Is it Safe to Return to the Office? Employers Empowered During Covid with Data from Custom Reporting Engine to Keep Employees Safe
As the number of Coronavirus cases reach record numbers in the United States and with states being at various stages of reopening, employers and businesses everywhere are making tough decisions on whether to reopen workplaces, and if so, when?
With 50% of Americans afraid to return to the office, employers need to make sure they’re making informed decisions that align with local policies and mandates.
Our client, a San Diego-based health tech company, has transformed their solution to help employers understand the health and wellness of their employees to focus on employee health during Coronavirus.
Originally, our customer had a vision to start a pilot to send test kits to employees to measure several factors of their health and then recommend the best fit employee wellness programs for that company. You can read more about the original project here.
Now, the reporting engine and dashboard used to inform employers about their employees’ health can also be used to aggregate test results from newly offered Covid blood test kits.
Let’s say you’re an employer that has offices in multiple locations or a large office with several departments. With a few clicks, you can regularly schedule test kits to be sent to specific groups of people, get all of their results in an aggregated HIPAA-compliant dashboard, and make data driven decisions on how to best keep your employees safe. Know where it's safe to open offices while giving your employees peace of mind.
On top of that, you can still send general wellness test kits that help you and individual employees understand their health and give recommendations during this stressful time! Read on to discover how we were able to integrate this robust reporting engine.
Corporate Wellness Reporting Lifecycle
Our work focused on building a corporate website that aggregated reports from individual health test results so companies could advise on the best wellness program for their employees. However, before proceeding, it’s helpful to understand a few key features about the proposed wellness reporting lifecycle. Here’s an overview of that process:
Employees take a home health test, send it off to a lab, and obtain the results directly via an individual dashboard. This is in keeping with HIPAA compliance.
If the system flags any health concerns, it will suggest an intervention program to follow (e.g., high cholesterol).
The individual health test data is then aggregated on the client’s corporate website and automatically turned into a series of consolidated reports. FDA approval was not required in this case since no patient IDs were involved; the samples were considered “donor” samples.
Companies can then login and view reports for their employees in order to make informed, data-driven decisions about the best workplace wellness program to offer.
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The Integration Challenge
From the outset of the project, our engineering team faced a number of business and technical challenges, including how to integrate the new corporate reporting website with two additional websites. One was an internal website, which manages the home health kit testing. The second was an external website belonging to a third-party partner that administers corporate wellness programs.
Our primary goals were to gain the client’s trust and demonstrate our one-team mentality. Through a rigorous process of onsite discussions, narrowing the business focus, building the software requirements, integrating data, and customized coding, we succeeded and successfully delivered the reporting platform on time and budget.
Here’s a summary of the corporate reporting workflow, which illustrates the multiple ways the different systems communicated to ensure the reporting engine worked properly.
- Third-party wellness administrator places the employees CSV on the FTP, to be imported into the health test site database. The file format is CSV encrypted with OpenPGP.
- Corporate website synchronizes the newly saved users from health test site database.
- Corporate website sends the new saved test order into health test site database.
- Corporate website is synchronized with the newly saved test and questionnaire results from health test site database.
- Corporate website exports test and questionnaire reports daily to a third-party wellness site through the FTP folder.
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Reporting Engine: Structure & Maintainability
We developed a corporate website providing a series of 37 customized employer reports that recommend the best match health and wellness plan for their employees. The initial estimate was that each report would take 16 hours of manual effort, or a total of 592 hours. However, our automated reporting engine reduced that number by 500 hours – and a fraction of the time for each report. This quality shortcut allowed our customer to quickly adapt the reporting platform to incorporate aggregate data from Covid blood tests. In a few short hours, employers across the country could have access to their employees' wellness status.
How It Works
The report will aggregate results by matching specimen (or test) IDs with a companyID for a particular category of test kits. For example, those individuals that have submitted stress and sleep test kits will be aggregated together to show the number of employees with cortisol (‘stress’) levels in the high or low range. This information will be used to determine which groups are experiencing high amounts of stress at work and discovering which corporate health and wellness programs are best suited for them.
The reporting portal was built with C# using a Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework, and Microsoft SQL server and MySQL for the databases.
The requested reporting tool was ChartJS, an open source HTML5 charting framework. Our team ran into some initial challenges with this tool and were unable to implement a lot of the desired features. However, our engineers innovatively coded on top of the ChartJS stock libraries to boost the functionality and provide the aggregated reports they needed.
The reporting portal was designed from the beginning with a strong focus on maintainability. It had to work and work well at all times. To illustrate, after the portal was deployed, the client needed three new reports. Our team designed it with reusable components. Instead of writing new code, this meant that any adjustment simply required adding a row in the database to create the report name and link it to the desired subjects.
Reporting Engine Benefits & Outcomes
The reporting engine that we built illustrates a number of tangible ways companies can more effectively improve employee wellness.
Employee Wellness Made Easy
Healthy Work Life Balance
Our client had a vision: make it easier for employees to find corporate wellness plans that match their unique health needs. By translating our client’s complex business requirement into technical specifications, we were able to access and leverage important health data. This gives companies access to accurate and precise measurements that make it easier to detect employee health risks and recommend new lifestyle choices.
By using the latest technologies to automate the consolidation of employee health reports, we were able to help our client save significant amounts of time. Rather than building each corporate report individually, we freed up our client for more meaningful and innovative work. Since time is money, this translates into significant cost savings over the long run.
There’s an increasing push today for individuals to take ownership of their health management. But that doesn’t stop when your work day begins. Gaining firsthand customized insights into employee health can help early detection of serious medical issues, and more timely recommendations for healthy lifestyle choices. This information can help employees live a more holistic, fulfilling life while saving their company significant amounts of money in lost productivity.
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We’ve shared the story of the corporate wellness reporting engine we built for our health tech client, the project lifecycle and underlying structure and technologies, and the benefits and insights we learned along the way. The full case study can also be found here. Thanks to the program’s success, plans are now in place to launch this initiative for three companies as a proof of concept (PoC) to gather more feedback.
Are you a small business looking to solve a difficult business and technical challenge? We can certainly help. We are a passionate and committed group of engineers who continually look for new opportunities to build elegant software. Contact us today to learn how we can partner with you!