Not all Contact Tracing and Distance Monitoring Measures are Created Equal

Not all Contact Tracing and Distance Monitoring Measures are Created Equal

By Tricia O'Connor

Let’s play a game:

Would you rather – have a human take your temperature or a thermal scanner?

Would you rather – have employee spacing monitored manually or with digital technology?

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.

Digital distance monitoring and contact tracing tools are likely a better fit for your business needs. 

Here’s a breakdown of how they work. 

Stop the Spread

The goal with COVID-19 or any other 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 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. 

“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 and universities to reopen under safe operating conditions,” says Rick Kurland, CEO of EBI.

A centralized integrated platform that has a range of scanning, tracking, and communication tools can help ensure everyone’s safety. A comprehensive platform that includes the following components acts as a risk mitigation plan for future health crises:

  • Thermal entrance scanning
  • Analytics dashboard
  • Mobile app
  • Contact tracing and distance monitoring

Performing contact tracing and distance monitoring with human capital, however, can have the opposite effect. A digital backstop, like you would get with EBI Workplace Health & Safety, is a better bet.

Contact Tracing

While managers can rely on security cameras and spot checks to ensure mask-wearing and proper social distancing, contact tracing and distance monitoring enables leadership to detect potential and existing risks more effectively and quickly reduce the likelihood of exposing other employees. Contact tracing not only informs you who may be at risk based on location, but identifies the location and duration of any exposures – if it’s performed digitally. 

Digital solutions seamlessly record and trace personal contacts that exceed or fall short of preset distance and time limits. Instead of time-consuming, manual effort, technology helps to immediately and accurately identify persons who are at risk of infection.

This is a critical piece of information considering more than 75% of people may be falsely quarantined when using an interview-based tracing process, reports KINEXON, our digital contact tracing and distance monitoring partner.  

Digital solutions can also take other decisive factors (positioning of the persons, contagiousness, duration of contact, further protective measures, etc.) into account and calculate a ​“risk score”. This is simply not possible to do in that time frame with a team of human contact tracers. 

KINEXON data shows that 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,” says RJ Frasca, Vice President of Product and Marketing, EBI. “In contrast, three out of four users feel safer at work while wearing a contact tracing device. The numbers speak for themselves.”

Distance Monitoring

A combination of wearable devices for employees and fixed devices across the facility is the ideal risk mitigation approach to contact tracing. Wearable devices continually track employees’ movements, recording the distance and duration of interactions – and alert individuals in real-time when they are at increased risk. If an outbreak does occur, these recorded encounters are highly valuable for notifying those who may need to quarantine or be tested.

Not all wearable technology is created equal, though. 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, precisely, stably, and scalably.

With EBI’s new Distance Monitoring system, employees wear an extremely lightweight sensor (15 grams) that uses ultra-wideband technology to pinpoint their location at all times. The device sends an alert (within 0.1 seconds) when the employee is too close to another person and sends all data to the company’s Command Center, which provides valuable insights in how your staff is interacting with each other. The technology also allows for instantaneous contact tracing.  

Maintaining physical distance is one of the most important things we can do to avoid COVID-19 and other infectious diseases,” says Frasca. “Our Distance Monitoring & Contact Tracing component helps companies ensure compliance with social distancing, which makes employees feel more confident in returning to work as there is a true effort being taken to keep people safe.”  

Explore Your Options with EBI

Having a risk mitigation and health screening solution in a complete suite helps optimize employee and customer safety while maintaining business operations. You want a program that not only provides easy to follow instructions and guidelines for employees, but also delivers real-time data and information to management. This helps organizations operate as seamlessly as possible while maintaining top-tier safety standards to protect employees, clients, and visitors. Whether you have already established a health and safety program, or are still exploring your options, EBI Workplace Health & Safety can help assess your organization’s strengths and foundational gaps.

Our complimentary 30-minute COVID-19 Response Review explores 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 FREE review today!

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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