Contact Tracing: Three Best Practices for Any Organization

Contact Tracing: Three Best Practices for Any Organization

By Tricia O'Connor

The goal when fighting any infectious disease is to stop the spread as quickly as possible while allowing a business to keep running – and effective technology is the key. An end-to-end contact tracing system designed to meet the safety and health risk needs for small, mid-size, and large enterprises during the pandemic and beyond, just does that.

By now, we know contact tracing and distance monitoring are two of the most recommended practices by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stop the spread of illness. But if you’re still risking people to perform these critical safety duties, there is a better way.

The pandemic has accelerated the need for powerful, easy-to-use digital information tools for employees to have the confidence to return safely to work and for businesses to reopen under safe operating conditions,” says Rick Kurland, CEO of EBI.

Digital distance monitoring and contact tracing tools are likely a better fit to drive workforce safety measures. But there are three best practices to follow to amplify their effectiveness.

1. Ultra-wideband Technology is the Most Precise Location Device

Not all wearable technology is created equal. Many real-time tracking technologies have significant disadvantages; for example, GPS localization is not precise enough and is limited to outdoor use only. Even WiFi and Bluetooth/​BLE positioning do not achieve the required precision and connection stability. However, ultra-wideband localization technology locates machines, people, goods, and much more with increased precision and stability, and can be scaled accordingly. This technology is part of the suite of tools EBI provides in our Workplace Health & Safety solution. 

One of the most reliable contact tracing devices is an extremely lightweight sensor (15 grams) that uses ultra-wideband technology to pinpoint employees’ proximity to one another. The device sends an alert when the employee is too close to another person and sends all data to a company’s command center. The technology also allows for accurate and efficient contact tracing.  

If someone falls ill, the contact tracing functionality allows a company to quickly identify and notify co-workers who were close enough to be potentially exposed. Through a mobile app, EBI Workplace Health & Safety sends out notifications, as well as information regarding testing or quarantining, all while protecting the affected employee’s identity. The entire process is automated and immediately allows for tracing of possible chains of infection. 

Data shows more than 70% of critical contacts may be missed without a digital tracing solution as part of an interview-based contact tracing protocol, which is a staggering statistic. In contrast, three out of four users feel safer at work while wearing an ultra-wideband contact tracing device. The numbers speak for themselves,” says RJ Frasca, Vice President of Marketing and Product at EBI.

2. Data Protection and Privacy are Important 

The exclusive aim of contact tracing is to inform people whether they’ve had an infection-critical contact with an ill person, and if so, to interrupt that chain of infection. 

Since we’ve determined that a digital solution, like an ultra-wideband tag, is a safer form of contact tracing than a human-based process, it’s important to evaluate privacy measures for employees. 

While tracking, like GPS, collects location data from users, contact tracing only records contacts that are less than a defined distance away. Only data that is necessary for the purpose of contact detection and evaluation is collected, and personal data is only processed when people need to be informed for their own protection and for the protection of others. This ensures that information needed to disrupt the chain of illness is captured, but an employee’s individual data privacy is maintained unless an intervention needs to occur.  

3. Analytics Help Drive Strategic Response

Receiving contact tracing alerts is just one step organizations can take to prevent illness in the workplace. Collecting, integrating, and analyzing that data is also critical toward long-term success with contact tracing and future-proofing the overall health of your business. 

A health and safety solution should help management make sense of collected data and form strategic responses. A centralized Command Center solves this challenge by collecting and crunching real-time data, including contact tracing alerts, so you can analyze it to create actionable safety measures.

Stay Safe. Stay Open. While the distribution of vaccines will surely impact infection rates, employees, customers, and visitors now expect companies to do something else to ensure their health and safety are being put first. Just as influenza did, COVID-19 has now done. Businesses will need a comprehensive, scalable solution that can evolve as fast as necessary to meet any health and safety need, while providing critical data insights to help make business decisions as rapidly and confidently as possible.  EBI Workplace Health & Safety is a secure U.S. cloud-based, customizable platform providing modular options for retailers and all organizations to protect their people and their livelihoods. The platform serves as a central data repository and analytics engine for data collected through employee mobile health apps, thermal scanners, and contact tracing systems. These analytics give employers the insights they need to make critical business decisions to keep workplaces open and operational. EBI Workplace Health and Safety experts are providing FREE 30-minute COVID-19 Response Reviews. This exploratory discussion reviews any existing protocols you have in place with the goal of protecting your staff and visitors while maximizing your budget. Together, we’ll identify the right mix of solutions that best integrate with your culture and processes. Request your complimentary review today! *A version of this article originally appeared on ToolboxHR.

A Command Center securely manages up-to-the-minute employee data and aggregates comprehensive risk mitigation information to determine threats to your organization’s health. Here are some of the metrics a Command Center can calculate:

  • Number of employees admitted (per day, per hour)
  • Most popular entrance locations
  • Patron demographics (employees, visitors, etc.)
  • Body temperatures
  • Average employee contact length (data collected from wearable distance monitoring devices)
  • Average distance between employees
  • Occupancy rates

Ultimately, the ability to view comprehensive data like this improves leadership’s decision-making ability in health and safety-related matters, makes HR processes and operations run more smoothly, and improves the overall health, confidence, and productivity of a company’s employees. Used correctly, this new data can have a huge impact on an organization’s ability to recruit and retain top talent while continuing operations as effectively as possible, no matter what health crisis it’s facing.

Your Workplace Health & Safety Toolkit

With the right combination of ultra-wideband technology, employee privacy measures, and an analytics dashboard to inform risk management decisions, any organization will be poised to protect itself from any illness outbreak. 

Early in the pandemic, EBI recognized the need for comprehensive health and safety solutions that didn’t just put a band-aid on businesses’ current pandemic-related concerns, but provided a platform to battle any illness. The result of countless hours of research, development, and consultations with our panel of medical experts, is EBI Workplace Health & Safety. 

This end-to-end solution is a secure U.S. cloud-based, customizable platform providing modular options for retailers and all organizations to protect their people and their livelihoods. The platform serves as a central data repository and analytics engine for data collected through employee mobile health apps, thermal scanners, and contact tracing systems. These analytics give employers the insights they need to make critical business decisions to keep workplaces open and operational. 

We are offering companies a complimentary 30-minute COVID-19 Response Review. This exploratory discussion reviews any existing protocols you have in place with the goal of protecting your staff and visitors while maximizing your budget. Once this review is complete, you’ll receive relevant benchmarks, tailored guidance, and actionable recommendations on how your organization can level up with workforce health and safety measures. 

You can bet digital contact tracing will be on the master blueprint. 

Workplace Health & Safety

About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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