More than any other 21-century crisis, the COVID pandemic has heightened our awareness of our organizational responsibility to protect our constituents’ and consumers’ health and safety. This has always been the case, but now, as we transition back to a “new normal,” most schools, hospitals, clinics, retail outlets and other public-access facilities are screening for possible indicators of viral infection.
However, disease screening or protection is just one step in a larger, multi-step process. The second step is collecting, aggregating and reporting the hard data to demonstrate that we've done what we say we have done to protect our students, patients, teachers, customers and employees.
Call it the “tree-falls-in-the-wood” syndrome. From a regulatory, compliance, public trust and funding-reporting point of view, if it isn’t documented, it didn’t really happen.
FeverWarn® infrared (IR) thermometers are more than self-service temperature screening devices to detect possible COVID cases. The system also collects and provides accurate, reliable data.
For example, in a large, multi-entrance office building, an employer may install multiple infrared thermometers stands in order to COVID-screen hundreds of incoming employees or visitors. Post-screening, the system will collect, aggregate and create data dashboards of that data from across all the individually positioned units. These data sets will support organizations' mandated data reporting processes.
Data Protection, The Law and Public Trust
There’s a third and crucial step to disease protection. As organizations and their compliance departments collect, store, aggregate and report member infection-control data, the public needs to trust how well and how vigilantly we are protecting their personal information.
According to a recent Forbes report, now more than ever, the public also needs to know that we are prioritizing data protection over profits. In fact, 73% of consumers say data-protection trust matters more now than it did a year ago.
Equally, 65% of American voters say data privacy is one of the biggest issues our society faces. And, in the event of a breach or the loss of their personal data, 64% of Americans would blame the company—not the hacker.
Unfortunately, we don’t have to look far to find some cautionary tales about recent data privacy glitches.
Last year, as Zoom, the video conferencing giant, saw a 458% growth in its consumer base--most of it via corporate vendor contracts—this rapid expansion revealed the tech-giant's sub-par data security—including sending user data to Facebook and Zoom's unsubstantiated claim to providing end-to-end encryption.
The bottom line? Regulatory requirements notwithstanding, consumers are becoming more conscious about the need for data security and will switch to companies that they can trust to protect their personal information.
Equally, when choosing and installing a COVID-screening system, organizations and public-use facilities must choose third-party vendors that share their high standards and evidence-based safeguards for data handling and security.
The FeverWarn Master DataHub: Keeping Your COVID Screening Data Secure
As a vendor, FeverWarn’s Master DataHub (4.72 x 2.36 x 1.57 inches) allows our client organizations to collect and keep all COVID-screening data on their local network.
Once purchased, the FeverWarn Master DataHub becomes a micro-server that acts as a local computing cloud to aggregate, display, route, and transmit all collected data. So rather than personal information being stored on the cloud, all constituent (student, employee, visitors) data will be stored locally, behind the organization’s own firewall. This provides data security that organizations can stand behind and, in turn, can enhance consumer trust.
Also, for organizations (large office buildings, multi-entrance hospitals, school systems), the Master DataHub connects and aggregates data from all FeverWarn temperature scanners. In turn, these visually accessible, highly accurate and secure data dashboards will support an organization’s regulatory reporting mandates and processes.
COVID Waiver Forms, HIPAA Laws and Data Protection
According to HIPAA Journal, healthcare data breaches cost approximately 65% more than breaches in other industry sectors. How much more? In 2019, the average cost of a U.S. healthcare data breach was $15 million.
Of course, U.S. HIPAA laws apply to all electronic health record systems (EHRs) and patient-access portals--including that paper COVID waiver form that many of us have completed and signed at the clinic’s front reception desk.
To facilitate waiver-form completion, our Master DataHub provides a touch-less COVID-waiver form application, which allows incoming visitors or patients to complete the digital waiver form and then upload both their temperature screening and their waiver information to the office intake administrator. Once collected, using the Master DataHub, the facility can store each individual’s private health information (PHI) within the health system’s HIPAA compliant and proprietary network.
The Bottom Line: Personal Privacy and Data Protection Matter
In its report and analysis on the WhatsApp controversy and the related implications for data handling and security, the Forbes technology reporter comments:
“In the new privacy landscape, it’s companies that prioritize data protection and build trust with their customers that will come out on top”.
The article concludes: “It’s as simple as this: privacy matters.”