COVID-19 Testing

  • Project Beacon
  • Challenge

    During the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, healthcare providers and the state of Massachusetts needed to streamline and coordinate COVID testing as labs work to rapidly scale up their operations.

  • Solution

    Working closely with Beacon’s small staff, we quickly built software to better operationalize the testing process all the way from scheduling to results.

  • Results

    A technology hub that is enabling MA to increase its COVID testing capabilities, serving as a potential model for other states. As of 3/18/21, over 420,000 tests have been scheduled, and the average appointment time was under 6 minutes, from start to finish.

No time to waste. One of the chief lessons we’ve learned from COVID is that nimbleness and flexibility in our healthcare processes can literally save lives. Nationwide, many testing workflows are slow and unreliable, greatly affecting the usefulness of test results to guide personal behavior and decisions by local and state governments. With this urgent reality in mind, Project Beacon approached us with a challenge: build an app that can help our states dramatically scale up their testing operations — and fast.

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  • Project Beacon UI
  • The need for speed

    Project Beacon, the organization sparked by the state of Massachusetts, GV, F-Prime, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, needed a software development partner with the expertise and track record of collaboration that the COVID crisis demands. We stepped in as a ready-made team to augment their small staff and began writing code within 3 days — bypassing what would have been a long process of recruiting and onboarding of new developers.

  • "Project Beacon developed the technology to ensure that the testing experience is user friendly and convenient. You register online, you book an appointment, and receive your results all on one platform."

    Marylou Sudders, MSW, ACSW, Secretary, Health and Human Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Pivot points

    A fast-moving challenge requires the ability to pivot quickly and often. As new potential user journeys emerged, like parents coordinating testing for their children and employers making decisions based on their employees’ test results, we designed new user flows within the app. The product organizes data for every step of the testing process — from scheduling to sample delivery to result notification — all of which had previously been entered manually across multiple platforms.

  • Fast work, future potential

    As an app with efficiency at its core, Project Beacon is already at work in Massachusetts, helping the state dramatically increase daily testing abilities. Built in Python + Django, it’s well-suited to become an open-source resource for other states to use, and a model for how much more efficient our national testing can become by automating and centralizing the process with software.

  • Project Beacon UI
  • "Their model is proven to be quick and efficient, as anyone can book an online appointment and visit a drive-through testing site. These four locations will have the capacity to have up to a thousand tests per day, per site."

    Charlie Baker, Governor, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Project Beacon quickly gained local and national attention for its efficiency.

Summary

With a focus on speed and efficiency, we built an app with Project Beacon, which was sparked by GV, F-Prime, and Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT to streamline COVID testing in Massachusetts, all the way from scheduling to sampling to results.