Introducing Vital Response: Touchless COVID-19 Screening & ED Patient Communication

Aaron Patzer
By Aaron PatzerApril 15, 2020

Coronavirus has changed everything. IT timeframes. Hospital workflows. Patient communication. You don’t have time for training. You don’t have time for implementation. You don’t have time to wait on legal contracting and bureaucracy. You need something that will help the frontline face their new reality today. You need something to minimize possible infection wherever possible.

We can help. We’ve built a touchless COVID-19 self-triage system, complete with in-emergency-department patient communication and wait time estimation. Since there’s zero-IT integration involved we can have it up and running by tomorrow in your emergency room. Since that seems rather unprecedented and frankly unbelievable in healthcare IT, let’s walk through the steps to show what we did to make this possible.

Coronavirus Checker

Setting up “Vital Response”:

  1. Pick a short name for your hospital. For example for Vital’s “Greenwood Hospital” demonstration hospital.
  2. Print a poster or two. Put these outside your ED or Tent area, and print it large enough that people can see it from their car if that’s how they arrive.

COVID-19 poster outside the emergency department

  1. Patients self-screen and show you the results from over 6 feet away. You also see comorbidity and severe illness flags. See results in English, even if the patient answered in Spanish.

    • Blue: No COVID-19 related symptoms.
    • Green: Possible, but less associated COVID-19 symptoms like diarrhea and sore throat.
    • Orange: Commonly associated symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath.
    • Red: Severe illness indicated (likely ESI 1 or 2)

Seek immediate attention warning

  1. Set wait time expectations Patients see wait times you can adjust as the ED gets busier, along with “what’s next” instructions.

Wait time, triage to treatment area

  1. Communicate without being in the same room Send broadcast alerts to all patients, to notify them of new procedures or instructions, as often as you like.

Coronavirus Alert

  1. Trial for 30-days for free. Get up-and-running by tomorrow. There’s no IT integration, and for the trial version no BAA needed, just simple terms to agree to.

If you want to customize patient instructions and “white label” with your own branding & logo, upgrade at any time. If you do upgrade, volume discounts are available, with special pricing for NGOs + hospitals in Asia, Africa and South & Central America.

List of patients using Vital Response

How we Built It:

Vital Response came about as the combination of two of our products: and “Vital Patient”. Vital Patient is our original product that connects to your EHR to determine wait times and optimize bottlenecks by looking at, for example, how long it took CT orders or CBC lab tests to result.

In late February, that EHR-connected software showed far more possible COVID-19 cases than were being publicly reported. In record time, and in collaboration with Emory University, we put out Complete with health-literacy approval of the language, translation into 15-languages, and IRB approved studies at Emory and Walter Reed (Veterans Administration), we launched Friday March 20th. In the first two weeks we had over 600,000 visitors self-screen for COVID-19 related symptoms around the world.

At the same time, our co-founder and practicing emergency room physician, Dr. Justin Schrager, saw first hand the risk he and his colleagues were taking on the frontline. That includes everything from exposure before a patient is given a mask, to something as seemingly small as registration staff being handed insurance cards. Instead of mobile screens with tiny text, we adapted our software with covid results that were color-coded. You can even see symptoms and comorbidities from a safe distance or while the patient remains sealed in their own car in a drive-thru setup.

Having worked with enough hospital IT to know that, even in the best of times, it can take several months of prioritization and committees to get a new feed to the outside world, we designed for zero-IT-involvement. Literally none. Not EHR integration. Not DNS or VPN setup. Nothing. Our free trial version takes that a step further by not asking patients for identifiable information (name, SSN, phone, email, etc.). That alleviates the immediate need for a BAA, purchase order and contracting, at least for the first few weeks of deployment.

The result is as promised: you can be set up in a day. In 15 languages. Around the world. With a zero-download web-app that loads in under half a second. On a HIPAA-compliant secure platform. That protects your front-line staff. That keeps patients informed about their wait times and what comes next without you having to tell them.

We’re bringing consumer-level usability to healthcare, with a sign-up that’s as easy as Box or Slack or Zoom.

Email us at to pick a “short name URL” for your hospital and get started.

Talking with Emergency Nurses About Modern Software

Talk with our team to find out how Vital can work for you