Hospitals using badges to track employee COVID-19 exposure

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the U.S., some hospitals are tracking COVID-19 exposure through sensors in employees' badges, reports CNBC.

The hospitals use technology from SwipeSense, a Chicago-based healthcare technology company.

SwipeSense technology has been used to monitor staff hand-washing — and to track assets such as wheelchairs or IV pumps, according to CNBC. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company determined it could also add sensors to employees' badges as a sort of "contact tracing" inside the hospital.

After a hospital employee is infected, SwipeSense can pull up a virtual floor map, with dots representing people's movements, and the hospital can see who might have been exposed by the infected worker, according to CNBC. For instance, the map could show the number of people who had been in a patient's room. The hospital can then take appropriate actions regarding testing and safety based on who was potentially exposed.

SwipeSense CEO Mert Iseri acknowledged to CNBC that there are potential privacy and security implications involved with the technology, but said SwipeSense is trying to help alleviate concerns in various ways, such as by not tracking individuals throughout their day and focusing tracking efforts on patient rooms. For example, workers aren't monitored when they go to the restroom.

Chicago-area health system Edward-Elmhurst Health and Methodist Hospital of Southern California in Arcadia are among the facilities that have used SwipeSense to track COVID-19 exposure.

Read the full report here


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