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  • Sanjay Gopal, PhD

Health Screening – A Core Component of Infection Prevention and Control



Since early 2020, communities have been mandated to screen all staff and visitors as per CDC guidelines for infection control. This has considerably increased the burden on operators to establish and execute community policies for screening, record keeping, and conformance to state and federal mandates. With the resurgence of COVID cases, and with the relaxation of visitation restrictions, the workload has only increased for community team members.


The almost daily discovery of new COVID variants implies that health screening is here to stay!


Fortunately, there are new technologies available that alleviate the screening burden on operators. Here are some key benefits of Health Screening technology that operators should carefully consider in deciding if this technology will deliver an ROI for their community.


Automation

The right technology can automate your screening process. This can free up your staff and team member who could currently be multi-tasking between their pre-COVID responsibilities and new screening tasks.


Screening Throughput

With the reopening of communities to general visitation a key issue of concern is screening throughput. The ability to quickly and easily screen visitors and staff becomes important from an exposure and infection control perspective. Screening using a staff member is rate limited by both the visitor and by the screener. The right screening technology not only increases throughput, but also could ensure compliance by visitors and staff.


Error Minimization

Manual modes of screening lend themselves to user entry errors, as individuals could incorrectly record screening parameters such as temperature measurements. A fully automated temperature screening system eliminates data entry errors supporting your compliance processes.


Risk Reduction

Body temperature scanners minimize risk of exposure to your team members who are using a non-contact forehead thermometer for temperature measurements. If visitor sign-ins require no staff assistance, they reduce the risk of exposure of staff to asymptomatic visitors.


Infection Control

Touch free screening systems can substantially reduce, even eliminate, the need for constant wiping and cleaning. Not all screening systems are touch free, so it is important for operators to ensure that the technology they are evaluating supports a touch free mode of operation.


Easy Record Keeping

Cloud based screening system eliminate the need for storing paper records, resulting in savings from multiple perspectives – paper, storage, and compliance records. This can reduce operational expenses for cost conscious operators. Additionally, the right system can make it quick and easy to generate reports to state surveyors when required.


Given the current and future needs for routine health screening, the ROI on the right technology can be substantial for operators. Clearly identifying your goals and the challenges you are trying to resolve can help in determine the true value of the specific features for your community and maximize the return on your technological investment.


On a final note, keep in mind that the health screening is just one component of your overall infection prevention and control processes. Carefully consider how it will support your organization’s compliance as well as how it fits your community and staff workflows.

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