Is COVID-19 highlighting importance of Digital Health Risk Management?

10 Mar, 2020
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The world has gone into a frenzy with COVID 19, starting from significant pressure on global healthcare systems to stock market crashes. The outbreak of Corona Virus is taking a toll on the economy in China and beyond. Cities in lockdown, travel restrictions in place, plant closures mounting. Global trade, commerce, tourism, investment and supply chains in disarray.

A report by Frost & Sullivan predicts a global dip in the GDP growth to below 2% in case of a severe Pandemic scenario. Further, the outbreak will also affect key macroeconomic indicators like oil prices and interest rates.

With globalization, any major hard to contain the outbreak of a pandemic or an epidemic is a real risk with far reaching consequences. The real question in this situations is, how prepared are we?

A scenario like this compels us to agree with a statement made in the recent New York Times article, stating that the world’s strategy for dealing with pandemics are insufficient.

The actual issue is that between outbreaks, the will to spend money on prevention disappears and pandemics become solely a disaster response issue. We need a radical shift to start working on prevention as well as equip ourselves better in terms of disaster response.

How can we do this at scale? We believe digital health technologies are a promising solution.

Businesses could give employees access to continuous monitoring of their health, in a discreet manner. Additionally, top level business intelligence could help highlight any health risk for the organization. As a result, companies could take preventive actions in a timely manner while maintaining regular business operations. Also, if the system can help employees improve their health (read immune system in this case) over time, it will also help in prevention.

Increasingly businesses are facing cancelled or delayed contracts, cancellation of events, travel restrictions, remote working situations and so on. This is disrupting day to day operations with far reaching operational and financial consequences not restricted to health issues.

Both health and general insurance companies are facing ill effects due to the pandemic. If risks are highlighted on time, preventive measures can be taken before conditions worsen. Giving people access to remote healthcare consultations and monitoring will not only help control the infection but also make the process scalable.

While businesses consider operations and system risk under their main disaster recovery plan, employee health risk should be considered as a major component of the same. Therefore, it is high time businesses push boundaries for employee wellbeing and consider more than merely providing facilities like gyms, healthy food and meditation classes for employee health. Recognizing risks and taking necessary action is the cry for the day.

We would like to hear your views.

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