In this white paper, Jeff Shelmire, Vice President of Professional Services, analyzes how businesses can safely navigate a post-pandemic world. Jeff’s paper also discusses VeeTrace, a new program that allows employees to self-report any symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses.
Please click on the video to the right to learn more about Jeff, his paper’s key points, and his policy and process recommendations during and after COVID-19.
To discuss this white paper in more detail, please contact the author using the information provided at the end of the article.
Remember when we lived our lives with carefree abandon? We could spend time with friends, dine in restaurants, fly on airplanes, and do such courageous things as visit the grocery store without wearing a mask.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, everything changed. People were getting sick and being hospitalized in alarming numbers. Death rates were climbing. Governments and their associated citizens were scared. Health officials across the globe worked in unison and tirelessly in an attempt to understand this new coronavirus. New vocabulary became part of our everyday language at incredibly high rate of speed. The terms "coronavirus" its abbreviated counterpart "COVID-19," as well as the acronym "WFH" (work from home) and "social distancing" have become part of our everyday language.
The pandemic has caused business leaders to contend with and solve unforeseen challenges. The ability to operate in a mostly safe, environment, free from disease and major disruption were taken for granted. We quickly learned that businesses were ill equipped to deal with the catastrophe of a global health crisis. Stock markets and economies around the world tanked, millions were furloughed or laid off from their positions. Confusion and fear were pervasive. The disease became a rapacious and invisible predator with an insatiable appetite. Government and business leaders alike stood dumbfounded.
Now that a few months have passed, we have learned a lot about our new environment and businesses are reopening. The challenges though, have not dissipated. Everywhere, business leaders want to understand risks of operating in the COVID-19 environment. Questions such as, "How can I operate safely in today’s environment? What do I need to change going forward so that my employees stay healthy? How can I identify employees who might be sick?"
"How can I protect my employees from getting sick?" How can I instill trust that my company is a safe place to work? How can I instill trust that my company is a safe place to visit? How can I keep my employees productive and not distracted by fear, uncertainty and doubt? How can I understand how disease is spreading in my company? What can be done about all of this?"
In order to survive, businesses need to be able to confidently get employees back to work in a safe environment. Executives need reliable data about the disease to make policy decisions and to proactively understand, measure and monitor the well-being and health of their workforces. New situational awareness, disciplined risk, and infection management protocols must be established. These obviously are no small undertakings and there are few, if any, management books geared to these challenges.
To combat these challenges, Vee Technologies has assembled scholars, researchers, and business leaders across the world to fight COVID-19 and infectious disease to help businesses safely reopen. Our Global Contagion Solutions helps business leaders establish guidelines, best practices, policy recommendations, services, technology, material, research & data, testing, tracing, surveillance and predictive analytics to provide meaningful information for decision support.
The first step to safely reopening is to make sure that the right tools and protocols are available at the workplace to keep employees safe. Workplaces need to establish health security measures so that they can safely operate.
For example, consider a large manufacturing setting where thousands of employees report to work every day across three shifts, around the clock.
Referring to the diagram above, the first step would be to supply the entire workforce with Vee Technologies VeeTrace App. This app is designed, among other things, to allow employees to self-report COVID-19 symptoms or high-risk behavior such as attending large gatherings. Based on the employee’s supplied input, a risk profile (green, yellow, red) is built around each individual. The purpose of the risk profile is to understand potential risk of an infection based upon the employee’s symptoms or other risk triggering considerations such as tight working quarters or other customized corporate defined demographics. Corporations can then enact policy informed by worker population-specific data provided in a near real-time manner.
Testing declares who’s exposed, infected and recovered and indirectly can help identify who’s susceptible to the COVID-19. Randomized testing shows prevalence of the disease and is more accurate than testing only employees who are symptomatic.
For example, If VeeTrace flags the employee as “yellow”, he could be directed to take a forehead temperature scan prior to entering any corporate facility. Red employees could be directed to take a COVID test. Depending on corporate policy, that employee could be routed to take a fast response COVID test. If that test is failed, the employee could be directed to take a full RT-PCR test, which is more accurate than the fast response version. All data is recorded and automatically uploaded into the VeeTrace Platform, where analytics of the data can be performed.
Use of the VeeTrace app, symptom reporting, testing combined with visibility into the results of all three from the VeeTrace Platform is a good starting point on the road to workplace health security.
More now than ever, executive leaders are interested in operating a safe, healthy work environment for their employees and for their patrons and visitors. Surveillance refers to keeping apprised of daily symptom reporting, and for those infected, adherence to quarantine conventions.
As already discussed, the VeeTrace app and associated analytics platform allow executives to have a window through which to see and evaluate the health of their workforce on a daily basis. For those who are sick and quarantined in their homes, with daily symptom reporting, employers know whether their employees are getting better or are getting sicker. Daily symptom checks also indicate when those who are quarantined are infection-free and safe to return to work. Then, appropriate protocols like arranging telemedicine visits, additional testing or return-to-work policies can be enacted.
Contact Tracing is the process of notifying those who infected persons have come into contact with for more than 15 minutes over a five-day period. If an infected person has spent more than fifteen minutes with a person, that person is at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. The ability to notify and inform individuals of exposure to the disease is paramount to maintaining the health of an employee population.
Through the app, automated alerts can be enabled which notify employees as to whether they have come into contact with an infected co-worker. Measures such as self-isolation protocols and daily symptom tracking through Vee Technologies’ VeeTrace app can be implemented to keep exposed employees safe from spreading the disease to others. Contact tracing enabled by the app and associated analytics platform, gives line of sight to business leaders so that they can contain any location-specific outbreaks before they become widespread.
The power of having corporate population-specific data, collected on a daily basis is the foundation from which companies can build safe and situational operating protocols. Through the VeeTrace platform, advanced analytics can be run to help executives understand the prevalence of the disease within their organization, and their company’s risk profile in terms of suffering an outbreak within any location.
Processes and protocols can be developed in an informed and location-specific manner that keep employees safe and productive. This vastly improves a one-size-fits all approach that many enterprises are enacting.
The Global Contagion Solution is a comprehensive package that includes all these elements: testing, tracing, surveillance, and analytics to allow businesses to make informed health and safety policy decisions.
Through the use of this comprehensive suite of services, Vee Technologies is helping America get back to work in a safe and responsible manner.