Northeastern University is a globally-recognized private institution of higher education and research located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts.
Ranking 5th nationally in providing career services, Northeastern University has provided experiential learning opportunities for its students in 148 countries, received over $180 million in external research awards in the year of 2020, and prides itself on 93% of graduates being employed full-time or enrolled in graduate school within nine months of graduation.
As thousands of universities around the world were forced into indefinite shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Northeastern University was faced with a serious question: how do we safely re-open campus?
Northeastern needed individuals to be able to safely and efficiently do a daily symptom and close-contact check, and needed the ability to use Contact Tracing in order to quickly identify potential exposure and compliance with COVID-19 testing protocols. All faculty, staff, and students in-person on the Boston campus would be required to perform a Daily Wellness Check and take a COVID-19 test on a regular basis. The university would be testing over 5,000 people per day, so the process must be quick and efficient.
The university enlisted GlideFast’s help to collect and automatically sort responses into three separate groups: (1) individuals exhibiting no symptoms who had never been in contact with someone positive for COVID-19, (2) individuals who had been in contact with someone positive for COVID-19 and (3) individuals exhibiting viral symptoms.
Northeastern was already using the ServiceNow ITSM and PPM integrations, and worked with GlideFast Consulting to implement and modify those applications in order to solve this time-sensitive matter in response to the global pandemic.
The GlideFast Consulting
GlideFast Consulting proposed that Northeastern utilize ServiceNow's Employee Health Screening and Contact Tracing applications to track daily wellness reports and manage the care of on-campus members. Additionally, integrations with a third-party Test Scheduling application would allow for users to view details held in the Test Scheduler on the Now Platform.
The GlideFast team was able to build integrations and modify applications to put a process into action for Northeastern’s return-to-campus:
1. Schedule a COVID-19 test
2. Take a Daily Wellness Check
3. Show up to be tested and present the QR code from the Daily Wellness Check
4. Repeat the process.
An important part of making testing simple and efficient for individuals would be a central hub for all relative information. The Wellness Portal is a portal within ServiceNow with links to other resources, including those outside of ServiceNow, where an individual could perform a Daily Wellness Check, schedule a COVID-19 test, and even see live test results across campus.
Daily Wellness Check
Using a modified version of the Employee Health Screening application in ServiceNow, GlideFast was able to create a Wellness Check-In form that allowed for segmented responses. Individuals can submit a Daily Wellness Check to report whether they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
After submitting a response, users are then presented a Portal page with a configured Widget displaying a QR Code and other details based on their role at the university and their response to the Daily Wellness Check. Users who indicate they have symptoms or have come in close contact are given phone numbers to call to evaluate their situation and determine next steps. A REST Message is called from ServiceNow to the Test Scheduler, which returns the user’s scheduled test time (if they have one).
The QR Code is scanned at the Testing Center and used by the check-in application to validate that the individual (1) completed the Daily Wellness Check today, (2) reported no symptoms or close contact, and (3) has a test scheduled within a specified variance of the current time.
Northeastern’s in-house contact tracing team was already using the out-of-box Contact Tracing application to both locate and care for symptomatic individuals on campus. GlideFast added custom fields to support Northeastern’s business process and help them to manage the care of individuals.
With Contact Tracing, positive tests are quickly identified since testing is occurring in-house. A Contact Tracing Case is then created in ServiceNow, and the Contact Tracing team speaks to the individual, gathering information including any close contacts. Close contacts are interviewed to determine if they should quarantine, as well as receive a COVID-19 test outside of their regular cadence.
In addition to typical contact tracing, Northeastern is providing students access to housing while in isolation/quarantine. The Wellness Team uses the Contact Tracing application to manage these individuals and to provide essential services such as meal delivery.
Finally, GlideFast built is a scoped application to track testing compliance. The Test Scheduler identifies individuals who have missed their scheduled test and sends a nightly data report to ServiceNow. A Compliance Case is then created, and the case is assigned based on the individual’s role (e.g., Faculty, Staff, Student). Once back in compliance, the Test Scheduler identifies the individual is back in compliance and sends a closure code to ServiceNow.
In just two short weeks, a very short timeline for a project of this scale, GlideFast was able to help Northeastern University deploy the necessary applications to have faculty, staff, and students return to campus in the safest manner possible. Northeastern was able to re-open with the ServiceNow applications serving as a critical component in their monitoring and mitigation of COVID-19.
With GlideFast’s solutions, Northeastern University was able to perform more than 5,000 tests per day and succeeded where other universities failed by creating a blueprint for how to protect individuals during a global pandemic. GlideFast now assists with continual iterative development on an ongoing basis.
COVID-19 tests per day
Wellness Checks per day
Wellness Checks completed on platform
QR code screen accesses
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