As the Covid-19 pandemic ensues, corporations have shifted their workplaces from physical offices and facilities to remote settings or their homes. Through modifications in remote environments, corporations can be more productive and effective at home compared to physical traditional settings.
As telehealth platforms become more affordable and accessible, people with acute and chronic illnesses employ remote patient monitoring (RPM) tools to assist them in regulating their health and continuing their daily work. Similarly, for patients who have recovered from the coronavirus, working in a physical space and monitoring their health poses challenges. Hence, in circumstances where firms revert to their traditional offices, employees and employers are cognizant of what health and safety questions must be asked.
Health Risk Assessment
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health and safety risk assessments should be executed with safety protocols in place. Firstly, to prevent and decrease the spread of Covid-19 among employees, firms need to take certain precautionary measures.
Federal and local updates on restrictions, advice, and suggestions about public health and the virus must be under constant vigilance by workers. Unwell workers must be vigorously urged to stay at home in isolation and virtually meet their medical practitioners for a consultation. Also, workers who are not ill, but have unwell relatives who have Covid-19, should inform their managers.
There must be routine physical and virtual healthcare checks of all people before they walk into the workplace, such as symptoms and temperature records. The firm must ensure SOPs (standard operating procedures) are followed at all times with social distancing, cubicles between employees and masks, and gloves to be worn.
Moreover, employees who are ill must be immediately quarantined from other people and be safely transported home or to a healthcare center. The workplaces should be disinfected and cleaned every day, with hand sanitizers and medicated soaps present at all spots, and 6 feet distance to be maintained between the employees.
Wellness and Support Policies
Firms should uphold employee-friendly policies that sustain healthy operations by introducing flexible and longer sick leave days. This sick leave should also cater to employees’ relatives who are sick or have dependent children.
Moreover, businesses should allow employees to telework if they travel from distant areas, or are situated in locations of Covid-19 clusters, or have unwell relatives at home. Telework should also extend to teleconferencing and meetings, to prevent crowded or large groups of people.
Furthermore, mental health and wellness of all employees must be emphasized. In physical facilities, there must be spaces designated for meditation, exercise, and gyming. Mental health resources must be available such as regional mental health centers, therapists, and counselors. Mental health paid leave must also be integrated into the leave policy to ensure mental and emotional wellness, whilst reducing workload and office pressures.
Read more on Remote Healthcare Work – Best Practices amid COVID-19
Remote Patient Monitoring and Safety at Work
While in a physical workplace or a remote setting, RPM tools permit medical practitioners to observe and regulate vital signs and the general healthcare of people. This data can also be communicated to the managerial staff of corporations, to keep a record of the healthcare information of their employees. Device-agnostic systems, artificial intelligence-powered platforms, and the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) systems monitor and ensure the medical care of people.
AltumView Systems introduced a smart healthcare caution system that consists of a smart optical sensor and a mobile phone application. The sensor is an IOT appliance combined with artificial intelligence that detects falls and injuries of people, and informs healthcare providers and relatives of the emergency. The device also includes facial identification, audio calls, and information about routine tasks to remind the users to perform.
Babyscripts is a digitized maternity care program that facilitates gynecologists to provide a modern type of prenatal and postpartum healthcare. Through RPM tools, and the employment of mobile applications, this platform has decreased prenatal physical visits and checkups and allowed schedules of healthcare providers to be more flexible. This allows healthcare to be delivered remotely via virtual touchpoints and allows working mothers to carry on their professional lives without any disruption. Moreover, Babyscripts fills the void in motherly care, the scarcity of gynecologists and specialists, and reduces the increasing rates of maternal mortality. These tools would identify any differences in a pregnant woman’s condition be it prenatal issues or a change in immunity due to contraction of Covid-19.
Patients also obtain a “Mommy Kit,” which encompasses The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved remote patient monitoring instruments such as blood pressure cuffs, oximeters, and weight scales. Patients can check their vital signs and conditions from their workplaces and monitor themselves regularly. Furthermore, if there are any fluctuations in their health, patients can virtually meet their physicians over a teleconference and get a consultation. Moreover, RPM tools equip people with educational materials founded on in-depth medical research that is easily understandable by all. Employees receive online campaigns, utility surveys, and healthcare awareness materials.
Biofourmis established a technological platform, Biovitals based on Artificial intelligence-powered services and remote patient monitoring tools. This service delivers customized predictive healthcare by collecting current and historical data from clinical patient portable devices or wearables that permanently regulate over 20 biological parameters, as well as patient-captured information from the applications.
Employees also have expedited contact with their healthcare providers about MRIs or X-rays, or fundamental healthcare suggestions and guidance. Furthermore, patients are not worried about the confidentiality and security of their data as telehealth corporations conform to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA Law), which aspires to avoid any private data being disclosed.
Thus, through remote patient monitoring tools and safety and health protocols in place, there is a conversation amongst all stakeholders, i.e. employees, employers, the government, and the healthcare industry about what relevant health and safety questions must be asked at work and how safety risk assessments must be executed. This way we, as a society protect the public, uphold the economic status of all people, and allow people to conduct medical tests at home through telemedicine, in this new world.
Kelton High is a Social Sciences undergraduate who majored in International Relations, with a budding interest in qualitative research. He has previously worked at Transparency International.