Digital Health Passports Ease Path for In-Person Events

March 1, 2021
Digital Health Passports Ease Path for In-Person Events

International travelers are used to presenting passports to enter foreign countries. Event attendees may very well have a similar requirement going forward — one tracking health status. is quickly establishing itself as the go-to platform for major organizations to ensure safety while bringing back face-to-face events. With clients including the U.S. Olympic Committee, Major League Baseball, universities and live events, the cloud-based software’s offerings include a digital passport providing proof of vaccinations. 

The offering comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines prioritizing hotel workers to be part of Phase 1c of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution, opening the door for more event professionals to be eligible for vaccines soon.

In February, announced that it has joined with Fern, one of the largest event and production contractors in North America, to deploy its all-new digital health passport app and private vaccine registry—Fern HealthCheck—to ease the safe return to work for thousands of employees and contractors, as well as participants of live events and in-person conferences, across the United States. 

The partnerships allows for the following:

  • A digital health passport allowing individuals to control who sees their health status and for how long;
  • Vaccine credentials sharing and digital management;
  • COVID-19 testing with verification and certification;
  • Event organizers manage health and safety of event staff, attendees and exhibitors with analytics and dashboard reporting;
  • Interoperability with industry and government registration and mobile app solutions in a HIPAA-compliant manner.

“The organizer can apply their own protocol of testing to balance out their comfort level with risk, cost and attendee experience,” said Galen Murdock, founder and CEO of

Ideal for today’s challenges moving past the pandemic, originally conceived of its services to assist homeless shelters access health and medical records without sacrificing guaranteed patient privacy. It then transitioned to include universities before expanding to events.

More than a status report, the platform is a full-testing solution. Attendees begin the process at home (or office) prior to a trade show or conference to minimize exposure risk at the event. Partnering labs process up to 15,000 tests per day, allowing the platform to serve events with more than 50,000 participants/attendees. 

Here is how it works: 

  • The attendee receives the testing kits at home
  • He or she takes the saliva-based test and ships it overnight to the lab
  • Results are securely transmitted to the attendee via the secure app
  • The results are instantaneously integrated into state and organization’s systems
  • The attendee shares the results as a virtual passport to enter the conference or trade show.

“The platform creates a ‘bubble’ for an event, with health-based access control at every entrance,” Murdock explained.

Digital Health Passports Ease Path for In-Person EventsAttendees choose with whom, when, where and for how long their information is shared. Organizers can integrate the process into their own pre-existing registration systems. The platform coordinates with testing administrators like CVS and other health care providers.

Applications extend beyond the pandemic, even if COVID-19 evolves to endemic (ongoing) status. Murdock noted the platform can be used for HIV, SARS and variant treatment, as well as testing legal and illegal drugs, including steroids (important for sporting events). is gaining popularity at a time when health concerns for attendees have never been higher. Organizations across the world and all industries are adopting additional measures to put attendees’ minds at ease.

For instance, Vision Council and Reed Exhibitions recently launched VisionSAFE, a comprehensive set of health and safety guidelines, policies and resources designed to support a safe experience at Vision Expo East 2021, which is scheduled to take place June 2–5 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

Similarly, Informa set specific measures in place for its fashion show, MAGIC, as did Tarsus for OFFPRICE. The efforts are examples of the customization required to attend the specific needs of each conference or event—one-size-fit-all solutions are impractical given different venues, attendee expectations and status of the virus.


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.