In the past year, hospitals have been on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, and EH departments have been tasked with protecting employees and patients from outbreaks, illness and mortality. Infectious disease tracking is now a larger and enduring part of EH. As a result, state-of-the-art solutions for tracking and compliance are needed to track flu, COVID-19 and any other infectious threat that emerges.
Essential Health Workers COVID-19 As It Stands
While vaccination is becoming more and more available to individuals everywhere, to date, COVID-19 has led to the hospitalization of over two million Americans. In turn, this has put the health of essential health workers at risk.1 EH efforts to protect health professionals have been successful, but still COVID-19 claimed the lives of 3,600 health care workers in the U.S. so far. What’s more, investigative reports found that many of these deaths could have been prevented.2 And so, these facts beg the question, what can be done to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases amongst essential health workers?
Monitoring COVID-19 With Employee Health EHRs
In addition to helping healthcare workers keep up with day-to-day activities in the medical field, EHRs are also better equipped to track COVID-19 and other potentially dangerous infectious disease outbreaks. Paper or spreadsheets on hard drives simply cannot handle the speed and scale required to properly combat an infection like COVID-19.
What can be problematic about spreadsheets or paper is that they aren’t scalable or mobile. However, a scalable system enables directors leading EH departments to receive customizable insights through easy-to-use dashboards. Such decision-making tools are invaluable for hospitals.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), for example, notes how important it is to have quick access to electronic records, especially when creating care plans and charts for individuals who are considered the most vulnerable. Additionally, EHRs can observe pandemic patterns and help identify what times of interventions or what type of comprehensive containments may be suitable options to keep any potential disease spread at bay and under control. 3
Modern EHRs Also Provide Mobile Tracking Capabilities
Employee Health departments can also benefit from a desirable electronic solution that makes use of both modern mobile and virtual technology. Generally speaking, EH staff should be able to visit or virtually connect to hospital departments to ensure that exposures, including multiple exposures, are properly tracked.
Thankfully, reliable EHRs offer compliant exposure and immunization tracking through a convenient mobile immunization platform available by tablet or laptop. One of the key features of this type of solution is its ability to be used at any employer location or facility. Additionally, on-site capabilities are especially important as they allow for easy use outside of a standard EH setting.
While we may seem to be one step closer to seeing the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, ensuring that COVID-19 tracking capabilities are in place can help EH professionals rest easy as they continue to provide ongoing care.
4 Reasons for Employee Health Departments to Choose Electronic Records Over Paper and Manual Processes
Navigating The COVID Era
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “COVID Data Tracker: Weekly Review,” April 30, 2021.
2Spencer J, Jewett C, “12 Months of Trauma: More Than 3,600 Health Workers Died in Covid’s First Year,” April 8, 2021.
3Pan American Health Organization, “Electronic Health Records and Interoperability: Understanding Two Key Concepts for a Better Public Health Response,” 2021.