News & Updates

The Future Of Active Screening In Healthcare

16 February, 2021

As we talk to healthcare workers across Canada, we hear a wide variety of perspectives. With vaccinations taking place across the country, albeit more slowly than originally hoped for, some people have expressed to us their belief that this crisis is going away over the relatively short term, taking along with it the need for active entry screening at healthcare facilities.

Unfortunately, we do not believe that is the case. In discussions with our network of healthcare leaders, some of whom have shared with us the planning they are doing, the consensus view is as follows:

1 - This situation will not be considered over until the World Health Organization (WHO) declares an end to the pandemic, which means that the overall timeline is a global one.

2 - Active screening will last at least until the pandemic is declared over and will possibly remain on a permanent basis. Given the global nature of the pandemic, not to mention the emergence of new variants, these leaders expect that screening that asks about travel history (as one example) will remain.

3 - Whether or not vaccines provide long-term efficacy/protection is an open question. It is possible that some vaccinated individuals may be asymptomatic carriers, which means that they are a threat to places with immunocompromised individuals, such as hospitals. Although regional/provincial regulators may relax screening requirements in certain contexts before the WHO declares an end to the pandemic, long-term and acute care facilities will be at the bottom of the priority list.

4 - The virus is evolving rapidly. The emergence of so-called variants of concern (VOCs), some of which appear to be more deadly and/or less affected by existing vaccines, means there is a high probability that the virus will become endemic, similar to influenza. This may necessitate permanent entry screening procedures to protect vulnerable individuals within healthcare facilities.

On balance, we believe that the evidence shows the need for active entry screening is likely to persist for at least another one to two years, and may become permanent.

Full disclosure: Greeter.AI automates entry screening at healthcare facilities. The points listed above are true to the best of our knowledge, but please do your own research on the subject before considering investing in automation.

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