners and academics have been aware that crisis information systems (CIS) constitute a valuable tool for crisis prevention and management, their implementation to counteract COVID-19 lagged by months. To analyze this crisis management mismatch, in this paper, we examine and identify the structural challenges and shortcomings of government-initiated crisis management through CIS. This paper analyzes two CIS projects tackling the COVID-19 crisis, funded by the German government. Drawing on a complexity-lens and the NASSS-framework, key shortcomings are identified. We derive propositions for future CIS projects to enable crisis preparedness. Our outcomes suggest that adopting a complexity perspective in planning, initiating, and developing governmental CIS provides a promising avenue for achieving successful crisis management. We contribute to literature by highlighting the suitability of the complexity-lens in health crises.



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