Cloud native based contact tracing technology

Leveraging technology for workplace and employee safety

In the post-COVID-19 environment, workplace safety and contact tracing can be a struggle—especially in light of privacy concerns. Cloud native technologies offer a flexible, economical way for organizations to enhance worker safety and engagement while building resilience over the long term.

Across the globe, COVID-19 lockdowns are easing, and many organizations are operating in a fundamentally changed environment that requires employers to continuously manage new health risks. However, the risk-management landscape is complicated, and every organization will likely need to navigate a complex set of choices involving imperatives such as worker health and safety, privacy, economic priorities, and regulatory and legal requirements.

Therefore, it's essential for organizations to develop workplace safety and resilient recovery strategies that meet the needs of their customers, employees, and communities while balancing those critical imperatives to address their unique circumstances. However, strategies companies employ cannot be monolithic in their approach. Indeed, they should combine a human-centric range of approaches customized to different segments of their workforce, the different jobs and physical environments in which they are performed, and geographic locations.

Monitoring safety while safeguarding privacy

A key component of recovery and resilience in the face of COVID-19 is worker safety. As lockdowns ease, or as workers who could never leave their jobs seek greater protection from infection, many companies are struggling to monitor worker health and perform contact tracing for those who do become infected.

However, the way companies approach employee infection monitoring and contact tracing doesn’t always sit well with employees who may feel that contact tracing is an uncomfortable intrusion into their lives and the lives of their family and friends—a kind of “Big Brother” approach that many regard as unacceptably broad and invasive. Some monitoring and tracing methods may also be unacceptable to regulatory bodies across the globe that are deeply concerned about information privacy.

A digitally enabled, cloud-native solution for workplace safety

Workers are also pragmatic, but they’re wary. They understand that there’s risk involved with working on-site, around other workers. So, it’s essential for employers to reassure workers that, in the event they do contract COVID-19, the employer will take care of them (and take care of the other workers they may have come in contact with during an infective period) while safeguarding everyone’s privacy.

But there’s more. The approach that companies take to promote and monitor worker safety must also be financially feasible and flexible in that any solution needs to be rapidly deployable and scalable, with the ability to spin up resources when and where they’re needed and spin them down when and where they’re not. Further, that approach must be global in reach to account for (and not run afoul of) the complex regulations governing data and privacy across geographies.

One effective and rapid path to implementing such an approach (in an economically feasible way) is to deploy a digitally enabled, cloud-native solution that can help organizations meet information security requirements while giving them the flexibility to plan and execute situationally appropriate responses to outbreaks.

Such a solution can be deployed without being overly invasive or compromising worker privacy, and it can be tailored to the requirements and procedures of any regulatory environment and thus can be deployed across multiple geographies as needed. The solution also leverages smart devices (phones, wearables, etc.) to enable more sophisticated monitoring and contact tracing so that employers can quickly understand and mitigate the situation, no matter the circumstances or location.

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The blueprint for enhanced workplace safety

Any digitally enabled workplace safety solution starts with a cloud-native technology platform that can help organizations manage the workplace health risks presented by COVID-19 and recover with resilience. Employing tightly coupled technology and services, the solution rests on a foundation of enhanced workplace safety protocols, visibility into risk factors, agile response to changing health conditions, and engagement and support for colleagues—all configured to meet individual organizational needs.

How it works
The solution places cutting-edge monitoring capabilities, augmented by cloud-enabled digital capabilities, around a connected hub to help organizations monitor and support their employees while giving them the information they need to improve workplace safety and build better employee relationships.

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The benefits: Worker safety, engagement, and business resilience

The benefits are clear: A digitally enabled, cloud-native workplace safety solution helps employers and employees work together to enhance worker safety and engagement, and it also helps companies build the long-term resilience they need to survive other external shocks or crises and achieve better business outcomes, now and in the future.

The solution includes the following features:
  • Customizable to the unique circumstances and requirements of individual organizations
  • Efficient in that it quickly directs attention and resources to where they’re needed through automation and integration of workflows
  • Enhances risk awareness through the use of data analytics to model and assess risks and inform decisions
  • Cost-effective and flexible in that it can be deployed when it’s needed and then spun down when it’s not—no matter the circumstances or geography
  • Human-centric, as it empowers employees by giving them the information and intuitive tools they need to stay engaged and safe
  • Agile, as it can interface with wearable devices so that contact tracing and employee safety can be maintained, even in places where mobile phones are not allowed or when visitors come into the office
  • Provides companies timely access to information needed for important decision-making to mitigate risk factors and support business continuity

The technology is great, but the journey is human and ongoing

This digitally enabled, flexible, cloud-native solution is certainly applicable to the COVID-19 pandemic, but its capabilities extend beyond the current crisis. Once the pandemic has been controlled, the solution can be adapted to fit new needs. The capabilities behind it will enable companies to use it for non-health care applications, such as digital badging, alerting, and employee communication. In essence, with this solution, organizations will have the foundation to build the resilience needed to weather this and future crises, and they’ll be able to make their employees’ work lives easier going forward.

A case study: Broadcom Inc.

As the COVID-19 pandemic raged, global infrastructure technology giant Broadcom Inc. faced an urgent problem. Broadcom employs thousands of essential workers, engineers, and fabrication units that must work on-site, so for a large portion of its workforce, remote work was not an option.

In addition to the need to operate in a physical working environment, Broadcom was also faced with new workforce safety and risks challenges related to COVID-19. To meet these challenges, Broadcom wanted to go beyond implementing standard social distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and hygiene measures. Instead, they sought to rapidly develop a digital solution to alert them to (and enable them to quickly act on) potential employee exposure while keeping employee privacy and local regulations top of mind.

Implementing a cloud-native approach allowed Broadcom to quickly innovate with a digital solution for data-sharing and analysis, with worker privacy and data security considerations managed by the organization’s global privacy officer. The cloud application allowed Broadcom to:

  • Collect relevant personal worker information via the digital app on employee mobile devices
  • Integrate the data into internal systems, organization policies, security protocols, and global communications
  • Mine, aggregate, and analyze the data to identify potential COVID-19 exposure
  • Alert potentially at-risk individuals and initiate location-based cleaning protocols

Broadcom launched a digital, cloud-based data-sharing application at scale, in less than 10 weeks, across 10 countries for 15,000+ workers and 5,000 contractors. The solution managed 350,000+ employee survey collections and work passes following daily symptom analysis and 250,000 automated workplace check-ins. It also provided the following benefits to Broadcom:

  • Rapid notification, timely reporting, and tracing of potential COVID-19 cases enables a proactive and focused approach to risk.
  • Reduced need and efforts for manually tracking and tracing incidents frees up time and resources.
  • Flexibility to use the solution when traveling between locations provides seamless functionality.
  • An intuitive user interface that requires minimal to no training for employees and contractors and increases overall adoption.
  • A cloud-native and multichannel mobile platform for the future provides an ecosystem that goes beyond COVID-19 contact tracing, establishing a mobile platform and foundation for the future of employee health and engagement.

Why Deloitte?

Deloitte recognizes the “new normal” that has resulted from this pandemic. We understand that there are new ways of working and that companies need to find new ways to keep their workers safe in this new environment. We have the capabilities, experience, and relationships to effectively execute the applications we help you deploy. Our hybrid approach brings together our skilled talent and proven services with our leading technology to create transformative solutions. And our capabilities are enabled through our workplace safety platform and solution.

Our approach to digitally enabled workplace safety includes a comprehensive solution to procure, provision, and transmit proximity tracking data from wearable devices enabled to required specifications. It also includes the capability to serve diverse corner-use cases requiring on-premises and/or cloud storage, as well as device processing stations to manage data and device connectivity and safety. It features an integrated, secure, cloud-based application for data processing and analytics with cognitive insights. And finally, it leverages our extensive experience in electronic health records and case management to support staff safety and well-being.

But more than that, we recognize that the most important factor in workplace safety is the individual worker, the human in the journey. And it is a journey. It starts with understanding that there is a global pandemic that affects all parts of the workforce, and it continues with helping the workers affected by the pandemic maintain their safety and maintain their engagement with their employees to form a partnership to build safety—with the goal of building long-term resilience.

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