Back to work during COVID-19: A symptom checker can make for a safer return

Despite a looming second wave of coronavirus, organisations around the world prepare for employees to return to their offices. A digital symptom checker like the one developed by Infermedica can help protecting employees and fight the virus.
02:07 AM
Digital symptom checker, coronavirus, COVID-19

The global pandemic has sharpened the awareness that people's health and wellbeing are paramount. However, it is not only about employees’ health, but also their motivation, effectiveness, and trust in the workplace. With numerous COVID-19 lockdowns lifted, organisations are looking into different measures to protect their staff. Given the number of offices and other places where people gather, like universities, this is a mammouth task.

In a new survey of 100 US executives, McKinsey found that respondents expect 88% of their workforce, on average, to be back on-site by December 2020. To do so, companies must implement a range of measures to ensure their staff’s safety and transform the pre-COVID way to work.

Ensuring safety in the workplace

Protective measures vary from limiting face-to-face contact, obligatory use of protective personal equipment (PPE) to increased hygiene protocols. Switching to video meetups, decreasing the number of on-site employees, or reducing operating hours to facilitate cleaning helps to limit possible virus transmission, but does not act at the root of the problem: spotting infections early on. That is why companies implement procedures to identify and isolate staff who show COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive.

According to the McKinsey report, the most common solution is to check employees' and customers' temperature upon entering the building. Another safety precaution is the use of contact tracing tracking apps to help tracing back interactions with employees who had tested positive for COVID-19. A third option is offering health surveys that employees can fill in at home when they observe worrying symptoms.

Digital symptom checkers to the rescue

Using symptom checkers as part of a daily routine falls into the range of interventions that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that companies should follow when reopening their sites. These digital tools help screening people for potential infections with the virus. By ensuring workers and students are healthy before they even enter the workplace, the risk of another local outbreak can be minimised. Providence and Walgreens are examples of companies that launched their own COVID-19 risk assessment tools based on the CDC recommendations whilst using Microsoft Health Bot.

More than half a million users worldwide

However, rather than develop your own risk assessment tools, organisations can buy ready-made solutions such as Infermedica’s COVID-19 Risk Assessment Tool. It is based on a simple to implement triage-oriented screening protocol that provides the necessary user information, including explanations, recommendations, and local guidelines. Based on the official WHO guidelines, it helps to quickly identify coronavirus symptoms and answers concerns around COVID-19 reliably. Available in over 20 languages, it is free of charge and can be embedded on any website. In the battle to contain the pandemic, the tool has been implemented by over 300 organisations, including two national governments, and is used by more than half a million people worldwide.

Further information

The upcoming webinar 'Health 2.0 solutions at the rescue during the Covid-19 pandemic: Making tracking and healthcare access easier' will offer more information on the role Health 2.0 technologies to fight the coronavirus.


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