Last March, the COVID-19 pandemic stopped the world in its tracks, spreading at an alarming rate, pushing hospitals to capacity, and forcing everyone to stay home for an extended period of time. If you went out to get groceries or such, you had to mask up and scrub down when you got home. It was honestly a pretty scary time, and the whole situation left many wondering if this was going to become the new normal. Thankfully, we had the brightest minds in the world working on a vaccine.
The speed at which Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson developed the COVID-19 vaccines has been touted by many as a medical miracle, but while the amazing advances in vaccine development were widely publicized, a small tech startup was also born out of the pandemic and shifted how medical data is stored and shared.
Odds are you’ve never heard of Wade Erickson, Dennis Spencer, or Capstone Family Medicine, but there is a chance you have already or will in the future interact with the software that Capstone developed, COVIDSecure.
As the first waves of the Coronavirus were spreading around the globe, Dr. Erickson’s team, led by CEO Dennis Spencer and the team at Capstone wanted to create a tool that would allow them to keep their employees working so they could serve the over 30,000 patients that count on Capstone for medical care.
Drawing on his military background working in field hospitals as a combat medic with four tours of duty in the Middle East, Dennis Spencer and team set up an emergency clean room to conduct COVID testing, and the concept was replicated at locations across Alaska. Alaska is more than twice the size of Texas, so this was no small task.
Eventually, Capstone would build out mobile testing facilities that could be deployed at any of the Capstone Clinics across Alaska. Not long after the State of Alaska asked if Capstone could provide onsite testing at Bristol Bay, home to the largest sockeye (red) salmon run in the world. The region relies on revenue made during the commercial fishing season and needed a solution to keep the industry fully functional, from catch to processing. that would keep the bay open for business. Capstone was able to deploy and mobilize remote testing centers in the sparsely populated region which sees a boom of seasonal workers.
While responding to the crisis on the ground, it became very clear that tracking and verifying COVID stats would need to be streamlined if Alaska and the US hoped to reopen the economy and ease travel restrictions.
Working with a local app developer, COVIDSecure was developed with the feedback of the clinicians on the frontlines of the pandemic. The result, a streamlined application that allows medical staff to manage data at scale with ease, while the end-user simply needs to download the application and create an account.
COVIDSecure was quickly adopted by government agencies and employers to keep their staff safe and businesses open, from statewide airports to local police departments and school districts. Users would simply visit the testing center and their testing status would appear on their app home screen. The application also can host a patient’s immunization record post vaccination. The application worked so well that the State of Hawaii approved COVIDSecure to be their only Alaskan-owned COVID screening partner for all incoming flights from Alaska.
While many applications have been developed since the start of the pandemic, COVIDSecure was the only one that was developed with frontline workers. Its genesis came long before the competition seen today across the Internet. The app’s success, ease of use, and adaptability have taken Capstone from a regional medical practice to a national medical technology company supporting COVID-friendly operations that has developed specialty applications for various clients in the private and public sectors.
The platform’s flexibility means that we could see versions of COVIDSecure being used for international travel vaccination records, high-risk workplace health monitoring, and most importantly giving patients better access to their medical records. Heavy hitters like Disney, HBO, ConocoPhillips, Netflix, and Halliburton are examples of COVIDSecure large-scale clientele.
As countries nations are opening their borders, many are requiring proof of vaccination, and suddenly there is a race to develop an effective digital way to sharing vaccination or testing data. This is where COVIDSecure has a major advantage, having since it has proved itself at the state and local level. While other developers are just coming to market with their solution, COVIDSecure has a track record of success, making it the unheard-of tech company to watch over the summer and fall of 2021.
Some people have strong feelings over proposed vaccine passport ideas, but as someone who travels quite a bit, I know I’d feel much safer being in a plane if everyone around me has proof that they’re vaccinated as well. And software like this will help streamline that process.