A Dubuque-based company is helping employers across the country navigate the complexities of doing business during a pandemic.
HealthCheck360 recently unveiled a suite of COVID-19 solutions, including a daily symptom tracking tool and an “administrative portal” that helps employers keeps tabs on their workers’ well-being.
Michael Kelly, co-founder and vice president of HealthCheck360, said the company rolled out the new technologies in the middle of June. He acknowledged that developing the new solutions in such a short timeframe was not an easy task.
“It was a unique challenge,” he said. “There were a lot of really long nights, and there was a lot of pressure to get this out.”
HealthCheck360 employs 85 workers overall, including 70 in Dubuque. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dubuque insurance broker Cottingham & Butler.
Kelly said HealthCheck360 helps clients focus on population health and well- being solutions, an area of expertise that shaped recent efforts to help companies contend with COVID-19.
The symptom-tracking system requires employees to fill out a questionnaire before leaving home and going to work. Based on the employee’s responses, the system will direct the worker on whether they can attend work or must stay home.
The system is based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, which has urged employers to find ways to identify infected workers and intervene before they arrive at work and spread the virus.
“That is really the first step to any risk-mitigation process to keep your workplace safe,” said Kelly.
Data on individual employees enters an administrative portal that aggregates information and helps company leaders develop a support system for its workers. Clients working with HealthCheck360 are better positioned to identify nearby testing sites and provide other advice that helps workers take appropriate action after showing symptoms, Kelly said.
Trent Tangen, assistant vice president of population health management, noted that creating the new tools wasn’t the only challenge. Updating them is just as important.
“We are learning more day by day, keeping up with the research of leading health organizations and responding to that,” Tangen said.
Evolving information regarding symptoms provides a prime example: Over time, the list of symptoms associated with COVID-19 has expanded, and HealthCheck360 has had to adjust its tools accordingly.
Circumstances also can vary widely depending on the region. Working with a client in California, which leads the nation in infections, is far different than advising a customer in the typical small, Midwestern city.
All of the hard work appears to be paying off.
Tens of thousands of workers are utilizing HealthCheck360’s system and that number is continuing to grow. The solutions are drawing interest from colleges, school districts and businesses with essential employees.
Tangen has also been encouraged by the feedback from clients.
“We’ve heard that the workers are very thankful,” he said. “This gives them the reassurance that they’re taking the right steps in terms of what their employer wants them to do and what they should be doing for their own health.”
HealthCheck360 also provides antibody testing and temperature screenings through a network of screening partners. Kelly noted that a growing number of employers now view antibody testing as an important practice that could shape return-to-work plans later this year.
New needs continue to emerge as companies learn more about the pandemic. For instance, frequent testing delays have complicated efforts to conduct contact tracing and compelled more companies to explore new solutions.
While it’s impossible to predict what the future will hold, Kelly is pleased with the impact his company has made thus far.
He’s even more proud of the mindset that has guided its work.
“There was never a conversation about, ‘Was this a great business plan?” he recalled. “Our goal was to bring something to the marketplace and to our existing clients that would help keep people safe. We thought it was the right thing to do.”