A Central Ohio Sports Medicine Startup Is Helping the PGA Tour Return to Play

How Dublin’s Healthy Roster created a COVID-19 safety app from their athlete-focused platform

For years, Healthy Roster’s users have been turning to the sports medicine startup to connect them with doctors and trainers. But in the midst of a global pandemic, the Dublin company has turned its sights from sprained ankles and strained hamstrings to helping companies and squads return safely to work and play. In May, the company introduced SAFER Workplace, an extension of the Healthy Roster platform that tracks symptoms and infection.

“The employer sends out a daily text to employees with a one-question survey about symptoms,” said Nathan Heerdt co-founder and CEO. “If they’re not feeling any symptoms, ill or taking care of someone who is ill, they’re done, and they get a receipt saying they’ve taken this survey. If they are having symptoms, an alert goes out to the point person at the company and that person can follow company protocols to help the employee with the next steps. The process is HIPAA compliant and we use the CDC’s symptom-checking survey.”

The launch was so successful that Healthy Roster is now a partner of the PGA Tour. In preparing to return to regular season competitive play, the PGA TOUR has partnered with Healthy Roster to launch SAFER Play to ensure its players, caddies and staff at events are screened daily in order to make sure any symptomatic individual is identified and kept from coming to the course. Automated daily screenings are delivered via email and text-based messages and any symptoms reported immediately trigger alerts to designated administrators and medical personnel for a quick telehealth assessment. SAFER Play also integrates with various testing facilities and home-test providers to flag any individual in the days prior to PGA TOUR events.

“Travel and personal interaction are inherently part of life on the PGA TOUR, which becomes particularly complex in the era of COVID-19,” said Andy Levinson, PGA TOUR Senior Vice President, Tournament Administration. “Healthy Roster customized our surveys, integrated with our network of COVID-19 testing facilities and delivers automated daily screenings to all tournament participants. This doesn’t guarantee that COVID-19 won’t be present, but it gives multiple layers of defense to provide the safest possible environment for our members and fans.”

Fortunately, the pivot wasn’t a difficult process for Healthy Roster. The sports medicine platform they’re known for was easily adapted into a tool for companies. And rather than going through difficult channels or being overly specific, SAFER Workplace was able to integrate state and federal guidelines while allowing for companies to customize to match their own processes.

“Our goal has always been to help keep people healthy and in the game,” said Heerdt. “It’s never been more imperative for people to be aware of how they are feeling and the immediate impact their health has on everyone around them. With SAFER Play, we’re uniquely suited to help organizations work together to keep everyone healthy and decrease the chance of being exposed to COVID-19.”

And while Heerdt and his colleagues are happy that success and growth can come from an app like SAFER Workplace, that success rings hollow without providing an important service during a year when small businesses can offer more to their communities and customers than ever. That’s why Healthy Roster made its telehealth solutions free for users starting in July and is working hard to create safer environments for all.

“Any time you have an opportunity to do good for your community and your users and develop something that will help push your business forward at the same time, I think that’s the best-case scenario,” said Heerdt. “So while we weren’t focused on COVID screening before this happened, our customers need this tool and it was easy for us to add it. We’re hoping it shows our customers the lengths we’ll go to in order to make their lives better and easier. We want to be a solution that they can count on when things are tough.”

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