Some customers have asked me about COVID-19 tracking apps. Welcome to the dawning post-pandemic world. I confess I did not have “consult on COVID-19 tracking apps” on my bingo card for 2021. Here at CGNET we have not employed a COVID-19 tracking app; we are still limiting how many staff can work in the office at the same time. So, while I hope I can provide some valuable insights into some COVID-19 tracking apps, I cannot offer direct experience. (And by the way: if you want to know about return-to-the-workplace solutions that go beyond COVID-19 tracking, check out Jackie Bilodeau’s excellent post here.)
What Problem Are You Trying to Solve?
Before we get to the COVID-19 tracking apps, let me offer my best advice. Understand what problem you are trying to solve. You want to protect the health of employees returning to the office. But you can take several routes to reach that goal.
- Are you looking to confirm that returning staff are free of COVID-19? Will you do that by asking about an employee’s vaccination status? And if so, do you trust the employee’s word or do you ask for evidence?
- Do you want to bypass the vaccination discussion and focus on testing for COVID-19? If so, what tests will you employ? How frequently will you test? Who will conduct the tests?
- Do you plan to include contact tracing for someone who tests positive for COVID-19 after returning to the office? What will you do with that information?
- How involved will you become in the care of an employee who tests positive for COVID-19?
If you do not have a clear idea of what problem you want to solve, it will be more difficult to evaluate a COVID-19 tracking app. This is certainly a situation where more features do not equate to a superior solution. With that said, let us look at some COVID-19 tracking apps.
TrueCare24 is a turnkey COVID-19 testing service. This app provides medical staff to conduct COVID-19 testing. This leads me to ask what geographies they operate in.
Charges are on a per-employee/per-month basis. There are three plans: bronze, silver, and titanium (I guess platinum was taken). The bronze plan includes testing and symptom screening, along with a dashboard. With the silver and titanium plans you also get vaccination support. If you are focused on a solution for testing and vaccination, this might be an attractive COVID-19 tracking app.
Clear to Go
Clear to Go goes beyond other COVID-19 tracking apps in several ways. First, it solves for a more general problem of tracking employee health and wellness, beyond just COVID-19. Second, it addresses the needs of companies that want to test visitors to their facilities. Think of department stores and government agencies.
This COVID-19 tracking app provides for screening and verification, but this is just an automated version of the questions you must answer before entering a doctor’s office. In other words, there is no testing. Clear to Go does track vaccination status, though it is unclear how it gathers vaccination data.
The Clear to Go app supports announcements (useful?) and presence management (user tracking), which seems a bit creepy. It also provides workforce availability statistics. This might be useful for large organizations. The app also provides case management, if you wanted to track the care for people that have tested positive.
If your problem includes testing visitors for COVID-19 this might be a useful COVID-19 tracking app.
Kokomo 24/7 Safety Cloud
I have some trouble understanding the boundary between services here. There are COVID-19 tracking apps—Covid19tracker and Vaxtrax—along with auditing, anonymous reporting, case management and incident management. Kokomo 24/7 also seems to have a desk management app, which is a solution to another headache—managing desk usage—some people might have.
The app provides health screening, temperature scanning, contact tracing, vaccination and test tracking, and case management. Other than a temperature scanner (which they may or may not provide; it is not clear), this is app focuses on gathering and presenting information. Do you feel well, have you been tested and so on.
Which COVID-19 Tracking App is Right for Your Organization?
I characterize the argument for each of these COVID-19 tracking apps as follows.
- If you want to conduct actual COVID-19 testing as part of allowing staff back in the office, TrueCare24 would be the best choice. And the only choice among these three apps.
- Clear to Go will be a good choice if you must manage a large volume of visitors.
- Safety Cloud is a good choice if you are focused on self-attestation regarding COVID-19 testing, possibly with temperature scanning.
One final thought: keep the employee data in the service provider’s network. And ask the provider about their security.