UH seeks senior care organizations to use tech, slow COVID-19

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Lisa M Shirota, (808) 956-7352
Communications Director, Social Sciences, Dean's Office
Posted: Nov 13, 2020

Karl Kim, executive director of PURL
Karl Kim, executive director of PURL

A new program designed to aid in proactively managing employees who test positive or may have been exposed to COVID-19 is available to organizations caring for kupuna. The Pacific Urban Resilience Lab (PURL) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has launched the program to help facilitate community-wide COVID-19 screening and management for employees of senior caregiving organizations. Interested senior-care organizations on Oʻahu may enroll in the program through November 30, 2020.

The program’s goals are to provide technology, management tools and training to organizations caring for Hawaiʻi’s kupuna and improve: rapid identification of COVID-19 exposures; communications between caregivers, employers and others; and support of contact tracing and risk management.

“COVID-19 will be with us for a long time and there will be other disease outbreaks in the future,” said Karl Kim, executive director of PURL and professor of urban and regional planning. “It is important that we as a community learn how technology and mobile apps can support preparedness and response to pandemics. We need to better understand what it takes to get people to use the technology. Our initial pilot has already led to improvements in the app for better usability with caregivers. With this expansion, we hope to share what we’ve learned with other senior care collaborators to expand the data and decision-making to protect our community.”

Senior care organizations participating in the program will receive:

  • Usage of the COVID Navigator mobile app and administrative portal at no cost for a minimum of six months.
  • Training and support resources on how to use the application and administrative portal.
  • Tools to help manage the complex tasks for compliance and risk management.
  • If a caregiver is an employee of more than one participating organization, participating organizations will be able to connect to all participating employers to make it easy for the employee to communicate daily screening results, any COVID-19 exposures and lab results in a timely manner to all authorized employers.

For this program, PURL has partnered with COVID Navigator, one of the premier COVID-19 screening mobile apps created by two established national health software organizations with Hawaiʻi roots—iHealthHome, Inc. and MediKeeper, Inc. COVID Navigator has been pilot tested since July 2020 with several hundred caregivers and is currently in use by local employers for thousands of employees in our community.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with PURL and their collaborators to help protect the elderly,” said Dew-Anne Langcaon, CEO of iHealthHome. “We’ve worked hard to make COVID Navigator easy for caregivers to complete daily screenings in less than a minute, report lab results to their multiple employers and streamline the process of tracing and managing possible exposures so as to minimize the spread of COVID amongst our vulnerable seniors in the community.”

Any organization serving seniors on the island of Oʻahu is eligible to participate and can learn more at the iHealthHome website.

PURL has received $35,000 in support under the CARES Act to facilitate this effort.

About Pacific Urban Resilience Lab:

The Pacific Urban Resilience Lab (PURL) is housed in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, with the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. PURL is a research and development lab that conducts research and provides analytical support services in support of community engagement, academic teaching, training and capacity building relevant to safety and security, environmental management, transportation and logistics and community planning. 

About iHealthHome:

iHealthHome is a leading provider of care management and home care cloud-based software for senior care providers. iHealthHome was co-founded by Dew-Anne Langcaon and Bonnie Castonguay in Honolulu, HI, with the mission of leveraging technology and automation to help seniors navigate the complicated system and age at home affordably. The platform is a suite of software tools including an electronic record, secure mobile collaboration apps and in-home telehealth technologies for the coordination of the virtual village of people needed to keep a senior safe and healthy at home. 

About MediKeeper:

MediKeeper, Inc. is the leader in customizable wellness platforms for health plans, brokers, TPA’s, wellness companies and employers. Highly configurable and white-labeled, the MediKeeper platform can be implemented very quickly (days rather than months) and can be integrated with other third-party wellness tools. With over nine million users across more than 70,000 organizations, the MediKeeper wellness platform can support any organization from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.