With the need for daily COVID screening of thousands of employees, patients and visitors across the state, Northern Light Health has created a tool to make the process quicker and easier for everyone.

Due to COVID, all those who enter a Northern Light Health facility must go through a screening process, which includes answering a series of questions and having temperatures taken. This is true of employees, patients, vendors, and visitors. The prescreening tool is a website that employees, patients, and visitors can open on a smartphone or other mobile device before coming to the hospital or clinical practice.

“This is an incredible resource, and we are excited to make it available to those entering our facilities,” said Greg LaFrancois, president of Northern Light AR Gould Hospital. “By using this tool, people save time at the screening stations, moving through more quickly to get to their appointments or person they are visiting. This also lets people answer screening questions in the privacy of their home or vehicle, without concern of others hearing their responses. Most importantly, it lets people know if there is a reason that they can’t be allowed in the facility, saving them a trip only to get turned away.”

Based on answers to two simple questions—one regarding symptoms and the other regarding potential exposure to someone with COVID—users of the prescreening tool will get a green or red result.

A green result means the person has already passed the screening questions and can head to the hospital or clinical practice. Upon arrival, after sanitizing their hands, they can show their green result at the check in point and move immediately to the final screening requirement of having their temperature taken.

A red result means the person should not come to the facility. While this does not mean the individual has COVID, it indicates they are at risk for having it. Those who get a red screen are asked to stay home and self-isolate. They can also call their primary care provider or the statewide COVID screening line (844-489-1822) to speak to someone about their results.

The site, created by the Northern Light Health Digital Services team, was rolled out in recent weeks to the more than 12,000 employees that work for the healthcare system. It has proved successful and is now being offered to patients and visitors. This public access was launched Friday, June 12 at AR Gould Hospital in Presque Isle and should be launched at other Northern Light Health sites in coming days.

“We have been able to help support the effort of our front-line staff in many ways throughout COVID-19. Often those are areas where we would not directly interact with patients as they are coming through the door of one of our facilities. This project allowed us that opportunity and we are excited to be able to do that,” said Craig Wyatt, director digital services for Northern Light Health.

LaFrancois credits the team with making this tool very simple and easy to use.

“We even have a QR code available on posters and cards that are being handed out when people visit us. This card has the website for those who want to type it in, or they can just scan the QR code with the camera on their smartphone to get direct access. Once they are on the site, they can easily add it to favorites or add it to their home screen to make it even easier to access the next time they visit us.”

All who enter Northern Light Health facilities are reminded that in addition to this screening process, they must wear a mask or face covering. Patients and visitors who do not have one with them will be provided one.

Next steps will include offering this service to businesses through Northern Light Work Health.

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