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It may not feel like this for many, but our reality is still the beginning of the pandemic. Many regions are at the beginning of multiple outbreaks, others are currently pushing down the first wave and are now loosening up social measures. We all are working on long-term strategies to live with Covid-19 and future pandemics.

We have to learn from the first wave and be better prepared with test and contact tracing strategies, a good public health system, good inpatient care and we have to protect people in health professions and vulnerable groups. Governments, companies and all other stakeholders in societies have to get together.

This project is being supported by the One Billion Lives initiative from Adaire Fox Martin and had the honour to be awarded the first project under the SAP One Billion Lives Sprint Against COVID-19.

The situation today

Pandemic can currently only be mitigated by social distancing, quarantine with potentially massive economic and social impact. Since we went public with this concept we talked to many companies that strive to safely organize work and safely conduct meetings, events and work shifts. They also need provable records to best support the critical contact tracing process to break chains of infections, but also to mitigate liabilities.

Pandemic Cohort Management is a software solution supporting organizations and companies in their combat against spreading corona virus infections among their staff, customers, and business partners while maximizing social and economic activities and minimize the risk of pandemic pushes.

This can be achieved by identifying key cohorts according to individual health statuses and allowing people in certain cohorts to personally interact for social or business activities, while other cohorts are kept distanced safely. The central goal of the initial solution is to safely plan and schedule meetings, events, and work shifts under consideration of the risk profiles and health status of individual participants.

For example a person that has been tested negative for the virus and traced from that moment on without warnings and who has been in regions with small infection rates has a very different risk profile than somebody travelling, who also is not tested or traced.  An organisation with a lot of infections actually could offer for those infected but with no symptoms to actually build a cohort that can work together. As our knowledge of COVID 19 matures, we hopefully will better understand levels and duration of immunity and include this knowledge into the calculation.

While these risk profiles initially are no rocket science, the complexity to do this right and manage over time is a non trivial task with high risk, if errors occur. A software based solution is needed therefore.

The Cohort Concept explained

A basic use case is organising meetings:

In our new Reality with an invitation, visitors and employees are routinely handed out a paper form and being asked to fill in their contact details, date, time and very likely are being informed about certain rules of conduct set by local governments and the inviting party. These are required to be signed prior to the meeting. The form is kept for a period of 2-4 weeks to be able to support contact tracing by health officials, if an infection case occurs.

In our desired future: The solution replaces this errors prone, mostly paper-form driven process. To register with a site in order to participate locally in a meeting becomes a simple digital process. It provides participants with a risk assessment for themselves and their compatibility with other participant´s status, mutually increasing the safety for all participants. The critical contact tracing process in case of infections can be digitally supported for health officials. All steps are highly automated: The overall process of setting up meetings becomes much more efficient and convenient, updating risk information and to comply with privacy law is highly automated and safer. Participants feel safer, they know their privacy is being respected by design.

Solution Overview

The logic behind cohorts can be applied on many workforce related applications, e.g. for planning work shifts and contingency workers.

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact the author of this blog post.

Also please note that SAP has joined the Open COVID pledge and has provided access to patents to fight COVID-19. So if you are interested to implement cohort management in your solutions we are happy to talk to you.