Click for our latest updates on COVID-19

Main Content

COVID-19 Screening Drives Technology Innovation at Craig

May 18, 2021

More than a year of living through a pandemic has meant a lot of distancing, but there are also some things that have brought us together.

Here at Craig, responding to COVID-19 required ingenuity and a huge amount of teamwork. From an interdepartmental Incident Command to new ideas for telehealth, Craig employees rose to the challenge and thought outside the box on how to deal with the pandemic.

An excellent example of this creativity and collaboration is a smartphone app that Craig’s Research Department spearheaded in 2020. Built to improve the flow of the new daily COVID-19 screening process, this app made check-in for Craig employees much easier and safer over the past year.

Dave Mellick, Director of Research Operations, noticed there was a lot of paperwork involved when employee screenings began. As it happened, he was working on a data collection project at the time for the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, so a lightbulb switched on in his head. Could a similar database be created to house all of this screening information in one accessible location?

Craig Hospital COVID screening app code snippet
A snippet of code from screening app

Dave brought this kernel of an idea back to the research team, and they quickly mobilized to create a desktop app that front desk screeners could use to capture the answers to screening questions every morning. This removed the reliance on paper and made life easier for the screeners, but the next problem to solve were the long check-in lines. Morning employee check-in lines could extend out the door, and with winter around the corner, something needed to change to speed up this process.

A phone using the QR code for the app.
A poster with the QR code for the app in the employee parking garage.

Faced with Challenge 2.0, the research team designed an individual smartphone app that all Craig employees could download onto their phones. This allowed them to answer the screening questions on their walk to the front door so all that was needed at the screening was a temperature check. Everyone could rest easy that the screening line would probably not extend out to snowy weather once November rolled around.

The research team was grateful for the opportunity to contribute to Craig’s COVID-19 pandemic response. “We all needed to have something positive we could do to help in the initial stages of the pandemic,” says lead architect Will Williams. “This project fit the bill!”

Screen grabs of three different steps within the app
Three steps in the screening process in the app

The impact of the project didn’t end there. The team, which also included Kayla Lawson, Wendy Beukelman and Renee Carey, additionally developed an ID badge check-in app and a new flu vaccination database. With the initial database framework now in place, there are still so many possibilities for what this project could morph into, making data collection and tracking easier for various departments at Craig.

The smartphone app is no longer needed since screening procedures have changed, but the project lives on as an example of interdepartmental collaboration, seeing the big picture and being nimble. To make the app come to life, Safety Management, Human Resources, Volunteer Services, Information Technology and Research all came together to create something that helped the entire hospital respond to an unprecedented moment in our history.

“This hits at the heart of Craig culture,” Dave shares. “When you see a problem, you find a solution. You don’t silo yourself with your knowledge.”