Hospitals can now warn employees about possible COVID exposure via text

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Communication technology company FastCommand has debuted a new smart alert program that allows hospital HR departments to create and distribute warning letters to staff cell phones alerting them about possible COVID-19 exposure.

“Thousands of hospital HR teams now face new compliance guidelines that require hospitals to urgently send out notifications to all staff,” Kasey Sellers, marketing director of FastCommand, said in a statement. “This pandemic has forced HR directors to become cyber-communication specialists to maintain staffing needs and meet new COVID-19 notification requirements.”

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Trumbull Memorial Hospital, a healthcare provider located in Warren, Ohio, is already utilizing the tool, which can be used to send alerts about other emergencies besides COVID.

“Natural disasters, hacks, and pandemics can quickly shut down the hospitals' operations,” Dale Bungard, Trumbull Memorial Hospital's director of emergency services, said in the same statement. “With [this tool], our operations are coordinated through staff phones to undertake multiple tasks, including using staff remote devices to admit patients even if the hospital computers are down.”

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HR departments have become even more reliant on technology as staff need to stay connected in an increasingly remote work environment. Indeed, 42% of the U.S. workforce has been working from home since the start of the pandemic, according to a study conducted by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

In an effort to stay connected and support employees, companies have been utilizing apps and other technologies to provide workers with the tools and resources they need not just to get their work done, but to also care for their physical and mental well-being.

Lyra Health, a mental benefits provider, has added the Calm app to their benefit offerings to help employees manage the added stress of COVID-19. Over 1.5 million employees will have access to the popular resiliency training app. Catapult Health, a provider of onsite and virtual preventive healthcare, has launched a new program called VirtualCheckup, through which employers can offer preventive care to their employees and family members anytime and anywhere.

“It’s about how to come up with and quickly implement really interesting technologies that help encourage the connectedness and engagement of employees,” Matt Fairhurst, CEO of Skedulo, a software and workforce management company, said in a previous report. “Not as a method of discipline, but simply as a way to lean into the expectations that remote workforces have — which is an incredible desire for engagement and connectivity across the organization.”

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COVID-19 Employee communications