COVID-19 has changed life for everyone, but things are especially challenging for the essential workers who put their lives at risk every day in order to minimize the pain of this pandemic for the rest of us.

As health officials continue to learn about the virus, essential businesses need to implement measures to protect their staff and the general public. Whether that means making sweeping changes to their business models or adapting safety protocols into existing workflows, companies must be nimble in order to continue providing their goods and services with minimal disruption.

Checklists are simple but effective tools that can empower essential workplaces to accomplish this. Experience and Atul Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto tell us that checklists are the key to boosting performance and preventing catastrophic failures. In fact, one study revealed that adding checklists to ICU procedures in Michigan hospitals saved more than 1,500 lives (and an estimated $175 million) in just 18 months.

Checklists have been proven to save lives in hospitals.

In addition to healthcare professionals, the right checklists can ensure that essential workers across all industries are adequately protected by following sanitization and safety guidelines — from the utility workers keeping the lights on to the grocery workers helping us keep food on our tables to the government employees ensuring relief checks are sent and small-business loans are approved.

Federal government workers are a great example. A recent op-ed piece in the Washington Post by governors Gretchen Whitmer and Larry Hogan cited the ability to keep the almost 400,000 federal health workers functioning without becoming ill as a major factor in helping fight against the virus and its economic impact.

The devil is in the details. And the details are in the checklists. Yet the effectiveness of checklists is determined by the speed in which they can be defined and deployed, the extent to which they can be digitized, and the rate at which the data they collect can be tabulated and actioned. COVID-19 is an efficient and effective adversary. Our response to protecting essential workspaces must be just as agile.

Mobile technology increases speed and accountability

While we know that checklists can help prevent disastrous mistakes, implementing them effectively poses a challenge for many organizations, even after overcoming institutional resistance.

Using traditional pen-and-paper checklists is a cumbersome process that lacks the speed and transparency the current environment demands. Once a checklist is completed on paper, the form must then be submitted and catalogued before any sort of analysis can even begin to take place. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s time that nobody has.

Digitizing checklists makes the transition — and execution — easier.

With a no-code data collection platform like Fulcrum, organizations can quickly build and deploy digital checklists for users to complete on the Android or iOS devices they are already carrying.

Users can collect and share data (including photos, video, and signatures) in real time with just a few clicks. In cases of low or no internet connectivity, inspectors can complete checklists as usual, and the data is stored locally on the device until it can be synced to the cloud. Once it syncs, the data is immediately available to anyone with access to the account.

This provides organizations with visibility into operations so managers can recognize potential problems before they materialize or pinpoint gaps in the process to determine which customers or staff are at risk.

Cleaning inspection checklist

For example, suppose you’re monitoring cleaning and safety procedures at a chain of grocery stores and you notice that photos aren’t being uploaded or checklists are not being completed at one location. You could take proactive steps to ensure the staff is properly trained and is following protocols before those employees or customers become sick.

Fulcrum is intuitive and user-friendly, so it’s easy to onboard new staff as you scale operations. And as needs evolve or new protocols are recommended, your checklists can be modified quickly and easily, and the changes will be reflected instantly on the mobile devices associated with your account.

Fulcrum offering COVID-19 data collection support

For organizations with data-collection needs related to the current pandemic, we are offering the Fulcrum platform at no cost for an extended period of 90 days.

We’ve built several app templates for specific use cases, including a cleaning inspection checklist, hand hygiene checklist, and apps for hospitals and outpatient facilities to prepare for and respond to the arrival of patients with the coronavirus.

You may download any of the templates in our COVID-19 app gallery for immediate deployment or modify them to suit your needs. If you need assistance building a custom app for your COVID-19 response, just contact us.

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About the author

Fulcrum is a field inspection management platform built to streamline safety and quality processes, field operations, and asset inspections, especially for mobile teams.

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