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A new program designed to aid in proactively managing employees who test positive or may have been exposed to COVID-19 is available to organizations caring for kupuna. The Pacific Urban Resilience Lab (PURL) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has launched the program to help facilitate community-wide COVID-19 screening and management for employees of senior caregiving organizations. Interested senior-care organizations on Oʻahu may enroll in the program through November 30, 2020.

The program’s goals are to provide technology, management tools and training to organizations caring for Hawaiʻi’s kupuna and improve: rapid identification of COVID-19 exposures; communications between caregivers, employers and others; and support of contact tracing and risk management.

headshot of Karl Kim
Karl Kim

“COVID-19 will be with us for a long time and there will be other disease outbreaks in the future,” said Karl Kim, executive director of PURL and professor of urban and regional planning. “It is important that we as a community learn how technology and mobile apps can support preparedness and response to pandemics. We need to better understand what it takes to get people to use the technology. Our initial pilot has already led to improvements in the app for better usability with caregivers. With this expansion, we hope to share what we’ve learned with other senior care collaborators to expand the data and decision-making to protect our community.”

Senior care organizations participating in the program will receive:

  • Usage of the COVID Navigator mobile app and administrative portal at no cost for a minimum of six months.
  • Training and support resources on how to use the application and administrative portal.
  • Tools to help manage the complex tasks for compliance and risk management.
  • If a caregiver is an employee of more than one participating organization, participating organizations will be able to connect to all participating employers to make it easy for the employee to communicate daily screening results, any COVID-19 exposures and lab results in a timely manner to all authorized employers.

For this program, PURL has partnered with COVID Navigator, one of the premier COVID-19 screening mobile apps created by two established national health software organizations with Hawaiʻi roots—iHealthHome, Inc. and MediKeeper, Inc. COVID Navigator has been pilot tested since July 2020 with several hundred caregivers and is currently in use by local employers for thousands of employees in our community.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with PURL and their collaborators to help protect the elderly,” said Dew-Anne Langcaon, CEO of iHealthHome. “We’ve worked hard to make COVID Navigator easy for caregivers to complete daily screenings in less than a minute, report lab results to their multiple employers and streamline the process of tracing and managing possible exposures so as to minimize the spread of COVID amongst our vulnerable seniors in the community.”

Any organization serving seniors on the island of Oʻahu is eligible to participate and can learn more at the iHealthHome website.

PURL has received $35,000 in support under the CARES Act to facilitate this effort.

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