ReturnSafe’s Command Center helps HR leaders to quickly visualize risk, to cost-effectively prevent and manage outbreaks and to reduce healthcare costs
AUSTIN, TEXAS — April 6, 2021 — ReturnSafe, the holistic software solution for infectious disease management (IDM) helping businesses reopen and stay open, today announced the launch of its Command Center. This integrated, comprehensive digital platform equips employers with the data and tools they need to prevent and manage infectious disease outbreaks in the workplace while keeping their employees safe, healthy, and confident in returning to physical spaces. Features such as vaccine management, symptom screening, testing data, contact tracing data, and isolation and quarantine case management give employers a 360-degree view of risk across their workforces and physical locations. These tools also enable them to easily comply with new COVID-19 guidelines and regulations regarding safe reopening of the workplace.
“The current reality is that experts predict COVID-19 will reach endemic status, just like the seasonal flu. It’s urgent that we create long-term solutions to address the future of infectious disease management in the workplace. Our economy and collective mental health depend on it,” said Tarun Nimmagadda, CEO and Co-Founder of ReturnSafe. “Existing methods to manage employee safety were either manual or COVID-washed band-aids of existing solutions. Employers are realizing that they will need more scalable solutions to navigate the next phases of the virus, and our COVID-19 Command Center is the only solution 100 percent guided by people living through the experience.”
Implementing Command Center will enable employers to develop data-driven return-to-work strategies for an inevitably, mixed-immunity population. The new platform is designed to help employers efficiently manage COVID-19 case workflows and reduce the logistical burden of manual processes, which often lead to missed information and increased risk.
“We’ve been using ReturnSafe for almost eight months. It has been a core element of our layered strategy to keep our faculty, staff, and students safe, and most recently, to track our university community’s progress toward our vaccination goals,” said John Montgomery, Chief Information Technology Officer at Madonna University. “We have tightly coordinated with the ReturnSafe team each step of the way. Command Center is directly based on feedback from our university and others managing this pandemic. Its intuitive and trustworthy digital platform will help eliminate the need to manually manage contact tracing data with a spreadsheet. I highly recommend the ReturnSafe technology and team to any workplace or organization attempting to navigate this tricky landscape.”
Businesses using ReturnSafe’s Command Center have access to:
Case Management: All data entries and information is compiled in one dashboard, displaying employees with potential, active, or cleared cases of COVID-19. Administrators have access to all the information needed to efficiently manage outbreaks, ensuring teams are following prescribed safety protocols.
Test Management: Employers’ external testing providers can now directly upload employee test results into the Command Center Dashboard. Administrators can utilize this information to take immediate action when there is a positive test, and quickly update employees’ building access abilities.
Vaccine Management: As employers navigate mixed-immunity workforces, this tool provides a report on important employee vaccination information, including vaccine provider, date, location and eventual booster status. This feature also includes employee sentiment surveys, where administrators can gauge attitudes toward taking the vaccination among their workforce, providing meaningful insights for creating programs to address employee concerns.
“By implementing Command Center, HR leaders will be able to achieve dual business outcomes by avoiding losses due to closure and to reduce overall healthcare costs for their employee population. Employee confidence and morale is also significantly improved,” said Jikku Venkat, Chief Technology Officer, Vice President of Product, and Co-Founder of ReturnSafe. “After facing more than a year of unimaginable loss, the last thing workers should be concerned about is returning to an unsafe environment in order to keep food on the table.”
ReturnSafe is on a mission to prevent and reduce the spread of infectious diseases at workplaces and schools. In just six short months, ReturnSafe has amassed more than 60 customers – including Sesame Workshop, San Antonio Spurs, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and several universities and schools – and protected the lives of more than 20,000 employees and stakeholders.
About ReturnSafe ReturnSafe is a holistic software solution for infectious disease management (IDM) that is helping businesses, universities, healthcare facilities, sports teams and major venues businesses reopen and stay open. Its end-to-end platform provides daily health screening, exposure notification, and contact tracing and case management for COVID-19 and other contagious diseases. ReturnSafe is based in Austin, TX and backed byFifty Years, Necessary Ventures and Active Capital. To help keep everyone in your organization safe with human-driven, technology-supported solutions, visit www.returnsafe.com.
Check out our blog posts below to learn about our customers’ COVID-19 journeys and to get the latest health and safety updates. Scroll down to watch our latest webinar on best practices for reopening sports and entertainment venues and preview our new product features.
Vaccination Day at Redstone Highlands: Tips to Encourage Adoption
Redstone was able to successfully double their vaccine adoption rate. Check out our blog to find out how you can overcome vaccine hesitancy. Read more
What Employers Need to Know About the New COVID-19 Variants
What should employers know about the new COVID-19 variants? Read our blog to learn more about the variants and how they can impact your workplace operations. Read more
Watch Now: NCS4 Webinar
Sports and Entertainment venues want to deliver a safe and enjoyable experience for fans. Watch the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) webinar featuring our team and ParkHub to find out how organizations like the Spurs are utilizing technology to confidently reopen. Watch Now
Are you looking for screening, contact tracing, testing, case management, and vaccine management tools for your organization? Book a demo to learn more about our solution!
We collected a few pieces this month to highlight key features and best practices for screening, testing, and contact tracing. These tools can help you prevent outbreaks as we wait for the vaccines and prepare for variants to surge in March.
UPCOMING: FREE WEBINAR
Join us, National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), Parkhub, and Spurs Sports & Entertainment for a free webinar on Event Staff Safety and the Contactless Service Experience. Register here
Best Practices and Options for Employee COVID-19 Testing
HR leaders should consider implementing a COVID-19 testing program to prevent outbreaks. Check out our blog to learn more about employee testing options and best practices. Read more
What to Include in Employee Screening for COVID-19?
Employee screening is essential for keeping high risk individuals out of the workplace. Take a look at our blog to learn more about COVID-19 screening requirements, guidelines, and key components. Read more
Easily Comply with Cal/OSHA AB 685
An Infectious Disease Management platform should give employees a sense of ease knowing that their employer is taking their health seriously. Use this checklist to evaluate each option. Download here
Are you looking for screening, contact tracing, testing, and vaccine management tools for your organization? Book a demo to try them out!
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a serious impact on our country’s most vulnerable, with long-term carecommunities at the top of the list. The elderly are most at-risk for experiencing severe and life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19. Operating and managing Independent Living, Personal Care, and Skilled Nursing across three campuses, Redstone Highlands Communities took immediate action to protect the vulnerable populations that they serve.Bypartnering with ReturnSafe, Redstone has better been able to keep residents and staff healthy and safe and reduced community spread.
Proactive Pandemic Safety Is Top Priority for Redstone
Redstone first partnered with ReturnSafe to transition from a manual daily health screening process to a digital solution. Their previous system relied heavily on a front-office employee to help with written attestation and temperature checks, causing long lines at shift change. This process costs $14,000 per month to staff across 3 facilities. Additionally, when outbreaks occurred, they were also responsible for identifying and contacting exposed individuals, a slow and manual process. With staff shortages across the communities, keeping employees healthy to care for residents was essential, and speed and efficiency critical.
Since July, employees report their COVID-19 symptoms, exposure, and contacts in ReturnSafe’sdaily health screening app. Administrators can monitor and respond to screening survey results through a centralized dashboard. The solution’s customizability makes it easy to adhere to the constantly evolving guidelines and requirements set forth by local and state public health agencies. Redstone estimates that they are saving $154,500 per year by using ReturnSafe for their screening process.
Redstone also began on-site testing at all of their communities, which, combined with daily health screening, allows them to quickly identify and respond to potential outbreaks. By implementing these measures, Redstone has successfully kept their infection rate well below their county’s overall average.
Even before the COVID-19 vaccines were approved, Redstone administrators were surveying staff and residents on their willingness to be vaccinated. Early data showed that a majority of residents hoped to be vaccinated as soon as possible, but less than half (40 percent) of employees were willing to get vaccinated when a vaccine became available to them. Leaders at Redstone knew that increasing their population’s willingness to get vaccinated would be critical in achieving herd immunity. An informational brochure was developed that explained the vaccines in understandable and relatable language. Frequently asked questions were highlighted on “stall notes” hung in employee bathroom stalls. Respected leaders were readily available to answer questions and discuss vaccine decisions. Colorful vaccine hero buttons were distributed to those who were planning to be vaccinated and an upbeat video was produced, sharing testimony from all levels of employees who were ready to be vaccinated.
On Monday, January 11, Redstone Highlands Communities held their first “Vaccine Day”. It was a very exciting day where residents and staff received the COVID-19 vaccine. Despite the seriousness of the pandemic, there was a festive atmosphere as employees and residents embraced the opportunity to be vaccinated.
Three Keys to Overcoming Workplace Vaccine Hesitancy
As vaccines are rolled out across the country, reducing workplace vaccine hesitancy is top of mind for today’s HR executives. Individuals who are hesitant about taking the vaccine may be concerned about vaccine safety and health risks. Redstone originally expected 40% of their residents and staff would get vaccinated. However, as the first round of vaccines concluded they were able to increase participation to over 80% of employees and 99% of residents! How were they able to encourage adoption? Three core components were crucial to their success.
Be a Trusted Source of Information
Through the survey process, Redstone was able to identify the most common concerns about the vaccine shared among employees. Redstone established itself as a dependable source of vaccine information amongst staff and residents. Through the production of print materials, handouts, posters, letters, social media, and emails – myths about the vaccine were addressed and fact-based knowledge was provided.
Establish a Safe and Inclusive Culture
Employees should feel safe and supported by their peers and management. They need to feel that their employers are taking adequate measures to keep them safe. In the case of Redstone’s vaccine initiative, morale played a major part in easing resident and staff concerns. At this time, Redstone has not made the vaccine mandatory. Redstone believes that creating an environment of safety and trust went further in increasing participation, without negatively impacting employee morale. Trusted Redstone leaders also fielded dozens of phone calls and in-person visits with employees to openly discuss vaccine concerns, and to be supportive partners in vaccine decisions.
Build Trust By Being Proactive
By establishing a simple and accessible screening and testing process, Redstone demonstrated that the health of their staff and residents was the top priority. These actions built trust between them and their community. Their consistent communication and dedication to informing their community have built upon that rapport. Employees and residents trusted Redstone and were willing to get vaccinated to keep their community safe. In addition, employee benefits and incentives were extended to those who chose to be vaccinated. For example, in the unlikely case that an employee tests positive for COVID-19 after vaccination, that employee will be provided with paid time off to complete the quarantine or to recover. Those who chose not to be vaccinated, elect to forego this benefit.
What should employers do to prepare for the vaccine?
There are manyresources available to help guide you and your team as you establish a COVID-19 vaccine management plan. The best defense against workplace vaccine hesitancy is information to assure employees that they are making an informed decision. Like Redstone, employers should begin enacting measures now to encourage employee vaccine adoption.The CDC provides aVaccine Communications Toolkit for Essential Workers to help educate employees about COVID-19 vaccines. The toolkit informs employees of vaccination benefits, and addresses common questions and concerns.ReturnSafe provides vaccination management capabilities to help organizations on the path to herd immunity. This service includes surveying employee vaccination sentiment and tracking vaccination status across your organization.Book a demo to learn more about ReturnSafe’s vaccine management and health screening services.
Like most organizations, you probably have a daily health screening solution to ensure that only employees that meet your return to work criteria have access to the facility. However, screening alone does not protect your community from the silent spread of infection. Employees infected with COVID-19 but are pre-symptomatic and those that are infected but are asymptomatic may unintentionally spread the virus at your workplace.
An employee COVID-19 testing program is a vital addition to preventing outbreaks. Even though a vaccine rollout is underway, the new highly transmissible variants on the rise threaten workplace safety. Given these circumstances, you should update your safety protocols to include a broad-based testing program to ease the concerns of staff and patrons.
There are three different methods organizations can utilize for employee COVID-19 testing: at home tests, on-site testing, and off-site testing. This blog evaluates each option and reviews overall best practices for testing in the workplace.
Can You Mandate Employee COVID-19 Testing?
Yes, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commision (EEOC) states that employers may administer COVID-19 tests to keep workplaces safe. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires that mandatory medical tests of employees are “job related and consistent with business necessity”. According to the ADA, if employers administer tests according to current CDC guidance then this meets the “business necessity” standard.
PCR versus Antigen
You should evaluate which type of COVID-19 test would work best for your organization. Currently there are two types of diagnostic tests for COVID-19, PCR and Antigen. PCR tests are the gold standard in terms of accuracy. However, these tests are generally more expensive and take longer to deliver results than Antigen.
Antigen tests are more accurate if the operator is someone already experienced with the testing system. Organizations can use theBD Veritor System to improve accuracy. Due to demand for this system by the federal government this system is not always accessible.
Another option is to use both Antigen and PCR Tests. You can use Antigen as your primary test and PCR as the secondary test if you suspect a false positive. In this case, you can use PCR to verify the result, so you don’t lose employee productivity.
You should evaluate which diagnostic test works best for your organization. Once you have decided, the next step is to decide on the best testing method.
Type of test
What it detects
Level of Accuracy
Time to Results
Detects specific proteins from the active virus
$5 – $35
Detects active virus genetic material
$65 – $150
At Home Testing
Employees can order and self-administer at home tests. This can be a benefit for companies that wish not to be directly involved in employee COVID-19 testing. The turnaround time for at home tests ranges from a few minutes to a few days. Employees and human resource administrators should ensure these testing providers have obtained anFDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
A drawback of at-home tests is that administrators cannot verify the designated employee self-administered a COVID-19 test. These tests also vary greatly in terms of accessibility. For example, theBinaxNOW™ test by Abbot is hard to access given the demand for these tests by the federal government.
The test’s accuracy is also dependent on the employee’s administration. Administrators concerned about accuracy and compliance should choose tests that are relatively easy to use.
Experienced professionals administer on-site tests to employees at a work site. As opposed to at-home tests, human resources can verify that the operators administered COVID-19 tests to the right employee. On-site testing encourages compliance since employees can access the resource at work.
Companies that test on-site create a positive and trusting work environment. Employees feel supported when businesses are proactive about health and safety.
On-site testing is a great option for essential businesses and other high-risk organizations. In these industries, administrators must confirm employees received the right test and react immediately to positive test results. On-site testing is also the best option for businesses with a large number of employees.
A disadvantage of on-site testing is that businesses are taking on the responsibility of testing. When on-site testing, you must ensure that your labs are following the appropriate sanitation and privacy protocol. Additionally, you must adhere to federal guidelines regarding on-site testing.
If your company wishes to do on-site testing, you must adhere to federal mandates for employee COVID-19 testing. Businesses must obtain aCLIA license or hire an organization with a mobileCLIA lab certificate to do on-site testing.
External testing providers, outside of an organization’s worksite, provide off-site testing for employees. Similar to on-site tests, professionals can confirm that the right employees received the COVID-19 test. Off-site testing centers often have better equipment than those on-site, which can improve the accuracy of test results. Best of breed off-site testing centers assess employee COVID-19 tests as soon as possible.
There are some issues that can arise with off-site testing. For example, an employee COVID-19 testing location separate from your worksite may be inaccessible. If employees have to travel outside of work for a test this might diminish compliance. Additionally, off-site testing is less effective if there is a slow turnaround time.
When evaluating a solution, you should consider which testing options are best fit for your organization in the long-term.
No matter which option you choose, employers need a solution for managing the entire testing process. TheCDC’s guidance encourages testing employees with COVID-19 symptoms or potential exposure.
You should encourage all employees reporting symptoms or exposure to seek testing. In addition, you should consider establishing a broad-based testing program for everyone’s safety. This program should allow you to see positive test results immediately.
An effective test management system should also integrate with a contact tracing solution. This solution should provide a list of the close contacts of employees infected with COVID-19 and their contact information. Once you have this information, your team should send the appropriate advisories to these employees as soon as possible to prevent further infection.
Beyond a strong diagnostic testing system, employers should use testing as a risk mitigation tool. Companies can regularly test all or a sample of employees to identify high-risk areas of infection at the workplace. This process is known as surveillance testing. Surveillance testing also allows employers to capture potentially asymptomatic employees.
As an HR leader, you should have one centralized and secure location where you can store important testing information and manage risk. The solution should be scalable, customizable, and integrate with other health safety tools. Our platform provides holistic screening, testing, and contact tracing tools to help employers prevent outbreaks.
Book a demo to learn more about our COVID-19 testing, screening, and contact tracing tools!
Why is employee screening needed for a successful return to work program?
PPE, disinfecting, and social distancing all contribute to a healthier workplace. This blog focuses on adding employee screening.
Employers should follow the “swiss cheese” model where each layer of protection adds more safety. No one solution can fill all the holes where businesses face risk. Adding multiple protection tools or “swiss cheese slices” covers these holes. Following this model allows you to create a strong pandemic defense for your return to work program (1).
Employee health screenings ensure only employees who meet your return to work criteria are at the workplace. Additional layers also include contact tracing, surveillance testing, and vaccine tracking. Contact tracing stops forward transmission and surveillance testing catches asymptomatic silent spread. Finally, vaccine tracking allows you to know when you’ve reached herd immunity. A comprehensive workplace safety solution should integrate all of these tools.
Ask employees to notify them if they are in contact with a sick household member
Currently at least 33 states in the U.S. have made screening employees prior to coming to a physical workspace a requirement. Some states require employee screening prior to each shift. Other states require screening before arriving at work. JD Supra has compiled a list of all the states that have mandatory screening requirements (3).
Key components of a daily health screening
A return to work program should provide the following services as part of the their daily employee screenings to ensure safety. This screening solution should also generate “come to work” or “stay home” recommendations based on the answers to the screening questions.
Health Safety Recommendations
Employers should have a symptom checker app with surveys to see if employees are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. The symptom checker app should ensure no employees with signs of COVID-19 are reporting to the physical work location.
As per the CDC, potential symptoms of COVID-19 include:
Fever greater than 100.4 degrees
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Fatigue, muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
Employers should ask if users have been tested and their results. The CDC recommends testing of individuals with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and their close contacts (2). Establishing a routine testing program also helps companies capture people who are asymptomatic but carry COVID-19 and are silent spreaders. A widespread testing program can help employees stay ahead of COVID-19 cases and prevent transmission.
Testing results should be accessible from a centralized dashboard. With this information, employers can immediately view positive cases and start contact tracing to minimize further COVID-19 transmission.
Employees should log their exposure to those infected with COVID-19 and/or sick with a potential COVID-19 infection. Employers should keep track of this information and send the appropriate advisories. For example, they should send quarantine advisories if employees have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19. Anyone who has been exposed should not enter the workplace until they have properly quarantined per the CDC guidelines.
In some areas, it is required for employees traveling from certain states to quarantine to ensure they are COVID-free (4). For this reason, employers should ask about recent travel in their health screening. Specifically, they should ask about travel outside of the country or to states on the mandatory quarantine list (4). If yes, they should not enter the workplace until they have met the quarantine exit criteria.
Many companies are waiting for the COVID-19 vaccines to become available to the general public. As they arrive, however, universal vaccine adoption is not guaranteed. Employers should have a vaccine tracking tool to help them manage a mixed immunity environment.
Companies should consider asking about employees vaccination status and type and offering incentives for adopters.
Health Safety Recommendations
It is important to understand how your screening solution generates safety recommendations. The survey and recommendations should help employers meet the screening requirements for their safe return to work program. The screener should ensure that only healthy employees are reporting to work.
Employers should develop a list of scenarios they should be prepared for according to local laws and guidelines. They should know what the response will be for these scenarios individually or in combination. Alongside this they should develop the appropriate recommendations for these cases as in the example below.
Scenario 1: An employees with no signs or symptoms of COVID-19 Recommendation: Cleared to come to work.
Scenario 2: An employees with a fever above 100.4 and/or a headache and sore throat Recommendation: Stay home, seek medical attention, and get tested for COVID-19
Scenario 3: Employees that have traveled to states on the mandatory quarantine Recommendation: Quarantine and/or get tested for COVID-19
Employee screenings play a vital role in return to work programs, but they are only one protection tool. Companies still need to add more “swiss cheese layers” to keep employees safe and prevent outbreaks.
Book a demo to test out our COVID-19 symptom checker application and vaccine tracking tools!