Tracking COVID-19 Without Compromising Privacy and Security

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As we watch confirmed COVID-19 cases surge across the country, even as businesses have started re-opening, the case for technology to support safe workplaces becomes stronger by the day.  Employers can hardly afford to lose large portions of their workers to illness, and employees need to feel safe as they return to their jobs.

HT Tech company Atlas ID is looking to help companies create safe work environments and reduce re-opening risks with its COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Platform.  The platform was initially developed as a response to the 2017 Equifax breach that impacted nearly half of the U.S. population, as the need for a better solution for controlling sensitive PII was needed.  This pandemic has only underscored the need to secure exchange and storage of employee data.  Importantly, with privacy concerns around screening and contact tracing apps gaining a lot of attention, Atlas ID has sought to give employees more control  over how they participate and how they share their personal information.

“The process of reopening businesses must be built on trust between employers and their employees.  Transparency and employee participation are keys to creating a safer workplace. Our goal is to help businesses navigate and streamline the complexities of reopening workplaces in an intelligent, transparent and privacy-preserving way that’s focused on engaging employees as active participants in creating a healthy and safe work environment.”

Ali Davar, CEO, Atlas ID

The Atlas ID platform provides a flexible solution that allows businesses to create workplace safety plans that meet their individual needs – there is no on-size-fits-all solution to pandemic protocols.  Processes for businesses can include things like, virtual symptoms checking, scheduled testing to help identify employees that may be asymptomatic and contagious but not know it, as well as clear instructions and workflow for what employees should do if they are exhibiting symptoms.  Atlas ID also supports related COVID-19 information requirements and activity, such as giving employers the tools to provide tamper-proof essential employee letters.  Capabilities include:

  • Essential employees:  For businesses that require essential employees to provide documentation of their essential status, the solution can store a tamper-proof essential employee letter that individuals can carry with them and display at any time.
  • Employee reporting:  Enable virtual self-reporting of symptoms by employees before going into work.
  • Testing:  Support proactive testing to help identify people that may be infected and contagious, but asymptomatic or presymptomatic.
  • Site management – Enable mobile devices with QR readers at checkpoints anywhere in the workplace to confirm that employees have met return to work requirements before entering.
  • Private and secure end-to-end encryption:  Similar to WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage have done, the platform’s encryption keeps test details confidential and secure.
  • Tamper-proof and fraud-resistant:  Individual employees maintain control over their information and can decide when and how to provide their self-reports and test results with employers as well as credentials (such as an essential employee letter) with the public/local officials.  Both employers and employees can be assured that they can’t tamper with this information.
  • Works with all government-approved diagnostic companies:  Atlas ID is provider agnostic and will integrate with all major HCOs and EHRs and platforms.
  • Blockchain audit trail – Ability to store proof of data on a blockchain to provide an immutable time-stamp for audit purposes.

“I know that there is no silver bullet to reopening and certainly no one-size-fits-all approach.  Employee participation is critical to evaluating risks and determining the right next steps.  The Atlas ID framework is unique in that it puts employees in control of their data thereby encouraging participation in the sharing of and access to sensitive COVID-related data points.  I see Atlas ID as a necessary conduit to communicate health data and protocols in a safe and transparent manner that removes fear and restores confidence among employees and employers as we get back to the workplace.” 

Joe Fournier, advisor to Atlas ID and former CHRO, Intermountain Healthcare, Michigan Medicine, and UMass Memorial Medical Center

Atlas ID works with testing partners in all 50 states to ensure test results can be communicated securely and accurately.  All data is stored in the Amazon Cloud under BAA that ensures HIPAA compliance.  Data is encrypted in the browser with an encryption key that is not accessible to anyone but employees or employers (for data employees agree to share).  That means only authorized people will have access to test results and other PII.  The system is also designed to share any test results with employees first, then giving them the option to share with their employers.  This policy supports the practice of protecting employee data while creating trusted employer-employee relationships, which is necessary to successfully navigate this pandemic and create safe workplaces.

Most reasonable people understand we are nowhere near the end of this pandemic and the new measures that are being implemented to ensure safety will be with us for some time.  That means businesses will need solutions to monitor workers, while instilling confidence that their security and privacy is not an afterthought.

“Access to COVID-19 related data is going to be a necessary part of remaining safely operational.  Atlas ID provides an easy and direct way for our HR team to communicate with our employees — for health data as well as official documents such as essential employment letters. At the same time, the COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Platform helps us empower our employees throughout the process and gives them total control over how they share their data — in a manner that is private and secure.”

Adam Campbell, CFO, Intermountain Regional Landfill