Global Emergency Response, a subsidiary of Lowell-based Central Research Inc. (CRI), announced Tuesday (Nov. 10) it’s developing a vaccine tracking application to assist city, state and federal governments in the distribution, tracking and validation of COVID-19 vaccinations. The application is expected to be available in December.
The new HC Vaccine Tracking application is part of the company’s HC Standard software suite, which tracks and records large volumes of COVID vaccinations from pre-registration through distribution. The cloud-based software integrates with multiple data systems used by various government agencies and can also track seasonal influenza vaccinations.
“Our company was founded on creating technology solutions that improve workflow and communications during emergencies and daily operations,” said Stan Kuzia, founder and managing director of Global Emergency Response. “At a price point lower than similar solutions, our HC Vaccine Tracking application is a practical approach to help government agencies efficiently manage COVID-19 vaccination programs and support communities in safely returning to everyday activities.”
In March, CRI acquired Augusta, Ga.-based Global Emergency Response, a provider of software and technology solutions for healthcare and safety organizations. Through the acquisition, CRI obtained an application allowing for COVID contact tracing and screening and monitoring. The companies have worked together to offer contact tracing of COVID through the use of CRI call center staff and the HC Disease Surveillance application of Global Emergency Response, said Tara Muck, director of marketing and communications for CRI. The HC Disease Surveillance application remotely collects self-reported temperature and symptom checks and assists with contact tracing. The application can be used along with the HC Vaccine Tracking application as part of the HC Standard software suite.
In June, CRI laid off more than 200 employees, or about 50% of staff, mostly at the Northwest Arkansas and Tennessee offices, after the U.S. Department of Education put a temporary hold on student loan debt collection. CRI handles collections for the agency. Before the layoffs, it had less than 500 employees. The company has plans to recall the employees who were laid off when the business returned. The timeline to bring those employees back depends on when the suspension is lifted on student loan debt collection. The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act suspended the collection through Sept. 30, and President Donald Trump extended the suspension through Dec. 31.
“We secured a small contract to support a health agency in California, which has been able to help us keep about 15 employees on our payroll through our temporary layoffs,” Muck said. “We’re very excited about (Global Emergency Response’s) potential and how CRI can continue to find ways to support that technology with customer service.”
CRI staff in Northwest Arkansas provide back office and IT support for Global Emergency Response and employ developers across the United States working remotely, Muck said. CRI, a provider of financial services and products for government and commercial sectors, was founded in 2002 and employs about 220 people at several locations across the United States.
CRI also plans to consolidate its Springdale and Lowell offices into a new office building that will be part of a 30-acre development at Interstate 49 and West Monroe Avenue (Arkansas Highway 264) in Lowell. Over the summer, KMK Equity LLC broke ground on infrastructure work for the development that will solicit office, retail and hotel tenants. Scott Dillard, president and CEO of CRI, manages KMK. Plans for Independence Plaza include six commercial lots. A retail and two office buildings are expected to be completed in fall 2021, and CRI is expected to move into one of the office buildings.