by Jeremy VanderKnyff, PhD

The U.S. is reopening for business. This is good news: a symbol of hope and restoration for our neighbors who have been without income and the businesses hit hard by the economic decline. But without proper plans to prevent localized outbreaks of the disease within workplaces and the community, reopening threatens to make the social hardships and economic devastation of the past few weeks all for naught. Revised models from epidemiologists are predicting COVID-19 could yet run rampant through communities that have so far been spared the worst, and businesses that just reopened may find themselves closed once again and possibly unable to recover. 

Screenshot of output from an ARCnet simulation showing virus transmission through a worksite operating without protections

Businesses are grappling with the question of how to reopen safely, and we’ve heard from dozens of very different employers—food processing plants, school districts, pharmaceutical companies, and technology companies—with very different worksites and needs. Despite their differences, each of these employers wants the same two things: to get their people back to work quickly and to help them stay at work safely. 

While a number of companies have emerged with “back to work” plans, these plans typically include little more than antibody testing (which does not protect workers, but rather indicates those who may have protection from previous exposure), temperature screening (which only detects a symptomatic carrier days after he or she has already shed the virus to others), and basic hygiene and PPE. These plans are one-size-fits-all, despite the vast differences in the population health, physical environments, and operational requirements of employers— factors which all impact both an employer’s risk/benefit calculations and the ability to deploy different COVID-19 mitigation strategies in the workplace. 

 Proactive MD’s Health Data Science, Value and Validation team has developed a unique business intelligence tool—ARCnet—that our back-to-work implementation experts are using to create effective, custom solutions for every employer—no matter their size or industry. The tool, based on up-to-date epidemiological and virology research, enables us to model an employer’s population and worksite during the COVID-19 pandemic to (safely) predict and observe how the virus might move through the workplace. We are actually able to simulate thousands of scenarios based on an employer’s unique profile and help them select the set of strategies best suited to meet their goals. 

Screenshot of from an ARCnet simulation showing virus transmission in a workplace employing custom strategies to limit exposure within the workplace

Each employer has unique needs to sustain their operation, reduce unpredictability, and keep their employees safe. We enter these parameters and create targets that the employer’s solution needs to hit. Using claims data to create a risk profile, and with key data points captured during a comprehensive back-to-work site assessment by our consultants, we can then use ARCnet to simulate the effects of different strategies within five pillars shown to be effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19: Social Distancing, Testing, Contact Tracing, Isolation, and Treatment. By identifying the right strategies for that employer, we can scientifically create fully custom solutions for the employer to help them achieve their economic and moral responsibilities to their employees and customers.  

“Good enough” is never good enough for Proactive MD, and solutions that rely solely on testing and temperature screening will not be nearly as effective for our clients and patients as a customized, evidence-based strategy. By leveraging ARCnet and its advanced predictive analytics, we can help our clients get back to work and keep our patients safe on the job in the midst of a global pandemic.