How Employers may provide a healthy workplace by Conducting COVID-19 And Antibody Test
A Comprehensive Employers Guide For Covid-19 Molecular and Antibody Testing
The Corona Pandemic has seen the advent of such a radical and sudden change, that the effects of this crisis will be felt even after the imposed lockdown will be eased. Economies and organizations around the world will be impacted and will necessitate a paradigm shift in the way work will be conducted. Behavioral and management changes will be inevitable, as individuals adapt to a new way of living, working, and building relationships.
With the gradual easing of lockdown, as companies start operation and employees start coming back to work, the implementation of a testing program will become a necessity, and employers need to ensure that they are ready and prepared for such a program.
A C0VID-19 employee testing program can be considered a huge asset during this trying time due to the ease with which employers can bring about much-needed testing within the organization. This article will run over all the different aspects of the testing program and how technology will help to bring about end-to-end solutions for the delivery of precision health testing in an efficient and swift manner.
COVID-19 Worksite Testing Program
The COVID-19 Worksite Testing Program has been developed in order to expand access to COVID-19 risk screening and active disease testing in the workforce. The COVID-19 Worksite Testing Program is delivered using a software technology platform that is HIPAA compliant, and securely registers people for testing, connects with telemedicine providers for test approval, coordinates sample collection, triages sample evaluation based on lab capacities, and delivers results and educational materials all through secure online portals.
The COVID-19 Worksite Program provides:
1. Registration for a worksite’s Active Disease and/or Antibody Screening program.
2. Eligibility screening for the COVID-19 test looking for active disease or antibodies, with eligibility criteria based on Centres for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. These criteria include health, travel, and recent exposure questions. The screening criterion may change over time-based on public health guidelines from the CDC and may vary by state.
3. Scheduling approved participants for sample collection at community-based testing sites available in their area, based on test availability and site capacity OR mailing self-collection kits to participants, depending on which is in accordance with state and national regulations.
4. Result delivery for antibody and active disease testing through the secure portal to the physician for review and then to the individual. Delivery of results to required government health officials would also be conducted by the physician and laboratory.
5. Support through educational materials and resources based on CDC guidelines for COVID-19. This may also include company-specific links to benefits information or other supportive materials and messages for employees.
PURPOSE OF THE PROGRAM
A detailed flow of how the employee will be tested for both the active disease and the antibody testing has been outlined below. The whole process from registration to the acquisition of results and the necessary follow up and support flows through the online portal enabling end-to-end interface solutions with minimum physical interaction and enhanced speed.
COVID-19 CLINICAL TEST – DETAILED FLOW
STEP 1: EMPLOYEE REGISTRATION
The COVID-19 Worksite Testing Program recruits and screens participating employees through a corporate branded landing page, (www.covid19clinicaltest/.com). This landing page is customized for each partner, including the company’s logo and customizable content for employees. The landing page also provides information about the COVID-19 Worksite Testing Program for both active disease and antibody presence, plus general educational content about COVID-19, which is based on CDC guidelines.
Steps then include:
- Complete employer pre-screen questionnaire
- Create a personal log-in and password
- Complete intake, including Health Eligibility Screening Questionnaire (HSEQ*)
- Provide consent for responses to be delivered to a telemedicine physician
* The HSEQ for antibody testing is to identify if the person had symptoms of COVID-19, traveled, or had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 individual since January 2020.
STEP 2: PHYSICIAN REVIEWS SCREENING QUESTIONNAIRE
HSEQ answers are securely transmitted to a licensed telemedicine physician for review through HIPAA compliant portal. The physician’s decision to approve testing and, if appropriate, their assignment of priority ranking for sample collection is determined based on CDC guidelines for testing and risk stratification.
STEP 3: APPROVAL NOTIFICATION & SAMPLE COLLECTION SCHEDULED
APPROVED CASES: Employee receives email notification their test has been approved. The employee uses the online system to schedule a sample collection appointment (if the test is not eligible for at-home sample collection). If at-home testing is available, the employee will receive notification that their test is approved and a kit to collect their sample is being readied to send to them in the mail.
DISAPPROVED CASES: Employee receives email notification their test request has been denied at this time, along with an explanation from the reviewing physician why their test was not approved (age, symptoms, etc.).
STEP 4: REQUISITION CREATED ON THE BACK-END & DIGITAL LABELS GENERATED
The platform integrates with insurance/Medicare/Medicaid and creates requisition for the lab, including labels with unique participant identification numbers for labeling samples. For at-home testing, at this time the platform will triage load for partner labs and label and distribute kits accordingly.
STEP 5: SAMPLE COLLECTION KIT WITH IDENTIFYING LABEL MAILED TO EMPLOYEE OR LAB PRINTS LABELS AND REQUISITIONS
Laboratory either prints labels and requisitions, matching them and putting in a biohazard bag so they are ready for collection appointment OR readies sample kit and mails kit to the employee.
STEP 6: EMPLOYEE RECEIVES CODE FOR SAMPLE COLLECTION SITE OR NOTIFICATION THAT KIT IS ON ITS WAY
The employee is emailed their unique identification code to show at a sample collection site for their appointment OR they receive notice that their sample collection kit has been mailed, including a tracking number.
STEP 7: SAMPLE COLLECTION
For onsite collection: Each employee attends his or her sample collection appointment at the designated site and time. They verify their identity with photo id and the code they were sent, and their sample is then collected.
For at-home collection: The employee follows easy-to-understand collection instructions in the sample collection box, which may include a link to a video instruction or access to live-video support from a telemedicine provider for additional guidance. Using the pre-paid postage label and supplied box or envelope, the employee returns the sample in the included biohazard bag.
STEP 8: LAB PROCESSES SAMPLE
The COVID-19 Worksite Testing Program platform evaluates laboratory capacity loads daily and guides the delivery of samples to the partner clinical laboratory with the current capacity to provide the fastest result turn-around time.
STEP 9: RESULT DELIVERY
Once the laboratory completes the analysis, the ordering physician receives the real-time notification of the result to review. When results are ready, employees receive an email guiding them to the portal to receive their results. Negative results are immediately sent to the employee through the secure portal.
Positive results may either be delivered over the telephone with a telemedicine physician or sent on email with a prompt to schedule an optional follow-up phone appointment with a telemedicine physician to develop a care plan.
The positive result delivery style is determined by the state health department’s and telemedicine physician network’s requirements. All appropriate government agencies will receive results from the laboratory and physician per their independent processes.
STEP 10: SUPPORT EMAIL FOLLOW-UP
The employee receives a follow-up support email, branded for the company, with educational content based on CDC guidelines for COVID-19 and content based on OSHA guidelines for cleaning and risk reduction. Customizable materials for sick-leave policies, benefits links, and more can also be integrated into the email.
TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION REQUIREMENTS
The platform that powers the COVID-19 Worksite Testing Program supports the delivery of both active disease testing and antibody testing for COVID-19 through participant eligibility screening, sample collection scheduling, lab ordering and integration, label creation and printing support, result delivery, telemedicine follow-up for positive results, and customizable educational support materials.
For employees, the platform also provides technical support for the employee portal (HSEQ completion, result delivery, etc.) and COVID-19 educational materials. Worksites must contract with ixlayer to use the COVID-19 Worksite Testing Program for their employee testing.
In case the staff needs assistance during set-up or operations, all worksites, laboratories, and physician networks contracting with the COVID-19 Worksite Testing Program will have access to an ixlayer provided call line for technical support. This call line is NOT for answering participating employee’s questions about their participation in the program, and as such this contact information should only be available to the worksite’s technical, managerial, and/or human resources staff, as well as staff at the contracted clinical lab(s) and telemedicine provider(s).
Do not share the technical support line with employees participating in the COVID-19 testing at your facility. There is a separate support line for participating employees who have questions regarding the process of creating their log-in, completing the online screening questionnaire, etc.
The above article gives an overview of how the COVID-19 testing platform can be implemented within an organization to ensure that the periodic and systematic employee health testing takes place within the framework prescribed by the CDC. All the steps leading to the end-to-end solution for the delivery of clinical testing through the ixlayer testing platform have been articulated enabling employers to gain access to COVID-19 screening and examination using technological capabilities through an online platform.
This clinical testing platform encompasses all the steps from registering to connecting to telemedicine providers, coordinating sample collections, and delivery of the results ensuring a seamless process resulting in timely and efficient results.
As an employer during these challenging pandemic times, which process would you use to ensure that you and your employees are regularly tested to enable the smooth running of your organization?