Top 7 Benefits of Automating Contact Tracing
COVID-19 is creating a stressful time for all businesses. Amongst the challenges of reduced workforces and transitioned work environments, organizations are expected to respond quickly and effectively in the event of a positive case in the workplace.
The fact is that most staff do not feel comfortable returning to an in-person work environment without assurances that their safety is the priority of their employer. It’s essential that proper precautions are taken in order to get your people back to work, and comfortably.
Organizations are adopting innovative solutions to manage COVID-19, including contact tracing applications, manual tracing, and real-time location systems (RTLS).
In this article, we dive into the benefits of automating contact tracing using RLTS. But before we do that, let’s take a quick snapshot of the technology and what it does. RTLS solution with wearables uses connected devices to rapidly identify employees and areas that have been in contact with a positive COVID-19 case. This data is collected and stored in a centralized platform, allowing you to gain insights quickly and initiate decontamination and isolation protocols, wherever required.
By automating contact tracing, companies can analyze on-site interactions in real-time and encourage social distancing, while preventing significant monetary losses and operational bottlenecks. Such technology allows users to analyze foot traffic to identify high-risk areas as well as reduce secondary cases within a workspace. Accurate data means managers are able to make smarter, more timely decisions.
Let’s dive in!
Benefits of Automating Contact Tracing for your Business
Companies who automate contact tracing will be better equipped to fight COVID-19 and improve their business overall due to the following benefits.
Don’t just wait for someone to test positive. With COVID-19 cases, you need to move quickly. That’s easier to do when you’re leveraging an automated contact tracing solution. You’ll have an action plan already in place, as opposed to organizations who use manual tracing and are forced to be more reactive. Manual tracing also involves investing resources into interviewing staff on the floor (and potentially exposing them to the risk). Overall, you’re better prepared to handle a COVID scare in your facility with automated contact tracing technology.
2. Better data
Quality data enables quality decisions and this is also true while managing the safety in your workplace during a pandemic. Automated contract tracing allows for access to all on-site interactions, letting you know how employees are engaging with one another. Account admins can instantly extract employee network reports and even get access to additional data like zone analytics to understand which areas in their workplace get high foot traffic.
For example, if your break-room is a high-traffic zone during lunch hours, you can stagger lunch breaks to limit contact between employees. You can also use this data to ascertain which areas need deep-cleaning and sanitization measures more frequently.
3. Instant reporting
There is no point in implementing a solution that doesn’t allow you to pull reports in real-time. In the event of a positive case, you need to move quickly, and the solution you choose should support immediate action.
For example, Safeteams’ integrated solution transmits data into a centralized platform that allows administrators and supervisors to trace secondary interactions quickly.
Simply click on “select employee,” type in the name of the individual, and you’ll be able to download a report with at-risk individuals who should also be placed under quarantine until they get tested. You can even visualize the data with network analysis reports.
When you plan to implement contact tracing at your facility, you need to factor in analytics and reporting accuracy to stave off an outbreak. Manual contract tracing is a time-consuming process with a higher margin of inaccuracy, whereas automatic contact tracing allows access to more comprehensive information, more quickly.
4. Preventive analytics
Contact tracing, by definition, is a reactive exercise. You are looking to isolate individuals who have interacted with a positive case. But, efforts are typically more successful when they have a proactive element. That’s why Safeteams introduced an innovative technology that allows users to minimize the risk of infection at their facility.
In the Safeteams dashboard, you can generate contagion scores per employee - these scores identify individuals who regularly interact with a high number of employees. Using this data, you can implement alternative measures such as limiting the duration of in-person meetings or substituting in-person contact with virtual meetings wherever possible. With such a preventive measure in place, you can mitigate contagion risk and design data-driven interventions.
5. Informed communication strategy
In the unfortunate event that an employee tests positive for coronavirus, you need to have a communication strategy in place to inform your team. This will assure employees that you’re on top of things while preventing the spread of misinformation through unofficial channels
- Decide on how to proceed with a positive or probable case:
Use your organizational guidelines to inform and isolate co-workers, and make a judgment call if a contact trace needs to occur. Acting when someone first becomes symptomatic can stop the spread of the virus.
- Extract contact data for the affected individual:
Pull together contact information for the worker for the past 14 days and create a contextualized contact list. In Safeteams, this data is readily available with a single click.
- Refine the list:
Clearly outline the parameters of how you shortlist individuals that need to be informed and isolated. You can make these decisions based on the frequency and duration of interactions with a positive case of COVID-19.
- Start making the necessary calls:
Once you have the list of individuals, you can inform the impacted individuals, advising them on the next steps. Let each person know what they need to do, how long they need to be absent from work, and when they can return to work.
- Inform management and security:
To ensure affected employees follow safety protocol, inform managers, reception, and security that isolation protocols have been initiated.
6. Historical data at your fingertips
Automation not only allows for ease of recording but also allows for quicker, more accurate reporting on the data you need. With Safeteams, all the information you need can be gathered immediately and retrieved later. Most customer-facing applications store data for up to six months or more. This means you have data now, but also have the assurance that it’s easy to pull at a later date if needed.
7. Improved safety and security
By employing contact tracing automation, you ensure a higher level of safety and security for your workplace. Workers are more confident that you are doing everything to keep them safe, which is important as individuals throughout the country return to work. In a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) survey, 70% of employees were eager to comply with workforce precautions that would make them safer at work.
The majority of employees (75%) surveyed globally are counting on their leaders to create a “physically safe and healthy work environment,” and that includes managing contact-tracing efforts in the name of organizational safety, a Kronos and Workplace Intelligence study found.
Likewise, a very high percentage of workers (86%) believe their company must alert them if employees come in contact with a colleague who tests positive for COVID-19, according to the research from Kronos and The Harris Poll.
“Employees have demonstrated that they do have safety concerns in the workplace but generally trust their employer to take care of them,” said Gregg Gordon, Vice President, Industry at Kronos.
How Employers Can Take Charge of Contact Tracing
Gordon shares that employer-driven methods of contact tracing are not completely unwanted among the workforce, though education and transparent communication cannot be overlooked when introducing new policies or protocols related to organizational safety.
Simple Contact Tracing Creates Safe Environments
In the past, there has been some apprehension in implementing contract tracing solutions - mostly around privacy and data management. As business owners, the onus is on you to answer the following questions to gain support of your employees:
- Why is the information collected?
- What information is collected?
- When and how is data collected?
- How is the data used once collected?
- Who has access to data?
It’s the responsibility of business owners to communicate to their entire team how a contact tracing solution works, what kind of data will be logged, etc. Remember that it’s your responsibility to ensure worker health and safety - and this technology is a data-driven way of doing that. You can also consider hosting an open forum to address any employee objections and communicate transparently with your team. It may also make sense to demonstrate the use of the solution to assuage any concerns.
By leveraging an automated contact tracing solution, you can maintain a safe environment, instill confidence in your workforce, and ensure operational excellence to minimize losses. If you’d like to learn more about Safeteams, a modern and intuitive automated contact tracing solution, click here to talk to one of our experts or schedule a demo.