On a global scale, the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the way we work, travel and conduct business.
Advancements in technology to support with health treatments, monitoring, advice and assessments has proven successful in the fight against the virus. From the rapid development of the vaccine to the creation of global COVID-19 vaccination passports.
But what are the trends that have emerged that we will continue to see in years to come? In this article, we reflect and predict how digital health certificates, health information and telehealth will impact organisations and their people in the future.
COVID-19 vaccination passports and digital health certificates
In a very short period of time, the utilisation of COVID-19 vaccination passports became widespread. Referred to as 'COVID certificates', 'vaccine passports', 'immunity certificates' and 'COVID status certification', the basis of their functionality remains the same.
Being able to prove that a person is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from the screen of their mobile phone was a global example of how health and technology collide to bring positive impact.
Vaccine passports are also used during the yellow fever outbreak, called the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP). Predominantly in paper form, the World Health Organisation (WHO) began investigating the ideation of smart vaccination certificates1. Although since 2021, they have taken a longer-term approach to its development.
The ability to leverage a similar framework used for COVID-19 passports could enable vaccine delivery and monitoring for other vaccinations in future.
Health information and data sources
Throughout the pandemic, we saw a surge in the amount of information and news sources regarding COVID-19. The WHO coined the term 'infodemic' to address the excess of information, both reliable and false and misleading, that were available through a range of digital and print channels2. As a result, there was an increased demand from organisations and their people for advice and trusted sources for health and security information.
The creation and utilisation of apps, chatbots, online portals and websites enabled health information to be easily accessible. Throughout the height of the pandemic, access to timely and relevant information was critical for decision makers to protect their people and operations.
As health, information and technology work together, there will be greater clarity, consistency and centralisation for organisations to understand the unique risks they may face.
Telehealth and virtual care
As we experienced global lockdowns and a halt to face-to-face appointments, telehealth took precedence. According to McKinsey, telehealth usage increased by 38 times from the pre-COVID baseline3. To address health issues and provide quality care, virtual GP applications, telehealth and teleconsultations became the new normal.
The ability to receive advice from an experienced healthcare professional, by phone, instant messaging and video enables a reduction in medical costs, maximises productivity, ensures business continuity and upholds your Duty of Care responsibilities.
The ability to receive care and health advice at home, in the workplace and abroad has demonstrated a shift in how healthcare delivery has changed throughout the pandemic. For global organisations, telehealth will likely continue to play a critical role in managing the health risks of their people.
How we can support you
Since the onset of the pandemic, our health, security, logistics and digital experts have supported our clients in understanding the risks impacting their workforce as they evolve.
Whether it is knowing the current disease outbreaks in a certain location, knowing the latest health requirements when travelling or leveraging telehealth or teleconsultations to support your people, we are on hand to support you and your Duty of Care responsibilities.
1World Health Organisation (WHO) - Smart Vaccination Certificates
2World Health Organisation (WHO) - Infodemic
3McKinsey - Telehealth usage