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Ease the contact tracing process with SMS

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Trends & Innovations 5 min read | Sinch Messagemedia wrote in blog on June 5, 2020

While some essential sites have continued normal operations throughout COVID, this has posed a significant danger when attempting to control a highly infectious disease.

SMS has proved helpful in providing a contactless way for organizations and businesses of all kinds to monitor and control access to their venues, while also being able to trace sources of infections, and those who it may have infected.

What is contact tracing

Used most often in public health situations, it is a common technique for doctors and medical organizations to trace the spread of an infection.

For example, if you went to your doctor to check out potential symptoms and you are diagnosed with COVID,  your doctor will ask you to list out who you have been in contact with. Those people will be contacted and warned of a potential infection, while medical professionals will continue to trace its spread through those it may have infected further.

It’s important in the case of a highly infectious disease that it is able to be tracked, and for organizations to be able to work fast to contain it.

Try SMS for contact tracing.

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3 examples of SMS contact management

You can easily manage access to your business, as well as meet new regulations for contact tracing by simply using a contactless, automated SMS workflow. Here are three examples below, but feel free to adapt any of these to meet your own business requirements.

1. Restaurants

After having guests confirm their booking through SMS, set up this contact management workflow to help manage access to your venue.

Restaurant Contact Logging

2. Fitness centers

Before members start returning to the gym, let them know through this automated SMS workflow new access requirements. This works especially well for 24/7 gyms who do not always have someone on their front desk to help manage access.

Fitness Contact Logging

3. Offices

As we all return to work, this SMS flow will really help you keep track of employees as well as any visitors and guests coming into your office.

Office Contact Logging

DOWNLOAD: We’ve got a text-in number printable sheet you can use to alert customers about these new protocols.

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In-action: The challenge of contact tracing on construction sites

As New Zealand moved out of lockdown, there have been numerous challenges as a direct impact of COVID-19. While the easing of restrictions has been welcomed by many, others have had difficulties getting access to sites, monitoring those who are able to enter those sites, and meeting compliance around contact tracing in case of a possible infection. This created a lot anxiety not only for visitors but for those in charge of access.

A construction company came to a local SMS provider to find out how text messaging could help them. The construction company needed to know which contractors were on which sites, as well as when they accessed and exited the site for track and trace purposes. For many construction businesses, there are often a lot of people coming and going, and it can be difficult to trace who’s been where, what time and which days.

How an SMS workflow solved access management and contact racing

This is the workflow that the provider helped the construction company set up.

Contact Access Construction

1. At the beginning of the week, a text is sent out to anyone who’s going to be accessing their construction sites. This text sets out a new protocol, reminding all contractors that they must text the company using this number before they enter or exit a site in order in order to gain access.

2. When a contractor arrives at a site, they are directed to text: “In [name of site]” when entering and “Out [name of site]” before leaving.

3. Text automations are set up for two keywords: in and out. When a contractor texts ‘in’, an automatic reply is sent approving their entry. When a contractor texts ‘out’, an automatic reply is sent approving their exit from the site.

4. As soon as a reply arrives, the contractor can then exit or enter a site. Access is then recorded, and can be checked at any time by the company in their reporting.

5. In addition, these ‘approval’ texts can further remind contractors to follow certain safety protocols such as using hand sanitiser when entering or thanking them, as they exit, for helping their company maintain safety on site.

Why SMS contact tracing works

  • Contact tracing truly becomes contactless.

Before contractors had to pick up a pen and paper and sign a clipboard to let site managers know when they are exiting or entering a site, heightening potential infections due to frequent contact of a shared item. Now, contractors only have contact with their mobiles. In addition, there is no need for an access guard or supervisor to stand at entrances and exits to monitor access, helping to reduce human error and costs for the company.

  • Tracking and reporting is easy.

Following this simple workflow, businesses can not only automate their access management, but they can also action contact tracing of infections easily. If a contractor reports to them they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, the site managers could search through their SMS reports and figure out who may also be infected.

  • SMS works fast.

Should the above happen, site managers could use their bulk SMS subscriptions to warn all potentially infected workers immediately. With a 98% open rate, SMS works quickly and effectively in a crisis. Workers should be directed to promptly follow safety protocols such as isolating at home until they are sure they are not infected.

Try contact tracing using SMS.

Sign up to get a free account plus 25 free texts. No CC req.

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Is contract tracing or access management an issue you need to be able to monitor at your company? Contact us now so we can help you build an SMS contactless access workflow for your business.

Ready to roll?

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