Safely Returning to Work During the Pandemic


Most people will acquire the novel coronavirus before a vaccine is available. A business that does not require screening its staff for symptoms – an essential aspect of infection control – may become a transmission hotspot. When many employees get sick at once, operations are disrupted, individuals become resentful, and wrongdoing claims increase. Offices located in urban areas are at a higher risk since public transit increases spread. The solution is daily employee health assessments, which will need to persist for a year or longer.

Auscura leverages technology to keep COVID-19 out of the workplace. SmartContact™ is its communication platform that allows employees to relay symptoms and high-risk activities before coming to work. It eliminates human errors, creates workflow efficiencies, and complies with CDC and OSHA recommendations. Employees are linked to educational resources and company policies that address infection control.

According to Dr. Tom Scaletta, CEO of Auscura, and a practicing emergency physician, “Daily symptom surveillance is integral to workplace safety.” He maintains, “Checking temperatures at an entrance creates bottlenecks, requires the expense of screeners, and is a clinically-flawed strategy. Even when I admit patients to the hospital with COVID-19 pneumonia, less than a third have a fever at triage. I recommend self-checks for fever using an oral thermometer, which is more accurate than infrared, forehead devices. We need to know if there are symptoms before someone leaves home, so no infection is passed along during a commute.”

SmartContact applies the CDC’s return to work decision tree to automate patient follow-up using a text message link to a secure survey. Patient-initiated surveillance saves hours of work. Alerts are pushed to company administrators when an employee reports symptoms or exposure risk, and the data can be quickly retrieved whenever needed.

Auscura is a leader in automating healthcare communication. Its SmartContact™ platform facilitates healthcare messaging for a diverse set of use cases in ways that are effective, affordable, and easy to implement. Auscura’s founder, Tom Scaletta, MD, was a software programmer before entering medical school. He is now a practicing emergency physician who is board-certified in emergency medicine and clinical informatics and oversees two Chicago-area emergency departments.

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