Microsoft and UnitedHealth Group have joined forces to support return-to-workplace planning, as the push to reopen the economy continues in the U.S.
To do this, the two companies are launching the ProtectWell protocol, which includes a smartphone app that can help screen for COVID-19 symptoms.
A breakdown of the app shows it includes an AI-powered healthcare bot that asks users a series of questions to screen for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure. If risk of infection is indicated, employers can direct their employees to a streamlined COVID-19 testing process that enables closed-loop ordering and reporting of test results directly back to employers.
The ProtectWell system also includes guidelines and resources to support a safe work environment, including physical distancing, personal hygiene, sanitation, and more the companies said in a release. Employers can also choose additional custom content specific to their workforce for a personalized experience.
“As we plan for a safe and careful return to the workplace, employers need clear guidelines to ensure a safe environment and a robust process for employees to screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms,” said Ken Ehlert, chief scientific officer, UnitedHealth Group. “We are pleased to collaborate with Microsoft to launch ProtectWell, a simple and effective tool to ensure employers and employees have the information and resources they need to keep themselves, their colleagues, and the public safe and healthy.”
In a release, Microsoft Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Business, Judson Althoff said “As businesses begin to reopen, employers will need to monitor and manage their workforce for COVID-19 symptoms to help ensure those at risk of spreading the virus stay home until cleared by medical providers. Microsoft is pleased to join with UnitedHealth Group to launch ProtectWell, which helps organizations manage the complexity of this undertaking.”
Now that the conversation is turning away from shelter in place to reopening (in some locations)– many are looking for solutions to safely bring people back to work.
Last week, MD+DI reported about the possibility of AI-enhanced telethermographic systems being used to help prevent the spread of viruses.
Apple and Google, two of the world’s largest tech giants, have teamed up to build a COVID-19 tracking application. The system would notify smartphone users if they’ve potentially come into contact with an infected person. However, because the companies won’t share any data with health officials, some are critical of the measure, according to a recent report from The Washington Post.