The Excelsior Pass was officially launched and is now live throughout New York State. The state’s government developed the platform in partnership with IBM to help accelerate the reopening of businesses during COVID-19 safely and efficiently.
Like health digital passports developed for international travel, the Excelsior Pass enables reopening businesses to confirm the validity of negative PCR tests, antigen results, or proof of vaccination. Businesses managing sporting events and any other larger social gatherings such as weddings need customers and guests to present proof that they are not a potential health threat. Confirming the accuracy of each individual’s credentials is time consuming and easily subject to fraud or human error.
Excelsior Pass is addressing this issue by expediting the process of checking the credibility of health credentials. When a user has a test or vaccination, the results from numerous participating laboratories are reported to the State’s Lab reporting system ECLRS. This enables the generation of a QR code that can be scanned from the Excelsior Pass Wallet app or printed out and presented to businesses in paper form.
When the QR code is scanned on arrival at an event, it verifies the test result or vaccination and provides a name and date of birth to cross-check against photo IDs.
The platform was piloted at a Brooklyn Nets Basketball Game, the Barclays Center, and a Rangers ice hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Madison Square Garden and Times Union Center have already announced they will begin implementing the platform in the coming weeks. The technology will be available to smaller business event venues later this week.
The Excelsior Pass is built on IBM’s Digital Health Pass solution, which enables a secure verification of health credentials without the need to upload underlying medical information to the app. This feature is essential to promote adherence to the initiative because privacy has been one of the biggest concerns for track and trace apps and other Covid-19 solutions. Since adherence is optional, fewer people might download the app if it stored personal health information.
Meanwhile, various other health credentialing solutions based on blockchain technology are being developed, piloted or live. Singapore, BA, Emirates and Etihad airlines are implementing the IATA travel pass, and Air France is involved in a pilot with ICC’s AOKpass. Mastercard is working on the interoperability of digital health credentials with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).