Wisconsin health tech companies build better COVID-19 testing infrastructure

Three Wisconsin health technology companies joined forces to build a better infrastructure for COVID-19 testing within the state. 

Epic, Exact Sciences and Promega discussed their efforts yesterday during a Wisconsin Technology Council briefing in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

Sara Mann, general manager of the North American branch of Promega, said the companies started off by talking daily about ways to expand testing capacity around the state, looking at factors such as testing space and testing collection supplies. 

“A lot of knowledge sharing happened within the scientific community and within our different companies,” she said. “We really came together to problem solve.”

Jake Orville, a general manager at Exact Sciences, said their companies together have donated countless project management hours, and learned to trust one another to come together and get work done quicker. 

Epic Systems worked with Exact to implement an interface to COVID-connect, which has expanded testing efforts around the state. The interface was developed with Wisconsin’s emergency operations center and Microsoft.

Mike Pontillo, an Epic implementation executive, said the Alliant Energy Center community testing site has been able to increase testing by 40 percent, which translates to almost 100 cars per hour, as a result of the new software.

Orville said other steps the companies took included getting more testing supplies out into the community and continuing contact tracing. Epic plans on looking into whether it’s MyChart interface can be used to assist in contact tracing efforts. 

Mann said the companies will have to keep taking an innovative approach to the situation for COVID-19 testing to continue successfully. Mann would like to see an even quicker turnaround for test results and less supply-related concerns going into the future.

-By Mackenzie Christman