ANN ARBOR – While health and safety remain the top priority for summer camps everywhere, camp directors are eagerly awaiting national guidelines and recommendations for what camp looks like this summer, as the nation battles COVID-19.
One of the experts helping to develop those recommendations is Dr. Michael Ambrose, founder and CEO of Ann Arbor-based DocNetwork and a pediatrician at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.
“I’ve been involved with the summer camp world my entire life," said Ambrose. "Around 15 years ago, while I was in medical school, I designed an electronic health record system -- which grew into DocNetwork -- for summer camps, childcare, and schools.”
Dr. Ambrose’s contributions to the medical field include co-authoring multiple research studies over the years about camp healthcare concerns such as food allergies, head injuries, and disaster preparedness. In 2019, he was the lead author on recommendations from The American Academy of Pediatrics for improving the health and safety of children at day, resident, and family camps.
That’s why Dr. Ambrose was an obvious choice for the expert panel convened by Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. -- a Boston-based consulting firm specializing in environmental health -- in partnership with the American Camp Association and the YMCAs of the USA.
“We’re living in uncertain times when it comes to summer programming,” said Dr. Ambrose. “About 20 percent of camps already decided to cancel or transition to a virtual format. Developing our recommendations was crucial for the remaining camp directors and organizations to make informed decisions.”
In addition to participating in the COVID-19 response at a national level, Dr. Ambrose helped DocNetwork adapt its Electronic Health Record (EHR) solution to support businesses with essential workers.
“We’ve expanded beyond the youth space," said Ambrose. "As employees return to work, companies will need to conduct daily health screenings, and it’s critical that they have a secure place to track this data.”
According to Dr. Ambrose, the prevailing recommendation across the board -- for summer camps and businesses looking to open -- is pre-screening.
“We quickly incorporated questions that help track COVID-19 symptoms and possible exposures into our solutions,” he said.
DocNetwork is a four-time recipient of Ann Arbor SPARK’s FastTrack Award.