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COVID-19 Update 2020-12-15

As we near the end of the year, we want to update our customers on PNC’s latest COVID-19 response efforts. It’s been a difficult year, but we are very pleased with what we have been able to achieve on the software development front to assist sites with their pandemic response.

WebApps and Telehealth

The Web Apps and the PNC Zoom Interface made the support of remote work-from-home staff in the PNC products much easier. Compared to the legacy Windows client, this solution does not require RDP or remote licenses. The tightly integrated Zoom Interface provides a safer, more secure environment, allowing patients/clients to check-in on the OpenCommunicator portal without exposing a Zoom meeting number. Combined with the new Portal Consent capability, your staff can accept patient/client signed consents from the portal and support remote visits in one integrated platform. COVID-19 dramatically accelerated our transition from the legacy Windows client to the newer Web Apps client. If you are still using the Windows client or 3rd party workarounds for signed documents, consider taking a closer look at what the current WebApps and Zoom capabilities can provide for your site.

Mass Tester

PNC developed the Mass Tester for COVID-19 specimen collection sites and went live with it at the start of June 2020. It is now in heavy use at many universities around the US. In November, we passed the milestone of providing over 1 million COVID-19 specimen collections in the PNC Mass Tester. This was a remarkable ramp up from zero to 1 million tests in 6 months, and we are expecting this to continue to grow over the next 3 months. Here are some examples of what some PNC sites are doing: Boston University is testing all students and performing 5,000 tests a day on the Mass Tester. In Arizona we are doing thousands of tests a week for state organizations, via a partnership with ASU Biodesign Institute. UC Davis is doing widespread community testing in the city of Davis with the “Healthy Davis Together” initiative. The mass tester has some exciting new features:

  • Home Kits and support for unsupervised testing - This allows unsupervised saliva collection kits to be activated in OpenCommunicator in a robust and reliable manner.

  • Appointment-free Testing Group - This allows contained groups of participants to be repeat tested without pre-scheduled appointments in a safe and organized manner.

  • Fullly implemented Spanish-based COVID-19 booking portal, with the ability to add additional languages.

  • Full auto-acknowledge option of positive or negative results including automatic notification.

Laboratory Partners and Lab Aggregator

PNC has partnered and pre-interfaced with some of the major COVID-19 PCR test providers in the United States. This includes laboratories, such as Shield T3. These lab partners provide bulk rate, high accuracy, quick turnaround (12 to 24 hours), tests from as low as $25 a test. PNC has developed a COVID-19 Lab Aggregator that allows PNC to have a single interface to the laboratory, instead of each site having a point-to-point interface. PNC sites only need to connect to the PNC Lab Aggregator which then routes specimen manifests to the lab and test results back to the ordering site. Interfacing to a PNC lab aggregator partner takes a few minutes, instead of the many weeks it can take to setup and validate a bi-directional HL-7 lab interface. There are often no interface setup fees for laboratories that are already connected to the PNC Lab Aggregator.

Contact Tracing

The PNC Contact Tracer is ideally suited for contact tracing a campus or company population. It can accept pre-loaded employee rosters, residence halls and class assignments, saving contact tracers from asking and entering this information. It is integrated with the Mass Tester so that positive COVID-19 tests can automatically enter participants into the Contact Tracer. The contact tracer supports batch communication to exposed contacts via SMS text, email, and secure messaging. It supports large teams of contact tracers and allows assignment and locking of cases. One of the key features of the contact tracer is that it provides a visual representation of clusters, which helps identify the progression of spread through a population. The latest version of the contact tracer supports:

  • Multiple Episodes - Since the pandemic has lasted longer than first expected, we now need to support students through several episodes of possible exposure. The contact tracer now has a built-in episode capability.

  • Timeline View - The new timeline view allows you to see a patient’s exposure, confirmed positive and symptoms in a timeline.

Pandemic Management

For students, this module helps you track and monitor quarantine and isolation cases. It supports daily surveys to monitor the students’ condition and needs. It allows a site to stay in communication with a much larger number of students in isolation or quarantine than would be possible by person-to-person communication. The dashboard allows a site to monitor over 1000 students in isolation. For employees, the Pandemic Management module helps ensure that staff stay at home for the requisite amounts of time. It helps track the impact on the staff availability, as a wave moves through the quarantine or isolation period.

COVID-19 Clearance

The new COVID-19 clearance module is an extension of PNC’s immunization clearance capability to support COVID-19 clearance in both the student and employee setting. It uses a new COVID-19 clearance component in the Student/Employee Portal where the following can be uploaded:

  • Positive COVID-19 antibody test within the last 90 days

  • Positive COVID-19 PCR test within 90 days with sufficient time to recover

  • Negative COVID-19 PCR within the last few days

  • Proof of all required doses of COVID-19 Vaccine

Clearance can be achieved by uploading one of the above or by receiving an on campus/workplace administered COVID-19 test. COVID-19 clearance helps keep campuses and offices safe by ensuring everyone is cleared before coming to school or work.

Symptom Screener

PNC has a fully integrated symptom screener, that can send students and employees a daily symptom screening survey to be completed on their phones. The system allows for progressively more detailed surveys if the participant transitions from healthy to quarantine or isolation states. In the isolation state it can include questions such as “Do you need help getting food?” or “Do you need help getting medications?” If you have symptoms it can track severity on a 0 to 5 scale.

Clearance Badge

The PNC phone-based clearance badge is suitable for both on-campus and occasional off-campus students and staff. In the occasional off-campus case, participants need to register and complete an on-demand survey only when they are on campus. It is also applicable in the office and factory workplace setting. The color-coded clearance badge shows the following states.

  • Cleared

  • Overdue

  • Significantly Overdue

  • Quarantine

  • Isolation

The clearance badges can also display if the participant is overdue for a lab test or symptom survey while in the Isolation or Quarantine state. The badge works on any phone, tablet or laptop with a browser. It does not require an application to be installed.

COVID-19 Application Bundle and Non-EMR Sites

The PNC COVID-19 modules are now primarily available as an COVID-19 Application Bundle. As the COVID-19 components have become ever more integrated, it has become too difficult to support individual component applications. PNC will honor prior single component purchases where feasible, but all new subscriptions are based on the application bundle. This has made deployment faster and simplified pricing, which allowed us to keep the cost of the bundle lower. PNC is also offering the COVID-19 application bundle to non-PNC EMR sites. It is now possible for a university or college site that uses a different EMR to access the PNC COVID-19 application bundle via PNC’s multi-tenant/agency hosted instances. Using the hosted multi-tenant/agency mechanism, PNC has been able to provide the PNC application bundle to offices, factories and government departments outside of higher education for COVID-19 mass testing, contact tracing, employee clearance and badging. Please reach out to our business office if you are interested in the COVID-19 Application bundle by sending an email to or opening a Zendesk ticket at


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