Employers, are you ready for monkeypox?
IT Infrastructure is key to managing monkeypox exposures and cases
When the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency, employers quickly started developing response plans. Many of our clients’ occupational and employee health teams are applying what they learned during the Covid pandemic, including how to harness the IT infrastructure they have in place to monitor, track, manage and report on possible monkeypox exposures and cases.
Ebola (then Covid) laid the foundation for pandemic response plans
When the COVID pandemic began to unfold, one of our newest health system clients had just contracted to implement the Enterprise Health software solution for managing employee and occupational health. As the crisis escalated, the organization’s employee health services team asked us to set deployment of the full technology to the side and instead focus on deploying COVID-specific functionality. They needed to configure and deploy the technology at lightning speed to support the organization’s 116 facilities and more than 81,000 employees during this rapidly changing and uncertain period of time.
We worked with their employee health team to set up an employee portal for symptom monitoring, as well as a clinical application that enabled them to conduct case management for symptomatic or exposed employees. Our experience collaborating with a long-time client to develop pandemic response capability during the Ebola outbreak provided crucial foundational functionality. This enabled us to rapidly reconfigure health surveillance, employee and supervisor portals, tasking, case management, encounter template and reporting functionality to suit a wide variety of client use cases during the COVID crisis. Then, once COVID vaccines became available, we were able to configure our immunization management functionality to enable this client to use Enterprise Health to administer the first vaccine in the U.S.
Established functionality accelerates monkeypox response
Fast forward to when news first broke that monkeypox had begun to spread. The health system’s employee health services team was quick to collaborate with us to modify existing workflows within the solution to accommodate the new threat. The health system now uses a workflow in which exposed employees are manually enrolled in a monkeypox exposure program and notified to take a twice-daily symptom survey on the employee portal. The symptom survey contains logic that will automatically ‘clear’ or ‘not clear’ team members. Any team member whose survey is deemed ‘not cleared’ is tasked to the appropriate EHS clinic location for further evaluation. The clinic then uses the solution’s case management encounter to track the exposure, document any clinical data and the date the team member can be released from monitoring and un-enrolled from the exposure program. What’s more, as the monkeypox situation evolves, if the organization needs to adjust their response, the workflow can be quickly modified to accommodate changes.
We have all learned a lot over the last few years, including the importance of being prepared for whatever comes next. Fortunately, unlike when the COVID virus first began to spread, we know a lot more about how the monkeypox virus is transmitted and vaccines already exist. Still, this new challenge highlights the need for employers to be able to rapidly adjust in order to keep employees healthy and on the job.
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