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02/22/2021

Sam’s Club Rolls Out Homegrown Tech for Associate Health Screens

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Senior Editor
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Sam’s Club has developed an automated, completely touchless health screening kiosk for its associates to enable safer COVID-19 screening procedures.

The new health screening kiosk is currently rolling out to Sam’s Club's nearly 600 stores across the country and should be available to associates by the end of February. The kiosks are equipped with a built-in body temperature scanner, a camera sensor able to verify identity from a distance, and a digital health screening questionnaire activated by hand motion. It takes around just one minute to go through the screening process. 

The technology is also all patent-pending. After reviewing hundreds of third-party options, Sam’s Club decided it had the capability to build a better equipped kiosk itself.

“Few health screening options on the market are truly touchless,” the retailer’s director of software engineering Ginese Colletti said. “We knew if we could create our own first-class screening technology and make our kiosk completely contactless, Sam’s Club would be able to lower risk of exposure for our associates, streamline the screening process and seamlessly grow the product.”

To develop proprietary screening technology, the retailer created an end-to-end team including associates from operations, technology, product and more to work on the in-house project.

“Despite stay-at-home orders and restricted access to our equipment, software engineer Ryan Giovacchini was able to create a working prototype within a single day using his 3D printer at home,” product manager Ben Ellison said.

Once the prototype was in hand, the team began collecting feedback from associates and ended up making over a hundred iterations of the kiosks based on what was learned from its own workers. From time of approval, the project was completed within six months, RIS learned.

“From adding instructional signage to ensuring the protection of sensitive health data, we are taking all the essential steps to optimize functionality, safety and security,” Colletti said.

Both Colletti and Ellison said they believe the need for health screening technology will remain well after the current pandemic. By investing in foundational systems now, Sam’s Club said it has the opportunity to evolve and scale its proprietary technology in the future.

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