Last week, Microsoft, together with Toronto-based not-for-profit initiative Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) Rapid Screening Consortium (RSC), introduced a new offering that enables employers to provide rapid COVID-19 antigen screens for employees before they enter the workspace. The offering also includes the option to screen from home. 

“Setting up a workplace rapid screening program can take as little as a week, or up to four weeks, depending on the size of the organization, the data solution used, training, and any other resources required,” Amarpreet Kaur, CDL’s associate director, told ITBusiness.ca 

The consortium has a simple onboarding process for any organization in Canada to deploy a rapid screening program in their workplace. The solution is sector-agnostic and easily translates to organizations of all sizes. As part of CDL RSC participation, organizations receive onboarding support, virtual help desk and communication tools, and technical support for screening data intake, and more said Kaur.

As a preferred enterprise solution provider for the CDL RSC, Microsoft developed the solution using Azure and Power Platform. Being able to produce a result in just 15 minutes, Microsoft says the rapid screening method can help reduce the risks in a shared work environment and offer a cost-effective system to help drive economic recovery as governments across the country lift lockdowns.

For organizations providing the home-screening option, the solution allows employees to self-screen and report their data through their own personal employee app. The home-screening solution is already being used in Canadian organizations, including Air Canada.

For organizations choosing on-site screening, there is a secondary screening app for the health and safety officers conducting screenings that communicates with the employee app to schedule, administer and record screens. These two apps feed into a secure centralized data hub, called Dataverse. Based on that data, employers will gain important insights with Microsoft’s business analytics service Power BI, such as local site or organization-level information on outbreaks, the efficacy of the screens and adoption of their program.

Set up in August 2020, Kaur says the consortium now has more than 350 organizations in its pipeline of organizations interested in setting up the workplace rapid screening program. 

The CDL Rapid Screening Consortium has been an unprecedented collaboration among businesses, researchers and government working together for the common good. Rapid screening has increased confidence among workers as an extra layer of protection for employees against COVID-19 exposure. They are safer at work and less likely to bring the virus home with them,” said Janice Stein, founding director, Munk School of Global Affairs and Policy, and a member of the CDL RSC Steering Committee, in a Microsoft blog post.

With over 115 operational screening sites now operational in Canada and around 70 additional planned sites as of May 2021, the consortium says it aims to establish a robust rapid screening system paired with an operational implementation strategy for Canadians and the rest of the world. 

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