One of the problems facing businesses in this COVID-19 “return to work” era is how to safely and quickly process taking the temperature of numerous employees as they report for work. Processing a large number of employees could result in a long line of people waiting to get in (and probably not socially distancing while doing it), not to mention a heightened exposure for the person actually taking the temperature of everyone. You also want a paper trail of screening results, preferably without tying up another employee to take measurements and record results. Further, government rules say that you must consider people waiting in line as “at work” and thus pay them for the waiting time.
A number of companies have stepped up to fill this need with electronic, often unattended, screening stations. These vary greatly in capabilities and price. The simplest (and least expensive) devices do little more than replace a hand-held thermometer and show an ENTER/NO ENTER result on the screen of the device itself. Even this has value, as it eliminates the need to place an employee at risk by exposure to each new arrival. More capable devices allow the employee to start by answering “symptom” questions in a cell phone app before approaching the kiosk and then make a “paper trail” record of each person’s questionnaire and temperature. The most sophisticated devices add facial recognition (even while wearing a mask), tie into building access control systems and much more.
Here is a commentary from a legal standpoint about the use of Thermal Imaging Systems in the workplace: https://www.fisherphillips.com/resources-alerts-thermal-imaging-systems-in-the-workplace-panacea
Here are a few of the digital solutions available today.
iTech Touchless Digital Thermometer Kiosk
Considering some of the available products, this product is at the lower end of the product range. It is a “Touchless Digital Thermometer Kiosk” which is essentially an 8” tablet with an IR camera, which is mounted on a post, wall or stand at the entrance. Each person steps up to the device and, within a few seconds, it takes their temperature and shows a GO/NO-GO display on the screen. In its simplest configuration, it is a standalone device with a one-time cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000 for a complete unit with post, with no ongoing monthly cost.
ProtectWell Cellphone App
An alternative is the ProtectWell cell phone app developed as a joint venture by Microsoft and United Healthcare. The app asks the employee to answer symptom-related questions and to take their own temperature and record it in the app. Based on the answers provided, the app will clear the employee to enter, or will suggest that they are sick and should go home. The app feeds data into the master dashboard of the company so that decisions can be made about how to handle COVID-19 and employee screening as the situation develops. The app also has educational screens for the employees regarding COVID-19.
One particular benefit of using this system is that United Healthcare, one of the partners, has extensive experience in handling medical-related matters and, in particular, complying with the HIPPA regulations for the confidentiality of medical records. UnitedHealth Group will maintain control over protected health care data and will manage opt-in and consent requirements needed from app users.
Another particular benefit of the ProtectWell system is that it does not charge a fee to employers or employees for participating.
Similarly, Salesforce and CVS Health are partnering to offer WORK.COM and a fee-based suite of services for COVID-19 management, including employee health screening, COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. If you are already part of the Salesforce.com universe, their offering would be worth considering.
As is the case with the ProtectWell app, one of the partner companies is a major player in the healthcare industry, and thus is up to date on HIPPA regulations for the confidentiality of medical records as well as providing access to testing services.
There is also a special version of the system for schools.
Global Virus Pass
This comprehensive fee-based solution includes employee health screening (employee self-answering of symptom-related questions + on-site temperature checking), COVID-19 testing management and app-based contact tracing and notification. Test results are stored in accordance with HIPAA regulations.
intelliHR COVID-19 Essentials HR Software
intelliHR, a tech-based human resources service company, developed the COVID-19 Essentials HR Software Suite, and is offering it to the business community at no charge. The system includes employer and employee education as well as app=based return-to-work symptom self-reporting.
The company is in Australia, but has clients in the US and is familiar with the US market and laws.
Another cellphone app that screens employees each morning, reports to a manager's dashboard, and provides guidance to employees who have symptoms. HIPAA compliance. Free for small companies (up to 10 users), fee based beyond that. They have a similar free app for family-based groups.
Andonix Safely Pass
This free system combines app-based employee self-screening and the employer dashboard with optional touchless thermal cameras to verify the temperature reporting. It is applicable to virtually any secured space including, for example, a shuttle bus used to transport arriving employees. Includes an employee education module, and adds social distance monitoring with color-coded spaces and QR-code identification.
Cellphone-based employee health training and reporting is a brand new field, essentially invented as a response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The future should bring some exciting new products to the market. For now, the above represent some of the current offerings.
We at RCI would like to hear from companies that have been using these or similar systems, or who are ready to begin a program. Tell us about your experiences, good or bad, by email to AskRCI@riskcon.com. THANKS!
This list is for information purposes, based on our research. RCI does not endorse or formally recommend any of these products or services.