Ashish Anand speaks with the two tech experts about the challenges facing schools, organizations and the public with Covid-19, and how tech innovations like Clear360 can help bridge the gap between public health and innovation. Listen and learn how Clear360’s mobile app can support behavioural change, key to getting back to work, school and life, safely. Ashish is interviewed on the October 4th program, “Implementing Public Health Policy Using An App” – listen to his interview with Mike Agerbo, below:
Here is a full transcript of the interview, featuring host Mike Agerbo and Ashish:
Mike Agerbo (MA): Well I know a lot of people have anxiety about kids going back to school, and a lot of people still have anxiety about even getting back into the workspace I know with our company, we’re slowly reintroducing people into this brand new shiny office space that we just took possession of just at the start of the lockdown. But there are tools out there and we want to talk today about one of them it’s something called Clear360 from a company here in Canada, Vancouver, on the line we’ve got Ashish Anand. He is the man behind the Clear360 platform. Thanks for joining us.
Ashish Anand (AA): Thanks for having me guys.
MA: Give our listeners a kind of a breakdown of this platform Clear360, and how you feel it could help schools and universities.
AA: Sure. So we developed Clear360 primarily to help organizations, implement the health guidelines that are coming out of public health. That’s one of the biggest challenges they have, so put yourself in the situation of a school administrator or principal district administrator for schools, or even someone who’s overseeing the health and safety of students within the context of university or company. One of the biggest challenges you have is keeping everyone healthy and safe. Easier said than done during a pandemic. There’s a lot of guidelines, they change time to time, the way they have to be implemented by industry changes. So it’s a really tall order to stay on top of what the guidelines are, to implement them without any kins of system or tools and get the kind of compliance and transparency that you need. So we’ve developed a solution that helps organizations deploy a system that keeps them automatically in compliance, that adapts to the guidelines as they change, it gets kind of the behavioral responses that they need from their constituents, with the end goal of keeping everyone safe and doing the things they need to do to, to keep themselves and people around them safe, whether it’s at home, or within school or work environment.
MA: How does this work in a school then?
I would just say it has various components, but the simplest way to think about it is it’s a it’s a mobile app that is deployed in a school environment, it’s very, very easy to provision for an administrator. We have iOS and Android apps that can be downloaded, you sign up with your school ID, and once you’re signed in, it reminds you to do a daily health check in every morning, the school can decide what time that needs to be. Everyone in the school whether you’re a teacher, staff, or a student or even a parent in the cases of young children they can delegate, they can check in on behalf of children. And there’s a reminder that pops up every morning and it asks for basic questions. How are you feeling? Do you have any symptoms? Have you traveled? Have you had exposure to someone? Have you tested positive? Kind of the standard screening questions that are required by public health, and the answers to those questions, based on that they either get cleared. That’s what the name [Clear360] comes from, from the products, or they don’t get cleared, again, based on the health guidelines and if they’re clear they essentially a pre-arrival clearance. So they arrive in school, they can just flash their phone, or there’s a QR code that can be scanned at the door to make sure they have been cleared, and the school administrator knows that everyone coming in is symptom free, they still may be carrying the virus, we don’t want to give the impression that they’re not there are people that are asymptomatic. But for those that aren’t doing most of the spreading are symptomatic because the latest research we have so those people are kept home for the time period that public health wants. So that’s basically the fundamental premise, but we do a lot more than that but that’s essentially how it gets used.
MA: So just so I get this straight. If a school wanted to roll this out, everyone has to have access to this app. So teachers, principals, janitors anyone working in the school and the parents and students and of course if the students are too young. The parents would be answering as half of them, and so would you even check the parents health as well.
AA: So we have the option of of the parents checking in for the students, but we haven’t extended it to family members of the students. That’s not again, what we’re trying to do. Like I said earlier, is we’re trying to implement public health guidelines and that is not a requirement so public health says, you know, you have to admit, or, or provide information about the health of other people you’re living with, then our app would automatically adapt and ask those questions but that’s not the case today. And who do you want using it? I think you want using it anyone that is actually planning to come into school so if you have students that are doing online schooling which I know has picked up quite a bit and a large number of people are doing that. They probably don’t need to there are benefits to them doing it because the some of the other things we do what we’re also trying to do in addition to helping organizations sort of deploy these or implement these policies is good visibility into people’s health, without violating their privacy. And so even knowing things like what symptoms people are having. Being able to be ready to respond in case of a crisis. So in the case of someone who tests positive to have a complete report in front of you knowing you know who do they interact with what locations where they hand what places need to be sanitized who needs to be notified who needs to be isolated. You know monitoring the symptoms of all of these individuals like creating a cohort making sure they get the support they need. All of this is really really complex we just, you know, no administrator was in a position to be responsible for this before so then no systems for this existed but trying to do this manually trying to do this for a few people or a few hundred or a few thousand gets really, really challenging so that’s really what we’re trying to do and that’s really where the problem also arises where things fall through the cracks and, you know, people are exposed in a situation where they really shouldn’t have been exposed.
MA: Are there any concerns about like some people would think this is like too far or no it’s an invasion of their privacy. Like, could the school actually mandate this without like a big uproar?
AA: That’s a great question. I think that varies. You know I’m not a big fan of getting my temperatures scanned when they go to the mall or into an office building. I’m not a fan of having to do a number of the things you know being stuck at home, or, you know, in some cases where businesses have to close I think there’s a lot of things that we’re doing in society that you know are just part of trying to manage, you know, manage our way through this as opposed to just becoming hermits and and trying to stay with kind of the way we used to do things. We’ve tried to as a company, we really, really care about people’s privacy we understand how how this can be perceived as a violation of personal privacy. So we’ve you know we anonymize it just as an example we do many, many things well one simple thing we do is we anonymize everyone in the system using a clear ID. So whenever they’re submitting their health data, no one at the school actually knows who’s submitting what all they know is there’s a number, and what their health condition is and that they weren’t cleared or not cleared. So we never actually associate the person’s identity with their health, and the only time we do that as if they test positive, so that they get the support they need that might be sickness hospitalization notifying next of kin, things like that. So that’s the only situation where someone actually gets identified. But so anyway we’re taking privacy seriously but yes, I don’t know about the mandating part that’s up to the schools to decide. But we don’t we don’t enforce like people can opt out they can contact us and have their data deleted if they want, not participate. It’s totally a personal decision and between them and the organization they’re part of.
MA: Have any schools opted into this yet or is it still very new?
AA: No, we actually just launched about a week and a half ago so we actually have deployed where we’re just in the middle of starting our first pilot as of last Wednesday, and so far so good, we’re deploying with a private school. We’re starting with private schools primarily because they’re, they’re not subject to all of the all the layers of administration above them and can make decisions faster, but we’re already starting to see how this works in the field, learning from it adapting to it. And so we have a number of others in the pipeline that we’ll be deploying in the next month or so. And same thing with post post secondary institutions and we’re also doing that for larger utilities in North America as well, where their enterprise software.
MA: We’ve been talking with Ashish and he is the man behind Darwin Labs who’ve come out with this.