Combatting COVID: Australians will admit to feeling ill if they knew they will be health screened

Homegrown technology HealthGate gives Australians peace of mind

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – TUESDAY 14 DECEMBER, 2020 – Australians say they would admit to experiencing flu-like symptoms if they knew they would be screened upon arrival at an event.

A new consumer survey conducted by Australian tech firm Elenium Automation, shows people are more likely to be honest about whether or not they feel unwell if they know they will undergo a health screening, either manually or via technology, before being allowed entry to an event.

88 per cent of the 1000+ national respondents said they would be more likely or extremely likely to answer pre-arrival health screening questions accurately if they were feeling unwell and knew they would be tested upon arrival.

“This data shows we must remain vigilant when it comes to health screenings in public places,” said Elenium Automation’s CEO and co-Founder, Aaron Hornlimann.

“But we need to start implementing health screening technology more widely, because it is touchless and unbiased. It relies on science and data to determine if someone poses a possible health risk.

Technology-based screening, such as those using touchless kiosks, significantly reduces the risk of frontline screeners becoming infected, but also of them passing on any infection to the public.

The survey also showed the vast majority – 83 per cent of Australians support the use of such new health screening technology in order to shield themselves and their loved ones from current or new infections.

74 per cent of respondents said they would feel safer in public places if they knew a venue was using innovative new types of screening technology that could anonymously detect symptoms of COVID-19.

Essendon-based Elenium Automation is a market leader in the aviation space where it has provided airports and airlines across the globe with complex passenger journey technology, helping millions of travellers get to their destinations safely for more than five years. They are now bringing their extensive experience in the highly regulated, safety and security driven aviation industry to the healthcare space in the form of HealthGate.

Developed and built in Australia, HealthGate kiosks use cutting-edge artificial intelligence to provide immediate, touchless screening in such places as shopping centres, schools and hospitals. HealthGate removes the need for time-wasting manual screening and frustrating queues, but also the possibility of infection by and of frontline health screeners.

“Our solution is not just about now and COVID-19. It’s all about making sure people feel confident and safe moving into the future. When there is a bad flu season or when another pandemic hits, we want to ensure we are proactive rather than reactive, and we don’t have the same impact we felt with COVID,” Mr Hornlimann said.

“Furthermore, our devices will influence and drive behavioural change in people. It will prevent someone who is feeling unwell from coming to work, knowing that they will be screened on arrival,” he said.

Rather than requiring the public to touch potentially infectious screens or buttons, HeathGate kiosks use voice to operate. They also recognise head movements, for example, saying yes or no to questions like: ‘Have you been in contact with a person who has been confirmed sick with COVID-19?’ or ‘Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms: Fever, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath?

The result is a speedy, unbiased and accurate snapshot of each person’s health at the moment they are scanned. Because it is entirely touchless, it will not pass on infection and removes frontline screeners from being infected by visitors. If the system doesn’t detect anything unusual, they will be allowed to enter the premises.

If elevated readings are detected, a qualified health professional will make a secondary assessment and determine whether or not they should be allowed in based on public health policy guidelines.

“Employee feedback from a number of recent HealthGate pilots in Melbourne described the technology as intuitive to understand and easy-to-use. A number of employees also described the touchless control technology as enjoyable to use,” said Mr Hornlimann.

Other data unveiled which out-of-home activities the public feel safest partaking in without precautions being implemented. At the bottom – places where people would feel most unsafe without safety precautions being taken – was attending aged care facilities and attending a concert. Unsurprisingly, the number one activity people feel is the least safe without safety precautions being taken is flying in a plane with others.

Topping the list of places where people feel safest include visiting a park, eating at a café and restaurant and shopping at large shopping centres.

“The good news is that both Avalon Airport and Etihad Airways will be rolling out HealthGate kiosks soon. This means passengers can travel with peace of mind knowing the person sitting next to them has been screened and isn’t exhibiting symptoms that might mean they’re ill or potentially infectious,” says Hornlimann.

The Elenium vital sign detection product is currently going through regulatory approval. Detecting vital signs cannot diagnose or confirm a specific illness.

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