Should US enterprises use their own contact tracing tech?
Enterprise contact tracing tech could help fill the public health gap in the United States, because public health contact tracing solutions may simply take too long for enterprises that have employees who can’t work remotely or that are facing an economic imperative to reopen.
Enterprises need to develop their own opt-in contact tracing solutions to serve as an additional layer of protection for workers. Here’s how it would work: users with a company email address opt in to use the company’s apps, which anonymously gather device IDs from phones within six feet and turn on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when they are inside an office or facility. If someone tests positive, he or she then self-reports through the app, and anyone who has been nearby receives an exposure notification. Those who have been exposed can then self-quarantine. The app would gather a device ID, which can be stored in a secure database accessible only by HR personnel.
Since employees might not be comfortable sharing health information with their employers, apps must be privacy-first and use technology like Bluetooth rather than geolocation data to track interactions. Under HIPAA requirements, companies cannot require employees to share most health information, which means that enterprise apps will have to rely on self-reporting. It is believed that enterprise apps stand to have a higher rate of reporting than public apps due to a higher level of social cohesion in the workplace than in society in general.
Enterprise contact tracing puts action behind the desire to keep a community safe, and people are more motivated to protect those they know and interact with frequently – such as their co-workers. These solutions aren’t a replacement for public contact tracing, but they can be used by individual companies to track disease transmission among their employees. They’d likely work best at organizations that have large campuses or numerous offices, due to the time and effort required to develop them.
When paired with public contact tracing, enterprise contact tracing can offer additional protection for employees. It can be launched quickly, offering the potential for enterprises to help reopen the US economy and prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
Learn more in my latest for TechHQ.
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About the Author
Raja Roy is Vice President of Technology at PK. He is responsible for driving the overall technology initiative, strategy, and innovation for PK. Raja has nearly 20 years of experience leading technology strategy, initiatives and innovation for Fortune 500 brands.