As countries begin to ease their lockdown restrictions, a new focus on testing and contact tracing emerges to try and avoid the dreaded “second wave” of Coronavirus infections. Our brave healthcare workers have been tireless in their efforts but continue to need our support, now more than ever. The lockdown strategy seems to have worked to lower the infection rate and to throttle the number of people actively in the healthcare system – but how do we continue to protect that system when the lockdown is relaxed and eventually lifted? Minimising direct contact between healthcare staff (broadly including administrative staff and mobile testing units) and patients potentially infected with the virus is key to their protection. Similarly, keeping patients out of hospitals who could be treated remotely for lesser illnesses might also reduce the pressure on the system.
Impression is a Certified Regional Partner of GlobalSign in South Africa. We’ve been working with a number of large private hospital groups to implement solutions that would directly impact the safety of healthcare workers and enable new technologies that will relieve the burden on the fragile healthcare system. Here are a few current examples:
- At the point of admission, patients can sign their declarations and forms using their own mobile devices regardless of whether they have a smartphone or even data for that matter. Impression uses widely accepted Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) to push messages to patient's devices so that they never need to touch a pen, paper application form, or come into contact with any member of staff.
- Doctors are using Impression to generate and sign prescriptions electronically, whilst remaining compliant with local legislation. This has enabled various telemedicine innovations, allowing consultations between patient and doctor to occur via video chat. The patient can then be issued with an electronic prescription that will be accepted as legally binding by pharmacists to dispense their medicine. Later iterations will see the prescribed medicine delivered to sick patients who never need leave their homes for medical attention.
- The administration and head office staff are also using Impression to keep their hospitals running, signing critical orders whilst sheltering in self-isolation.
None of these ground-breaking examples of innovation could happen without trust. Trust in the availability and functionality of the solution, trust that the appropriate laws and regulations have been considered in creating the solution, and trust in the non-repudiation that Advanced Electronic Signatures deliver. PKI is literally saving lives, and we are proud to be working with GlobalSign as the trusted provider of Impression's digital certificates.
It is essential that new technological innovations be considered in supporting and protecting our healthcare workers as we transition out of lockdown. The transformation that occurs when removing printed paper from these business processes will astound us, and we’re hopeful that – once we've all settled into our "new normal" – we’ll see that not all the changes that have occurred during this crisis have been bad.