It was a late Thursday night in April. COVID-19 was sidelining health care workers throughout New York, and the state needed a way to rapidly deploy antibody testing to clear people to go back to work on the front lines. Knowing we had the expertise to make a meaningful contribution, our technology team volunteered to work for the New York State Department of Health as part of a COVID-19 SWAT team.
The challenge: It was a system that needed to go live and be in use by hospitals and medical centers throughout New York in less than a week. Our experts did not hesitate to sign up. Not only were they honored to jump in, they were especially motivated to have a hand in helping save lives. They spent the next four days on early morning phone calls, afternoon coding sessions and followup meetings that went deep into the night.
We asked the lead partner of the project, Carmel Wynkoop, what it meant for her to be able to participate in a program like this. She said she and the firm were honored to be considered for such an important job. It’s not often that accounting firms get to volunteer to use their skills in a health crisis.
We also talked with Ron Larsen, lead programmer on the project. He said he and his team had worked on big projects with tight turnaround times before, but never had he been involved with a project where the stakes were as high. His team jumped in without hesitation and used each other’s strengths; there was no time for anything but pure collaboration in the truest sense of the word.
A Complex Design Creates a Simple Solution
New York had been the hardest hit state in the country, with more active COVID-19 cases and deaths than anywhere else. Doctors, nurses and first responders were already stretched thin by the volume of patients — so every available staffer counted. Antibody testing helps clear sidelined workers to get back into the field to save lives.
Our team used a proven platform to design an app that was both complex in design and capability and easy to use. Here’s how it works: The New York State Department of Health loads a group of people who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 into the app. Then, they invite qualified individuals to the portal to complete additional information that would approve them to schedule a follow-up antibody test.
After an appointment is scheduled through the app, the individual goes to a testing site and has blood drawn. The blood sample is labeled with the individual’s unique ID and scanned via barcode using the app. The sample is sent to the lab, where the barcode is once again scanned to update the worker’s status on the app. Once the test is complete, the individual is notified and can visit the portal to see their results. Workers who are cleared can use the verification to return to work to care for patients in need.
Our team felt a great accomplishment in being able to contribute to this project that impacted so many lives.
To learn about the New York COVID-19 Technology SWAT team’s progress, please visit: