Auscura Develops Virtual Screening Tool Allowing For an Easy and Affordable Solution to Bring Employees Back to the Workplace
In response to Illinois Governor, J. B. Pritzker's return-to-work screening requirements, Auscura adapted its SmartContact solution to screen workers for fever, symptom, and exposure utilizing secure communications automation. The system gathers actionable data and prevent the spread of COVID allowing workplaces to open and operate safely within federal guidelines utilizing the CDC's return to work decision tree.
As companies look to adapt to "a new normal", innovative technologies have emerged to help keep the workforce healthy while facing the challenges of re-opening. SmartContact is a 30-second e-survey that takes into account both day-of symptoms as well as exposure risk - data that can be quickly retrieved whenever needed. It meets CDC and OSHA requirements as well as HIPAA privacy standards and overcomes the cost and other drawbacks of in-person entrance screeners.
Thermal entrance scanning requires temperature kiosks and a person asking about symptoms. This expensive and slow-paced method is often inaccurate and can create a false sense of security whereas the Auscura technology leverages pattern recognition to immediately identify risk. For instance, if two cafeteria workers develop symptoms, urgent operational changes must be put in place. SmartContact is able to recognize clusters and immediately alert company leaders. The solution also allows healthcare staff to electronically contact patients sent home to assure their well-being and uncover or resolve follow-up or service issues. Additionally, employees are linked to both educational resources and made aware of company policies that address infection control.
"In my 30 years of practicing emergency medicine, I have not seen anything to fear more than COVID," says Scaletta, MD, Founder and CEO of Auscura. "We all need to avoid becoming the vector, the reason our family and friends, especially elders and those with chronic conditions, get infected. It's a very challenging situation as the economy, too, has a direct effect on health outcomes."
Dr. Scaletta, a software programmer before entering medical school, is now a practicing emergency physician who is board-certified in emergency medicine and clinical informatics. He oversees two Chicago-area emergency departments. After eight years of experience managing personal health information, the Built-in automation of the solution streamlines workflows and prevents human error. With SmartContact, employees get an automated text message every morning with a link to a short survey to assess their risk levels.
"Daily symptom surveillance is integral to workplace safety," said Dr. Scaletta. "Checking temperatures at an entrance creates bottlenecks and is a clinically-flawed strategy. Less than a third of the patients I admit to the hospital with COVID pneumonia have a fever at triage. Businesses need to know if there are symptoms before someone leaves home so no infection is passed along during a commute."
Auscura's virtual screening technology is safe, inexpensive, and a more straightforward way to meet CDC guidelines. Auscura is the winner of the 2014 Urgent Matters Emergency Care Innovation of the Year Award Recipient. The SmartContact solution is available nationally to turn qualitative feedback into provider-specific reports that measure compassion, communication, and competence for a business. In the forthcoming Post-Pandemic world, an advantage of data will be crucial to the continuing health and safety of enterprises, their employees, and their consumers.
Unique Virtual Screening Tool Allows Businesses To Keep Employees Safe As "First Wave" Of COVID-19 Wrongful Death Lawsuits Emerge
In response to a growing number of wrongful death lawsuits by families who have lost loved ones to COVID, Auscura designed their SmartContact solution to alleviate enterprise risk while also keeping employees safe. The SmartContact solution utilizes web-based communication automation and can gather actionable data daily to prevent the spread of disease, allowing for both viable records to be kept and enhancing safety in the workplace.
According to Bloomberg Law's database of court dockets, there were at least 14 wrongful death lawsuits filed by mid-June tied to the Coronavirus pandemic. Employers are being sued by the families of workers who believe they should be compensated for their loved ones having contracted fatal cases of COVID-19 on the job. The contention is their family members were not adequately protected, which makes them entitled to compensation. Attorneys attest that these types of suits are an attempt to bypass state workers' compensation systems, which, though they vary state to state, provide medical benefits or lower cost recompense when employees are injured or killed on the job. These systems typically don't allow employees or their families to sue unless gross negligence or willful misconduct can be proven - thus, the biggest challenge for a wrongful death case is showing and proving that an employee contracted the virus on the job which, then, led to death.
SmartContact from Auscura is a 30-second e-survey used as a virtual screening tool for employees returning to the workplace that takes into account both day-of symptoms as well as any exposure risk. The data can be quickly retrieved whenever needed and can serve as the recommended injury and illness logs OSHA announced in May that employers would be required to keep. Keeping the workplace healthy can help alleviate any potential litigation.
"If you ask COVID patients, most work outside the home or live with someone that does, and there is wide variability in workplace safety," says Scaletta, MD, Founder and CEO of Auscura. "I have no doubt we will see many negligence lawsuits in the future, especially when an employer cannot produce a daily record of screening or any education about workplace prevention and spread."
SmartContact meets both OSHA and CDC requirements as well as HIPAA privacy standards. It's also more accurate and cost-effective than thermal entrance scanning, which requires a person to ask about symptoms. Additionally, SmartContact can recognize clusters and immediately alert company leadership. With SmartContact, employees get an automated text message every morning with a link to a short survey to assess their risk levels.
"Auscura's return-to-work solution was designed to proactively keep employees and their families safe, which requires great education and daily wellbeing checks," said Dr. Scaletta.
Death tort lawsuits have already been filed against Walmart Inc., Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Safeway, Tyson Foods, as well as health care centers. The burden of proof would rest on showing willful misconduct by these institutions, reckless infliction alleging they either shut down too late or continued operations despite knowing that an employee displayed symptoms of COVID-19. These types of litigation can often lead to enormous sums in damages and settlements.
SmartContact helps businesses mitigate their liability by requiring their employees to waive risk while attesting to having read disease prevention materials as well as any other related company regulations. The platform can screen employees ahead of time and immediately alert supervisors as well as provide helpful resources if they become infected. Additionally, SmartContact can identify clusters of cases and keep a complete record of it all.
In August, 2020, Auscura announced that in response to the on-going endeavor to find ways that will allow students back on campus for safe face-to-face learning, their SmartContact solution, utilizing web-based communication automation, can screen student symptoms and exposure risk daily. The platform delivers an immediate solution to getting both students and faculty back to school and mitigating both legal and safety-related risks.
As institutions of higher learning face the challenges of re-opening amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic, many are taking the time to determine how swiftly and completely they can resume full-on campus operations. An enormous amount of uncertainty surrounds COVID-related standards of care and many schools have taken to having their students and faculty sign waivers in a preemptive defense against any costs associated with defending against potential lawsuits. Even if a school has done everything possible to keep students and staff safe, anyone who could point to catching COVID-19 on campus could cause the university or college a certain amount of liability. One solution is Auscura's proprietary SmartContact, a 30-second e-survey used as a virtual screening tool for students and faculty returning to campus that considers both day-of symptoms as well as an exposure risk. This cumulative data can be quickly retrieved whenever it is needed and meets CDC requirements as well as HIPAA privacy standards.
In-person entrance screeners and temperature kiosks require an actual person asking about symptoms. This is an expensive and slow-paced method that is also often inaccurate. These checks also create a false sense of security as many COVID-19 cases present without a fever. SmartContact uses data and pattern recognition to identify risk quickly. For instance, if two students in a certain section of a dorm develop symptoms, urgent operational changes and quarantines are put into place. Auscura's technology recognizes clusters and immediately alerts campus leaders. The solution also allows healthcare staff to electronically contact students or faculty to assure that their health is being looked after and determine any follow-up or medical services. Additionally, employees and students are linked to educational health-resources and made aware of school policies that address infection control.
"As an emergency physician, I regularly see the effects of COVID," says Tom Scaletta, MD, Founder, and CEO of Auscura. "The risk in young adults - and children for that matter - is that they are often asymptomatic. The question boils down to whether they will be able to comply with the CDC prevention guidelines and how fast an outbreak can be identified. Our technology also screens their behavior and risk of exposure, which is quite high on many campuses."
"There are plenty of cases where a student infects a parent or grandparent with devastating consequences. Just imagine the lifelong burden of being the one that brought the disease home. They also come into face to face contact with vulnerable instructors and faculty."
Auscura's virtual screening technology is safe, inexpensive, and a more straightforward way to meet CDC guidelines. It can also be deployed in schools catering to K-12 where the risk of taking the disease home is even greater. The SmartContact solution is available nationally to turn qualitative feedback into provider-specific reports that measure compassion, communication, and competence for institutions of learning everywhere.
Auscura Offers a Free, Automated COVID Symptom Screening Tool to Small Businesses Trying to Bring Employees Back to Work
Auscura's SmartContact Platform is a Free COVID Symptom Screening Tool for Small Businesses Bringing Employees Back to Work
In September 2020, Auscura announced that it will offer its return-to-work solution to small, independent businesses in the United States at no cost. The platform is called SmartContact and it utilizes communication automation to prevent coronavirus spread allowing workplaces to stay open and operate safely.
"It's been 8 months since the first case of coronavirus in the US and not even one-eighth of the population has yet been infected. We must all do our part to minimize transmission in order to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and to increase the number of people that will benefit from immunization once an effective vaccine is developed," says Tom Scaletta, MD, CEO of Auscura.
SmartContact is a 30-second, daily e-survey used as a screening tool to check for COVID symptoms as well as any exposure risk. This program complies with OSHA screening principles and HIPAA privacy standards. Auscura will provide this tool at no cost to companies with under 25 employees.
In addition to keeping employees and customers safe, employers are protected against negligence lawsuits because CDC guidelines are reinforced, the risk is acknowledged, and a historical record can be produced.
"We know that many businesses are struggling financially. Auscura wants to play a role in keeping the doors of small enterprises open and their staff employed," says PJ Hussey, Auscura's COO."
Auscura is Offering a Free COVID-19 Screening Solution to Help Businesses Comply with AB 685, California's New Requirement for Companies to Inform Employees of an Exposure Within One Day
Auscura's SmartContact Platform Automates Infection Pattern Tracing and Alerts Supervisors and Workers to Incidents
Auscura is offering a complimentary COVID-19 Screening Solution to help California Businesses comply with the new AB 685 law. Dr. Scaletta, CEO of Auscura, said, "We are not in the business of giving away our technology. However, we want to play a role in bringing employees back to the workplace. Our solution is ideally suited because we provide daily, mandatory COVID-19 screening so our clients can be confident that they are keeping their employees as safe as possible and staying in compliance with the law."
Auscura leverages infection pattern tracing to meet the new regulations. "We identify employees that work in the same physical location and determine those likely to be in proximity to someone with an infection. When an employee reports any symptoms, the system immediately notifies Department Managers and Human Resources leaders. It also automates messaging to affected staff, allowing companies to maintain compliance with AB 685, and minimizes the spread of COVID-19 in their place of business."
Dr. Scaletta, who practices medicine in the Chicago-area, went on to say, "Failure to identify workplace exposures creates a significant health risk for employees and their families and is a legal risk for employers. Governor Newsom is making a positive impact in helping Californians remain infection-free until a vaccine exists."