A Framework for Evaluating Approaches to Symptom Screening in the Workplace During the COVID-19 Pandemic

by Courtney A. Gidengil, Shira H. Fischer, Nicholas Broten

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The authors of this Perspective assess five approaches to screening for symptoms of COVID-19 at the workplace: no screening, verbal screening, screening using a paper form or app, verbal screening plus a temperature check at the workplace, and screening using a paper form or app plus a temperature check at the workplace. (For all the approaches, it is assumed that organization will ask employees to self-monitor for symptoms at home.) The authors rate each approach on five criteria: likelihood of detecting infection, helping employees feel safer, safety of the screening interaction, feasibility, and privacy.

The authors assess temperature checks at the workplace as difficult to implement and most problematic in terms of employee privacy, and they find little evidence that this approach is more effective at detecting infection; however, they assess that temperature checks at the workplace may help employees feel safer.

Funding for this research was provided by gifts from RAND supporters and income from operations. The research was conducted by RAND Education and Labor, RAND Health Care, and RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.

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