Microsoft, UnitedHealth Offer Platform to Aid Return to Work


Microsoft and UnitedHealth Group launched a return-to-work protocol that’s designed to help employers bring their employees back on-site more safely.

Called ProtectWell, the protocol uses CDC guidelines and clinical research on limiting the spread of COVID-19 to guide the screening of employees for symptoms and setting  parameters for workplace safety. It combines UnitedHealth’s clinical and data capabilities with Microsoft technology, specifically Microsoft Azure and AI and analytics solutions. It also uses the Microsoft Healthcare Bot service.

.@Microsoft, UnitedHealthGrp launched a return-to-work protocol that’s designed to help employers bring their employees back on-site more safely. #HR #HRTech Share on X

A smartphone app allows employers to offer workers a screening tool for everyday use. The app includes a healthcare bot, which asks a series of questions to screen for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure. If risk of infection is indicated, organizations can direct their employees to a COVID-19 testing process that enables closed-loop reporting of test results directly back to employers.   

In addition, ProtectWell includes guidelines and resources to promote a safe work environment, including physical distancing, personal hygiene and sanitation. If they wish, employers can  choose additional custom content specific to their workforce.

Return to Work Security

UnitedHealth has implemented ProtectWell with its own front-line health care workers, and is in process of rolling out the tool across all of its businesses. Microsoft said it will deploy the service to its U.S.-based employees.

ProtectWell is available to U.S. employers at no charge, through UnitedHealth.

In terms of data security, UnitedHealth said it will maintain control over protected healthcare data and manage the opt-in and consent requirements needed from app users. Microsoft won’t access to identifiable information shared via app. De-identified workforce health trends and analytics information will be available to employers and policymakers.

Employees have expressed concern about their personal safety as some states ease up on stay-at-home restrictions and some political leaders push businesses to reopen. A recent study by Qualtrics found that the majority of workers aren’t comfortable with the idea of returning to workplace right now.

Some 66 percent of workers aren’t comfortable with the notion of returning to work, the study found. Nearly as many, about 63 percent, want to hear assurances from public health organizations like the CDC or World Health Organization before they go back on-site.

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Image: UnitedHealth Group

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