In anticipation of the phased reopening of America, Truework is building a tracking tool that it says will let employers determine which employees can safely return to work, and when, by verifying employees’ COVID-19 health status.

The certification tool, announced last week, is a first, according to the company’s CEO Ryan Sandler, and will be a piece of the puzzle to help companies reboot after lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will be free to both employers and employees, he said.

“In order to get America back to work, employers across the country are going to need to verify the COVID-19 health status of each employee, and that status will need to be reported to employers in a secure way,” Sandler said in the announcement.

“We are first to build a COVID-19 management or tracking tool for HR teams specifically,” Sandler said in response to an email follow-up question. “There are other software players who are building general tools to help with COVID, but this is the first verification or any tool built just for HR teams.”

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Truework was founded in 2017 and provides a platform for employment and income verification that it said puts consumers in control of their data. The Sequoia Capital-backed company said it digitizes the verification process for HR departments, banks, and others, to make it faster and more secure for employees to get verified when applying to transactions like loans, jobs, and apartment rentals.

Truework said it started a few weeks ago to build the new tool. “With our existing product, data consent model, and security infrastructure, we are perfectly suited for this use case, enabling us to bring a product to market very quickly,” Sandler stated. “We’re excited to do what we can to help Americans get back to work.”

In an email, Sandler said when customers onboard to the new COVID-19 product, they will have the option to sign up for the employment verification tool, but are not required to and can still use the COVID-19 tool standalone if they would like.

“Our employment verification product is free for small businesses, and we charge enterprises for premium/extra features,” he said.

Bite Squad, a food delivery service, said in the Truework announcement that it would welcome the new COVID-19 tool as it would “get all of our employees back to work in a safe, controlled manner. We want to ensure that our employees are safe as well as our customers who we serve.”

However, Truework described the complexity of matching the necessary health data—such as laboratory test results and contact tracing apps—with the various human resources information systems (HRIS) “all while getting the explicit consent from the employee for this sensitive data.” The company said it is integrated with more than 20 HRIS platforms.

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In a blog post, Sandler wrote about the challenges with privacy and security, flexibility for multiple inputs, and connectivity with HR software. “Truework’s consent-based verification platform, which has ISO 27001 and SOC 2 security certifications, is designed to handle extremely sensitive data with the explicit consent of each employee,” Sandler wrote.

With consent, he wrote, Truework’s platform can combine various inputs to verify sensitive data and limit access to employees and designated admins.

While acknowledging that the company was not an expert in healthcare, Sandler said, “we are data and privacy experts.” When the product goes live, Truework customers will see a new tab on their dashboards called Health.

“Here, HR admins can view a list of their active employees, the most recent COVID-19 health status for each employee, and the date the record was last updated,” Sandler wrote. “Admins can view more details about each employee’s COVID-19 history (such as a list of test results over time), and can click to verify or re-verify an employee’s status.”

As it builds the tool, the company will be working with government agencies and companies across a multitude of industries, including HRIS systems, contact tracing platforms, and lab testing companies, Sandler said.

He added if the new tool is proved successful, Truework plans to extend the product to all employers nationwide.

Truework’s new Health tab on its dashboard.
Image: Truework