As more and more people are infected either knowingly or unknowingly by COVID-19 and begin their recovery, for some, questions about their ability to return to some sort of a normal routine after coronavirus remain unanswered.
This can only happen based on two key factors:
- Knowing if you have had the virus
- Proving that you have had the virus
Asking the NHS to produce more documentation is not feasible in the current situation where understandably, the priority needs to remain on caring for individuals.
There are many things to be considered which will depend on national policy and movement, but Patients Know Best (PKB) wants to outline how a PKB digital patient-held record or ‘passport’ can be used to support our return to ‘normal life’ after COVID-19.
How do people know they have had COVID-19?
To know if you have had COVID-19, you need to have had a current infection test, or an immune response test. Currently, only diagnostic infection tests are available in the UK and you only get these if:
- you have been in hospital and have a confirmed diagnosis (via a diagnostic test), or
- you have been tested due to your line of work (via a diagnostic test).
In the future, should an acceptable immune response antibodies test be found, these may also be used.
How does this allow us to return to some level of normal functioning in society?
There are many examples where staff are unable to work due to an ‘unknown’ diagnosis, or unable to leave the house due to the social isolation rules in place, not knowing if they have had the virus or not (either following a period of illness or otherwise). Being able to give individuals a way of proving either a previous diagnosis or proof of antibodies would allow a more managed approach for industries who are currently unable to work to begin their transition back to business as usual as appropriate.
All this relies on data being known, data being accessible and data being shared – by the individual to whom the data belongs to, in a way that can be recognised by those who are tasked to monitor this – companies, public transport and the police, for example.
Without a recognised antibodies test currently available, this can only apply to those that have had a diagnostic test. For all those who are being tested and return a positive diagnosis of coronavirus, the results are processed by a lab and returned to the requesting authority. In the UK, PKB records receive 700,000+ test results each month. These hospitals can immediately release results to individual record holders as digital documentation to demonstrate their resistance – securely provided by an NHS organisation via PKB. This can be used by patients who return home or wish to return to work, by sharing proof of their medical history or lab results as and when required.
Once the antibodies testing process has been established and is implemented, results from this can also be recorded in PKB. As these may not be processed by the labs and sent as a laboratory test result, these may need to be recorded in other ways. PKB allows information to be manually recorded in an individual patient record by a professional in the user interface. This serves the same purpose as an integrated diagnostic result in that the patient is able to carry medically-verified, digital proof of their medical history.
For more information about PKB digital patient-held records, email us firstname.lastname@example.org.