Hospital COVID-19 screening tools work to prevent spread, Brigham and Women's study finds

The use of daily COVID-19 attestation forms in hospitals are effective at identifying healthcare workers who may have COVID-19 and help prevent the virus's spread, new findings from researchers at Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital suggest. 

At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Boston-based Mass General Brigham implemented COVID Pass, a daily symptom screening tool for hospital employees and visitors that has since recorded more than 15 million attestations. For the study, published Nov. 10 in Infection Control & Epidemiology, researchers evaluated more than 2 million attestations from March 23, 2020, to June 30, 2020, to evaluate how well such screening tools work at identifying symptomatic people before they enter the hospital. The attestations covered more than 65,000 employees across 52 hospitals and clinic sites within the health system. 

Of the attestations analyzed, nearly all of them reported no symptoms. A total of 2,062 employees reported at least one symptom, with a sore throat being the most common. Of this group, 905 employees were tested for COVID-19 within 14 days and 114 tested positive. 

Researchers said the study offers initial evidence supporting the use of such attestation screening tools that have been implemented by hospitals across the globe amid the pandemic. 

"COVID Pass allowed us to identify more than 100 cases of COVID-19 and helped those employees receive the right level of care and testing so that they would not transmit this disease to their patients or their co-workers," senior author Hojjat Salmasian, MD, PhD, said in a Dec. 6 news release sent to Becker's. "It may seem like a small number when you think of millions of attestations, but when you think of the potential harm that can come from just one person spreading the virus, there is no such thing as a small success."


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