The Pandemic Might Be Over But COVID Testing Remains An Essential Priority For Travelers
With global travel resuming and covid seemingly in the rear mirror, it's important to realize that the fight isn't over. In fact, even at the most optimistic vaccination levels there will still be 30% of our country that remains unvaccinated. That means nearly 100 million Americans will still be vulnerable and that means rapid, reliable testing will remain an essential way to keep things back open again.
This is even more important when it comes to international travel, including cruising. While states like Alaska don't require a test for vaccinated travelers, they are among the most proactive communities in the United States in terms of protecting visitors and residents. For instance, you can use the Alaska Safe Travels app to register for a free COVID-19 test or vaccination at a participating airport upon arrival. Similarly, the CDC still requires people to get a negative covid test before returning to the United States by air and that presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs to create innovative solutions.
The speed at which Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson developed the COVID-19 vaccines has been touted by many as a medical miracle, but while the amazing advances in vaccine development were widely publicized, a small tech startup was also born out of the pandemic and shifted how medical data is stored and shared.
Odds are you have never heard of Wade Erickson, Dennis Spencer, or Capstone Family Medicine, but there is a chance you have already or will in the future interact with the software that Capstone developed, COVIDSecure.
As the first waves of COVID were spreading around the globe, Dr. Erickson's team, led by CEO Dennis Spencer and the team at Capstone wanted to create a tool that would allow them to keep their employees working so they could serve the over 30,000 patients that count on Capstone for medical care.
Drawing on his military background working in field hospitals as a combat medic with four tours of duty in the Middle East, Dennis Spencer and team set up an emergency clean room to conduct COVID testing, and the concept was replicated at locations across Alaska. Alaska is more than twice the size of Texas, so this was no small task.
Eventually, Capstone would build out mobile testing facilities that could be deployed at any of the Capstone Clinics across Alaska. Not long after the State of Alaska asked if Capstone could provide onsite testing at Bristol Bay, home to the largest sockeye (red) salmon run in the world. The region relies on revenue made during the commercial fishing season and needed a solution to keep the industry fully functional, from catch to processing. that would keep the bay open for business. Capstone was able to deploy and mobilize remote testing centers in the sparsely populated region which sees a boom of seasonal workers.
While responding to the crisis on the ground, it became clear that tracking and verifying COVID stats would need to be streamlined if Alaska and the US hoped to reopen the economy and ease travel restrictions.
Working with a local app developer, COVIDSecure was developed with the feedback of the clinicians on the frontlines of the pandemic. The result, a streamlined application that allows medical staff to manage data at scale with ease, while the end-user simply needs to download the application and create an account.
COVIDSecure was quickly adopted by government agencies and employers to keep their staff safe and businesses open, from statewide airports to local police departments and school districts. Users would simply visit the testing center and their testing status would appear on their app home screen. The application also can host a patient's immunization record post vaccination. The application worked so well that the State of Hawaii approved COVIDSecure to be their only Alaskan-owned COVID screening partner for all incoming flights from Alaska.
While dozens of applications have been developed since the start of the pandemic, COVIDSecure was the only one developed with frontline workers. Its genesis came long before the competition seen today across the Internet. The app's success, ease of use, and adaptability have taken Capstone from a regional medical practice to a national medical technology company supporting COVID-friendly operations that has developed specialty applications for various clients in the private and public sectors. The platform’s flexibility means we could see versions of COVIDSecure being used for international travel vaccination records, high-risk workplace health monitoring, and most importantly giving patients better access to their medical records. Heavy hitters like Disney, HBO, ConocoPhillips, Netflix, and Halliburton are examples of COVIDSecure large-scale clientele.
As countries nations are opening their borders, many are requiring proof of vaccination. Suddenly there is a race to develop an effective digital way to sharing vaccination or testing data. This is where COVIDSecure has a major advantage, having since it has proved itself at the state and local level. While other developers are just coming to market with their solution, COVIDSecure has a track record of success, making it the unheard-of tech company to watch over the summer and fall of 2021.
- Written by James Hills
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