COVID-19 Support Services: Wearable Solutions for Social Distance Monitoring, Early-Stage Symptom Detection & Contact Tracing

Description of the Problem

The ongoing viral threat of COVID-19 will remain extremely difficult for employers to manage, with a combination of symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers spreading the disease. Monitoring and propagating social distancing combined with successfully identifying, tracing and isolating individuals before they exhibit symptoms may lead to drastic reductions in the spread of infection. Implementing this multi-level strategy possesses immediate and enormous potential to protect and preserve workforce health and safety, and associated production in pandemic conditions. It is particularly salient and critical as manufacturers now begin to consider, develop, and implement return-to-work plans, policies, and overarching risk detection and mitigation practices.

Executive Summary

The immediate goal is to successfully field a COVID-19 monitoring, detection and notification framework to support companies and their employees as they return to work. More specifically, this framework can incorporate three key elements, while necessarily considering critical underlying data privacy and confidentiality concerns:

  • Proximity monitoring and logging
  • Symptom screening, detection and notification
  • Resultant contact tracing

Each element can be supported in some capacity through current technology offerings or capabilities. Wrist-based wearables and smart phones, for example, are being piloted to monitor, log and notify on relative individual proximities in real-time. Real-time haptic feedback can instantaneously warn employees that they are too close to colleagues. This approach can not only facilitate necessary social distancing guidelines across individuals, but data can also be aggregated to identify “proximity hot-spots” for targeted facility workflow optimization.

Some modern wearable technologies can now successfully screen commonly presenting COVID-19 symptoms. Recent data indicate a strong illness detection potential days before symptoms manifest via wearable-derived physiologic metrics (e.g., temperature, heart rate, heart rate variability, and respiration). The inherent IoT connectivity and raw data access from many of these devices also renders early stage symptom detection and notification immediately plausible on a company-wide scale. To close this loop, contact tracing applications are also being used, again based on proximity monitoring, logging and notification, to help reduce virus spread once infected individuals are identified.

Our Expertise:

Drawing on significant in-house expertise, Exponent can provide an integrated, technology-driven COVID-19 risk monitoring and notification framework, with emphasis on data privacy and confidentiality. The primary objective is to address evolving employee health and associated productivity concerns facing a broad range of companies as they begin to come online. The framework is comprised of three key elements; proximity monitoring, symptom detection and contact tracing, which are supported and delivered via targeted technology offerings. Coordinated back-end data aggregation and analysis across these technologies also affords and delivers a novel mechanism for earlier, expanded and more rapid risk mitigation. A brief description of each key deliverable, and Exponent’s supporting approach, is provided below.

Our Capabilities:

Proximity Monitoring and Logging

Exponent can immediately facilitate technology-driven employee proximity monitoring and logging to support mandated social distancing guidelines and to optimize facility design and workflow. Viable technologies for this purpose already exist, affording rapid implementation and enactment, Exponent is highly experienced in procuring and rapidly disseminating technologies to employees and associated onboarding, compliance monitoring and data quality checks.

Symptom Screening, Detection and Notification

Exponent can develop and implement a wearable data-driven employee COVID-19 symptom screening and early-stage detection tool. We can again rapidly procure and disseminate the wearable technology to employees. Through our extensive wearable data analytics expertise, we can additionally and rapidly design the necessary software tools to scrape, aggregate and analyze employee data for continuous symptom screening, detection and notification. Through this approach, infected individuals can be detected and isolated from the rest of the workforce sooner.   

Contact Tracing

Exponent can implement a company-wide contact tracing platform for an additional level of virus containment and risk mitigation, with user privacy and security central to the design. This platform will not only complement baseline proximity tracking, but can be integrated with symptom detection data to optimize early-stage employee isolation and spread containment efforts. Exponent’s expertise in user compliance and data quality monitoring, along with multi-state data synthesis and analytics can successfully drive and support this valuable complementary process.

Prioritized Metric Dashboard

Exponent can in parallel develop and implement a centralized data-driven dashboard to streamline company COVID-19 risk mitigation efforts. This dashboard can aggregate and distill all employee data into prioritized relative risk and health outcome metrics. Through this dashboard, employers can rapidly assess and act on employee health risk and status. Through reporting longitudinal employee data trajectories it can also be used to assess and optimize strategic workforce interventions (e.g., facility workflow). Longer-term, it can feed critical baseline data into strategic plans for protecting employee health and company productivity during future pandemic outbreaks.

For more information on our services, please contact 888.656.EXPO (within the U.S.), 650.326.9400 (outside the U.S.), or info@exponent.com. Additional information is also available here.

Knowledge