June 29, 2020
INDIANAPOLIS – Return-to-work plans are riddled with the same uncertainty as the virus itself; hc1 founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brad Bostic says employers are “feeling overwhelmed” as they struggle to track ever-changing pandemic mandates, monitor employees’ health and continue their own business operations. hc1 says its cloud-based technology that has been “transforming lab data into personalized healthcare insights” for nearly a decade is the framework that enabled the bioinformatics company to launch a “hard sprint” and build a tool centered on returning to work amid a pandemic.
Founded in 2011, hc1 says its main platform organizes volumes of live data, including lab results, genomics, and medications to enable precision testing and prescribing; in other words, to ensure “the right person is getting the right diagnostic test and the right prescription,” says Bostic.
“We’re really the best in the world at that. We’ve brought into our cloud platform more than 21 billion lab results,” says Bostic. “More than half of all the lab data in the country flows into the hc1 platform in real time on a daily basis.”
Bostic says that backbone allowed hc1 to launch its new technology, Workforce Advisor, in just four weeks. The tool combines test results from more than 20,000 labs, and the company’s Local Risk Index, into a dashboard to give employers insight about safely returning employees to the workplace.
“Employers are really struggling with all of these guidelines they’re hearing from the federal government, the states, local governments and public health departments; they’re really feeling overwhelmed,” says Bostic. “This is information [employers] have never had to manage or even think about before. It’s a very complex scenario; then, layer on all of these privacy considerations, where you have to be a privacy and HIPAA expert.”
hc1 says Workforce Advisor gives employers visibility into a wide range of factors that are now part of return-to-work decisions: how and when to screen employees for symptoms, how to capture and manage that information to identify employees at higher risk, how to handle testing—and the list goes on.
“Should every [employee] get the virus test? Should everybody get the antibody test?” says Bostic. “How do you zero-in on locations and follow local guidelines systematically, so you’re keeping your employees safe as you get them back into the office?”
Analyzing data from various areas where an employer has locations is cumbersome, and Bostic says public data from health departments, for example, is typically two weeks old and inconsistently collected.
“Workforce Advisor runs on our same platform that’s bringing in over half of all the lab tests in the country in real time,” say Bostic. “It securely takes that information and generates a Local Risk Index that, for an employer, is automatically associated with their workplace locations and the locations of where their employees reside. So the employer can make clear, informed decisions about which offices are safe for people to get back to work.”
hc1 says about a dozen employers have signed-on to Workforce Advisor, covering about 100,000 employees. Its smallest client has about 3,000 employees and its largest has 50,000 workers throughout the U.S. The company recently inked a deal with the State of Arizona and Sonora Quest Laboratories, the largest lab testing company in Arizona; Workforce Advisor will be used at all long-term care and assisted living facilities in the state for both residents and employees. Closer to home, hc1 is partnering with Eli Lilly and Company to analyze COVID-19 testing information, specifically looking at infections among healthcare first responders.
“The state of Indiana hasn’t really engaged with us much,” says Bostic. “We’ve reached out and made [the State] aware that we’re the largest company of our kind, and we have more lab data and insight than anyone else in the country. States like Arizona are going all-in on hc1, and our own local state really hasn’t engaged. Candidly, it’s a strange twist. Maybe it’s hard to believe someone right around the corner is the biggest bioinformatics company for precision testing and can provide these capabilities.”
More than 300 employers are in hc1’s backlog, says Bostic, and the federal government is also interested.
“It will end up being hundreds of employers that are on the Workforce Advisor platform. This is what the world needs right now; it really is the thing that can help restart economies in the most effective manner that we’ve seen,” says Bostic. “None of us wanted a pandemic to occur; what a tragic situation. Given that we’re in that situation, it’s very fulfilling to be able to truly help.”