BioSecurity is the practice of enabling businesses to prepare, prevent, and rapidly respond to biological threats to keep people safe and maintain business continuity.
As the world moves past the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all thinking about how we will move forward to restart our lives. For businesses, this means putting into place a whole new set of security measures centered around the health and wellbeing of their employees, customers, and partners. BioSecurity is a concept that has been thrust into our vocabulary over the past few months, but even industry leaders are still trying to figure out exactly how to implement it. At ReturnSafe, we offer a comprehensive BioSecurity platform that is ready to tackle returning to work during COVID-19 and preventing the next outbreak on your premises. Read on to discover what a robust BioSecurity platform looks like and why your business needs one.
Just as a few decades ago, cyber security became standard practice for businesses of all sizes, today BioSecurity is a necessary part of the workplace. Preparing for, preventing, and rapidly responding to biological threats are the key layers of a BioSecurity platform that work together to keep people safe and maintain business continuity. While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought these issues to the forefront, this is not the first time the modern world has seen a biological threat, most recently we faced Ebola in 2014, H1N1 (Swine Flu) in 2009, and SARS in 2003. The ease and speed at which people and products travel the world these days increases the chances for future pandemics to occur and spread. However, the silver lining to our current coronavirus pandemic is that the urgency around putting preventative measures in place has been brought to light.
What Does a BioSecurity Platform Look Like?
Agile BioSecurity systems are made up of a BioSecurity Portal, which is essentially an infrastructure layer offering a set of core services. Unique ‘Solution Packs’ sit on top of that layer, each tailored to a particular disease, enabling those core services to handle the nuances of the threat at hand.
Let’s dive into our BioSecurity Portal and COVID-19 Solution Pack.
Our BioSecurity Portal is a dynamic infrastructure layer that incorporates all the core services needed to mitigate, manage and prevent a disease outbreak in the workplace. The key services are broken out into seven compartments: Risk Assessment, Reporting, Alerts, Tracing Tools, Business Continuity, Compliance, and our Regulatory Database.
Our Assessment module provides periodic assessments for employers regarding various infectious diseases in the business’ location. Both a generic assessment for all risk will be made, as well as a version specific to current diseases that are at risk of an outbreak. Our predictive model identifies characteristics or comorbidities that make people more vulnerable to severe complications from a disease to help tailor your policies to your most vulnerable employees.
In addition, the assessment will offer best practices to lower or mitigate the risk to the employees and the workplace. These best practices include policies you can create and manage for your workforce with regards to current workplace recommendations, travel policies, etc.
Our system takes current guidelines from the CDC, WHO, NIH and other organizations to generate reports for Human Resource and Risk departments on the current state of infections during an outbreak so all current information is easily within reach. This allows teams to remain well informed in real time in order to make necessary policy changes quickly.
The next step beyond periodic reports is our alerts function. Based on the findings from our automatically generated reports, HR & risk teams may receive notifications of recommended actions that should be taken depending on the current biosecurity situation in the area—this occurs whether there is a current or impending infectious disease outbreak in your geography. This includes travel alerts for employees on business travel.
Contact Tracing Tools
Once there is a known disease outbreak occurring our tracing tools kick into gear. These tools are a combination of automated and manual contact tracing actions. A simple digital logbook allows your employees to track their physical interactions with others via our mobile app manual and Bluetooth and Indoor-location technologies gather this data in the background to complement the manual notations. Our HR dashboards aggregate all of this tracing data so that management can monitor exposure risks and make recommendations for who can continue to report to the office and who should stay home.
Just as Cyber Security tools implement regular system tests, our platform is able to provide regular drills to manage both system and team preparedness for an infectious disease outbreak. A simulated outbreak scenario will be run through on a regular basis to test the safety measures in place as well as to educate team members on the measures that need to be taken in case of an emergency.
Our platform is HIPAA compliant and can be customized to meet any local, state, federal or industry compliance rules. We also generate all necessary reports to show compliance to these regulatory bodies when needed and track compliance requirements for specific disease outbreaks to keep you informed of the safeguards that you need to implement.
As new disease regulations are put into place, we maintain a knowledge base of up-to-date county, city, state, federal and industry regulations. These guidelines can also be easily referenced from our HR dashboards. These regulations enable you to manage policies in compliance with regulatory requirements.
COVID-19 Solution Pack
As mentioned above, there are solution packs available for all major disease outbreaks. Let’s explore our COVID-19 Solution Pack to see how we are helping organizations deal with the current BioSecurity threat.
Due to the nature of COVID-19, the first part of this Solution Pack is assigning each employee a ‘risk score’. This is their likelihood for being at risk for a severe reaction if they contract coronavirus. Our system has the ability to query for a set of comorbidity factors that are relevant to particular infectious diseases. Our HIPAA compliant platform does this in a way that protects not only privacy, but also mitigates data exposure risk. For example, rather than look at someone’s entire electronic health record, management simply gets a view into their overall ‘risk score’, with the contributing factors hidden from view, as the score is automatically generated.
During the coronavirus pandemic employees are notified to complete a quick mobile survey each day as a quick check to ensure that only healthy employees are coming to work due to the extremely contagious nature of the disease. This occurs through a quick series of prompts and is completed in just a few seconds, making the process painless for the employee and easy to monitor by HR through our management dashboards.
In the case where someone does experience symptoms, and notes that on their daily screening survey, they will be given instructions on where and how to get tested. They can then record their results on the app, which could potentially trigger the need for instant contract tracing to isolate exposed employees to mitigate further spread.
In the event that someone in a location does test positive for COVID-19, both automated and manual contact tracing methods are activated. Bluetooth and indoor-location technologies gather data in the background on a daily basis to find potential employees who may be at risk, and employees are able to manual log meetings and encounters with teammates as well for a well-rounded view of who is coming into contact with whom.