Is it Time for Electronic Health Passports?

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Is it Time for Electronic Health Passports?

By Chris Swanger, Chief Safety Officer, eConnect - 12/23/2020

Business closures and travel restrictions have devastated the global economy forcing organizations, both large and small, to lay off employees, file for bankruptcy, and even close permanently. To date 110,000 restaurants have closed.  As global citizens, we want to find our herd immunity somehow, and history tells us the vaccine is the best way to quickly limit viral spread.  

Like the Polio Pioneer card from the 1954 trial, vaccination recipients may be required to carry the card with them when they are interacting with the public. It's an idea that sparked a great deal of anxiety in those days too.  

So, how do we reopen businesses and optimize travel without further hindering the economy?  Electronic Health passports with proof of vaccination are a good idea on paper but when stringent requirements are implemented around compliance, it can become more onerous for businesses. In other words, managing a new generation of vaccination recipients calls for new protocols in monitoring their wellness.  

Casino and hotel operators in hard-hit economies, like Las Vegas, will need to optimize their  processes to determine the impact of receiving vaccinations. Such processes should include  record keeping of vaccinated individuals via QR code scanning and recording, or by filling out  pre-screener questions to capture state vaccination records. Regardless of the approach, oper ators need to ensure the safety of visitors and the workforce. In return, they can deliver on the  customer experience.  

The verdict is still out on what can be legally mandated on vaccine compliance, but the evidence  is clear that herd immunity is imperative to the reopening of the hospitality sector. Though the  new year may still not look “normal” in terms of capacity restrictions, casino/hotel operators, and  large venue establishments, like convention centers and amusement parks, should take a lead  in adopting secure strategies that get us back to normal. The industry as a whole should also  prioritize corporate social responsibility to get us there.  

With advances in technology, not only can vaccine record-keeping be done digitally, but the  transfer of information can trigger rewards to incentivize compliance. Organizations should con sider employee perks, like offering extra HSA funds when a vaccine is completed, and patron  perks, like unlocking free play when a vaccine confirmation is uploaded to a loyalty card profile.  

VIP incentives are nothing new to the hospitality and entertainment industries. Adding on to  these existing programs can drive business and repeat customers and boost confidence in the  safety of establishments for frequent visits.  

Since the start of the pandemic, eConnect has designed automated systems that allow organi zations to open and stay open. In March, we deployed a contactless safety automation system,  eClear®, which serves as a touchless, all-in-one tool that digitizes entire pre-screening and con tact tracing processes. Technology like eClear also offers businesses the ability to load vaccina tion records into existing HR applications like UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group) and ADP Paycom,  and gaming and hospitality technologies, like IGT, Scientific Games, and Aristocrat.  

With over 350 entertainment and gaming operators worldwide, integrations are the secret sauce  to fast implementation. Hospitality and entertainment leaders should look for turnkey solutions  that can quickly plug into their existing systems and provide benefit in the era beyond the coro navirus. Scaling up operations into typical busier months will be essential to surviving in 2021. 

Here’s a developed checklist of what we think is principal for travel, business, and all other pub lic organizations considering next steps in the fight against Covid-19.  

Health Screening  

● Are you prepared to validate vaccine records on people who enter your facility or pass  through your travel center?  

● Do you have a protocol to check and monitor employee health and sanitation practices  within your facility?  

● Are you using thermal Screening?  

● Are you following CDC guidance and practices for employee health checks/screenings,  and for employees returning to work?  

● Is there a plan to monitor and respond to alerts triggered by fever and a potentially high er than normal level of absenteeism?  

● Is there a plan or policy for, and an adequate supply of, personal protective equipment  (PPE) and/or cloth face coverings?  

Social Distancing  

● Has the facility taken measures (e.g. tape on floors/sidewalks, partitions, and signage on  walls) to minimize face-to-face contact that allows, when possible, a minimum 6-foot dis tance between workers and customers/visitors?  

● As local regulatory/health authorities lift restrictions levels, plan for reduced capacity  constant cleaning, and additional monitoring.  

● Are you limiting the number of employees in shared spaces, including kitchens, break  rooms, and offices to maintain at least a 6-foot distance?  

Occupancy  

● Are you limiting the number of people in your building?  

Together, we will get through these difficult times and innovate even better solutions that serve  businesses and their communities. Learn more about eConnect at econnectglobal.com.

About the Author

Chris Swanger is the Chief Safety Officer for eConnect, Inc. His career spans 20+ years in the gaming and business industries with a special focus in business development, marketing and sales, and custom software development.