The objective of this piece is to help employers and administrators find a solution that’s right for their organization. We’ve done the research to help you evaluate the leading contact tracing devices. 

Why do you need contact tracing software?

Businesses are faced with an unprecedented level of responsibility when it comes to employee safety and well-being due to COVID-19. Contact tracing is the process of identifying, monitoring, and supporting individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Contact tracing is often done manually, but is most effective when partnered with technology. Technology ensures the highest level of accuracy and fastest response to a positive test result. 

Having the right tools to quickly identify close contacts stops forward transmission and prevents shutdowns. Minimizing tracing and testing delays are imperative for practical contact tracing in the workplace. When you start contact tracing the day that a positive test result is identified you can decrease forward transmission by 80%. 

rapid response to covid case

Reference: Impact of delays on effectiveness of contact tracing strategies for COVID-19: a modeling study

In addition to helping employers prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, digital contract tracing makes it easy to meet state guidelines and requirements. Certain states recommend or require that organizations such as businesses and schools keep record of close contacts to aid public health departments with their contact tracing efforts.

How does contact tracing help stop the spread of COVID-19?

Once an administrator identifies that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, their case needs to be managed. Case Management is utilizing contact tracing data to inform Level 1 and 2 contacts of potential exposure and providing quarantine instructions. Level 1 contacts are people that have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Level 2 contacts are people who have been in close contact with level 1 contacts. Close contact is defined as exposure to a positive COVID-19 case for 15 minutes or longer in a 48 hour time period during their infectious period.

The Center for Disease Control recommends exposed employees monitor their symptoms until 14 days after the exposure took place. If a potentially infected individual develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19 they should be advised to isolate and stay home. 

How does contact tracing work? 

The first step to prevent transmission is identifying who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. A successful workplace contact tracing solution should allow administrators to:

  • Monitor employees health status and take action when needed
  • See who has been tested for COVID-19 and their results

digital automatic and manual contact tracing

Contact tracing is only effective if you are logging each interaction that could be a potential exposure event. There are many different types of digital contact tracing, from manual to automated with hardware wearables. All these contact tracing tools should be easily managed via the administrators digital platform. 

Bluetooth peer to peer, bluetooth triangulation, and bluetooth phone tracking are automated contact tracing methods. They are constantly tracking who is coming into contact with whom throughout the day. Automated contact tracing methods lessens the burden to maintain a record of these interactions. However, there is also the option for employees to manually log contacts via the digital logbook app in our app. 

By implementing a digital process, the need for staff to manage the contact tracing process is reduced, while increasing accuracy.

Compare the Contact Tracing Methods 

Each method has its strengths, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts when integrated effectively.

digital contact tracing methods

All four contact tracing tools ensure your team is safe and healthy. A holistic approach empowers your team to be confident that they are protected when they come to work.

Automated Contact Tracing

Bluetooth peer to peer, bluetooth triangulation, and bluetooth phone tracking all automated contact tracing tools. These tools track who employees are coming into contact with while on premises throughout the day. These processes are secure, private, and automated. Compliance with contact tracing is extremely high with our customers because we integrate hardware technology with an easy to use app. 

To enable automatic contact tracing in the workplace, your solution should integrate best of breed bluetooth wearables. These operate via either peer to peer or bluetooth triangulation tracking. Our wearables are available as badges, cards, or lanyards.

Bluetooth Hardware Types and Features 

bluetooth hardware

Manual Contact Logging 

Finally, our fourth method of contact tracing is the digital log book in the employee facing app. In a log book employees can mark who they met with and for how long each day. These manually logged interactions will be pulled into the contact tracing sequence if a positive case is found in your workplace.

Which contact tracing method should I use?

The method to use depends on: the use case, the type of workplace, accuracy, reliability, and cost.

Use Case

Some of the use cases to consider are:

Do my employees have personal smartphones or employer-supplied smartphones?
With personal smartphones, the employee will likely be unwilling to use the smartphone app based approach for contact tracing.

Do I need a solution for both employees and contractors?
Bluetooth hardware is preferred for contractors as users can be temporarily assigned a tag that is re-assigned later.

Type of Workplace

Some workplaces are very large but have a very few entrance and exit points. In these workplaces peer-to-peer Bluetooth method is preferred over Bluetooth triangulation.

Similarly if the workplace is very large, it will require a lot of Bluetooth gateways making it cost prohibitive.

Workplaces that have special validation requirements (certain factories, clean rooms, labs) require hardware. Any hardware that has to be installed in the area has to undergo a lengthy, expensive validation process. These workplaces are not a good fit for Bluetooth triangulation.

Accuracy, Reliability

In terms of accuracy and reliability, the hardware approaches are better than a smartphone app based tracing. However the app-based tracing does not require installation and management of any new hardware. The log book approach can be very reliable if users adopt and use it consistently and require no new hardware

Cost

The log book and smartphone app approaches are cheaper than the Bluetooth hardware. There are other more expensive hardware approaches like Ultra WideBand (UWB) that are more reliable and accurate than Bluetooth.

Next Steps 

Our Sales and Customer Success team can help you choose the best solution for your situation based on the above factors.

Interested in learning more about our contact tracing software? Book a demo to try our screening, contact tracing, and vaccine management tools!