Infection control precautions by Cohort Software

5 Infection control precautions that will reduce sickness absence in the workplace

Infection is caused by pathogens such as bacteria, viruses or fungi getting into or onto the body.

Infections can take some time before they multiply enough to cause symptoms of illness, which may cause an infected person to be spreading the disease without knowing.

Infection control in the workplace will prevent pathogens from encountering a person in the first place. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 2004 employers must provide a safe workplace for their employees and the implementation of infection control procedures will help.

Key precautions for infection control

  1. Hand hygiene

The best way to prevent an infection from spreading is good hand hygiene. Hands contaminated with pathogens are often picked up from contaminated cleaning cloths, passed onto clean hands and transferred onto a variety of clean surfaces. Therefore, having clean hands is one of the most effective ways of preventing infection from spreading. Hand hygiene should be regularly carried out in all work environments according to Hand Hygiene Australia’s Five moments for hand hygiene.

  1. Using personal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) refers to anything used or worn to minimise risk to workers of cross infection. PPE includes items like gloves, boots, goggles or hard hats depending on the industry. PPE is often implemented in order to work along-side higher level control measures or when an organisation has no other safety measures in place.

  1. Safe handling and disposal of sharps

Medical sharps devices refer to any sharp objects such as needles or scalpels and other tools that are used to cut or go into the skin. Learning how to handle sharps correctly is important in minimising the risk of infections being spread across the workforce. A presentation by Remedy’s RX provides a comprehensive guide in the safe handling and disposing of sharps.

  1. Environmental cleaning

Environmental cleaning is a key principle within infection control. All environments within healthcare settings need to be cleaned using appropriate products. Environmental surface cleaning is a process that removes any material such as blood, soil and micro-organisms from a surface using water and other products. Clean surfaces minimise the risk of transfer of micro-organisms from one person/object to another, thereby reducing the risk of cross-infection.

  1. Signage

The appropriate signs should be positioned in clear sight. Signage ensures staff or visitors do not enter an area without the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care have developed appropriate signage and they can be downloaded directly from here.

For further information on infection control and prevention please visit: National Infection Guidelines by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

Cohort - The Occupational Health Software will enable you to reduce your sickness absence rate and the time this takes to monitor, track and control, hopefully allowing more time to be spent on alternative campaigns, problem staff and adding true value to your business. Check out Cohort’s modules and functionality.

work related ill health

Causes of work-related ill-health and injury and how to improve it

Work-related ill health and injury are estimated to cost the UK economy £14.6 billion a year.

Work-related ill health and injury is any health condition or injury caused or made worse by your job. For example, injuries such as a slip or a trip or slower injuries such as the development of repetitive strain or work-related stress.

In a recent report by the health and safety executive (HSE) states that 1.4 million workers are suffering from work-related ill health (new or long-standing) and 26.8 million working days lost due to work-related ill health in 2017/18.

Work related ill health

                                       HSE (Health and Safety Executive)

Work-related stress, depression or anxiety have been the most common type of work-related ill health with 595,000 workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety.

Prevent work-related ill health and injury by using the following methods:

Mental health

A recent study by Acas states that mental health costs employers in the UK £30 billion every year through lost production, recruitment and absence. There is often a lack of understanding when it comes to mental health and how common is it in society today. Therefore, understanding mental health at work is crucial.

Providing staff with mental health awareness education and training will ensure that staff have a good understanding of mental health and will also promote a positive environment. An employer can also publicise its commitment to promoting positive mental health across the organisation, this will promote a normalised culture to mental health and will encourage staff to talk to their managers and colleagues.

Tackling mental health will bring many benefits to an employer such as increases in staff productivity, higher levels of staff retention and happier staff.

Physical health

Employers can encourage staff to increase the amount of physical activity they do. Good physical health and wellbeing among staff can reduce levels of sickness, boost energy levels and increase concentration. Employers should develop an organisation-wide plan to encourage staff to be more physically active by encouraging them to move around more at work or set goals on how far they walk and cycle.

Other inexpensive and effective ways employers can promote physical activity is by supporting sports and activity clubs such as football, walking and jogging groups, purchasing corporate memberships of local authority sporting facilities or health clubs and providing bicycle racks to encourage people to cycle to work etc.

There are numerous ways in which an organisation can promote physical activity and most of them are inexpensive and easy to implement. Employers will benefit from reduced sickness absence rates, increased productivity, lower staff turnover and high morale if staff are physically active.

Good work-life balance

A fast-paced work environment often forces staff to work quite long hours. There are various steps an employer can take in promoting a healthy work-life balance, a good starting point would be to acknowledge the importance of a work-life balance.

An efficient way for employers to promote a healthy work-life balance is to ask staff exactly what they need. For example, having staff fill out a survey about various factors about the company such as hours worked, flexible scheduling and support for working parents. This will help an employer identify areas of improvement.

Employers can also embrace “flexitime” as a method to promote a healthy work-life balance. Flexitime allows staff to have flexible work hours or days. Staff can space out their weekly hours, for example, 10 hours on Tuesday but 6 on Wednesday, but the total weekly hours must be made up, which on average is 35-40 hours per week. Flexitime will allow staff to have a life outside of work and promotes a healthy work-life balance which will reduce the levels of stress or anxiety within the workplace.

Cohort – The Occupational Health Software will enable you to reduce your sickness absence rate and the time this takes to monitor, track and control, hopefully allowing more time to be spent on alternative campaigns, problem staff and adding true value to your business. Check out Cohort’s modules and functionality.

The ageing workforce and how technology can help

The ageing workforce and how technology can help businesses prepare

The ageing workforce is the part of working individuals that have reached a certain age and beyond, typically those who are 60 years or older.

According to Helpage, 1 in 10 people are over 60 years old, by 2050 1 in 5 people will be over 60 and people aged over 60 will outnumber children ages 0-14 by 2050.

An ageing workforce may bring its challenges to any industry particularly the manufacturing industry but embracing technology within the workplace can help reduce the strain on older workers.

How technology can help the ageing workforce:

  1. The Internet of Things

The internet of things (IoT) refers to the growing network of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and have the functionality to transfer data over a network.

By using IoT enabled devices for two-way communication, workers with years of experience can share knowledge across the workforce without being onsite. This is an efficient and effective way to train younger staff members.

With its capability to integrate electronic smart devices via the web, the internet of things helps people manage work conditions remotely and helps to create a smartphone-based workplace and other aspects of a modern digital workplace.

  1. Machine learning

Machine learning is a branch of computers that learn and act like humans and improve their learning over time. They are based on the idea that systems can learn from data, identify patterns and make decisions with minimal human intervention.

The ageing workforce can benefit from machine learning by being less reliant on the experience of employees since machine learning can use automated methods to delegate and complete tasks.

Most industries have recognised the benefits of machine learning technology and are able to work more efficiently and gain a significant advantage over competitors.

  1. Automation

Automation uses technology to control and monitor the production of goods and services. It often performs tasks that were previously performed by humans and is being used in various industries such as transport, manufacturing and information technology.

Automating specific jobs saves time, cost and allows newer employees to be taken on board in a matter of weeks without the need for extensive training. By training employees on how to use automated systems, more employees can learn a variety of skills and younger employees will have less reliance on the older worker for training and knowledge.

  1. Gamification

This involves the process of taking something that already exists, such as a website or enterprise application and integrating game mechanics into it to encourage participation.

Gamification technology can track the skills of employees, allowing employees to earn points and celebrate milestones. Therefore, gamification can reduce the pressure of an ageing workforce by tracking the training of all employees with a focus on younger employees.

Employers can use gamification technology to access the skills gap in their organisation and ensure the gap between older and younger workers is being reduced.

With Cohort’s unique functionality you will be able to reduce your sickness absence rate and the time this takes to monitor, track and control, hopefully allowing more time to be spent on alternative campaigns, problem staff and adding true value to your business. Check out Cohort’s modules and functionality.


Technology improves employee absence

Causes of employee absence & how technology can improve it

The cost of employee absence rises to £18 billion in the UK with mental health being a significant contributor.

A recent report by FirstCare reveals workplace absence is costing the UK economy £18 billion in lost productivity each year. This has been an increasing trend and has seen workplace absence rising since 2011.

A study by CIPD highlights that UK employers can expect to pay at least £500 per member of staff annually. According to the Office for National Statistics,  “137 million working days were lost because of sickness or injury in the UK.” This is the equivalent of 4.3 days per worker. There are also other costs of employee absence that are non-financial, but still affect profitability such as low employee morale, management frustration and negative customer feedback etc.

The main causes of employee absence:

Mental health is a significant contributor to employee absence in the UK and has increased by 71.9% since 2011. The report by FirstCare reveals that mental health issues within 30-40-year olds are the most common. This is because of increased financial pressures and the demands of balancing work life with family life.

The NHS has the highest levels of employee absence of any sector in the UK. This equates to a cost of £2.34 billion to the UK economy. Healthcare assistants and other support staff had the highest sickness absence rate by a group at 5.90%, next were the ambulance staff at 5%.

Another significant contributor to employee absence is an ageing workforce. Health issues commonly affect most 50-60-year olds, therefore time off to recover from surgery results in a rise of 0.63 to 0.84 days lost per employee which is the equivalent to over two years of lost productivity of an organisation which employees 1,000 people.

5 ways technology can improve employee absence:

1) Valuable Data: Data gathered from wearables can help organisations make a business case for employee wellness programs. Digital devices such as the Apple Watch and others can provide employers with large amounts of data which help to evaluate the return on investment for wellness programs.

2) Monitor absence to detect trends: Using software to keep a record of absences will give you an idea of certain trends of individual habits that would be worthy of intervention.

3) Evaluate real-time data: Using technology whether it be apps or wearables, can help reduce employee absence and increase work-life balance. Evaluating real-time data of employee’s physical activity, sleep patterns and stress levels can help employers to find causes of workplace absence and potentially prevent long-term employee absence.

4) Big Data strategies: Understanding what is really going on with attendance and staffing data across the organisation and how it correlates to other variables will give organisations the insights and predictive tools to fix the problem and optimise internal practices.

5) Use of smartphone apps: There is a wide range of smartphone apps to help with everything from meditation to monitoring pulse and heart rate. These apps apply feedback methods to help users maintain calm, practice deep breathing, soothe tensions and thus improving employee stress levels.

With Cohort’s unique functionality you will be able to reduce your sickness absence rate and the time this takes to monitor, track and control, hopefully allowing more time to be spent on alternative campaigns, problem staff and adding true value to your business. Check out Cohort’s modules and functionality.


technology and automation in healthcare

Technology and automation in healthcare - 5 key benefits

Technology and automation solutions are transforming processes within the healthcare industry.

As technology and automation develop at a rapid rate healthcare organisations will be able to deliver increasingly better levels of patient care and increase cost savings. Automation was a term used in other industries, such as factories or manufacturers but advancements in healthcare technology over the last 10 years have enabled healthcare automation to be the norm. An article published by ISA Intuitive Solutions.

Healthcare is a key topic in the technology industry. There have been suggestions about how to best cut expenses within the industry but the one that holds the most promise is the use of some of the latest technology. Automation, when applied, can help healthcare organisations achieve two main goals: reducing healthcare costs and improving patient outcomes. Many daily processes can be automated this allows staff to focus on other more productive activities such as strengthen patient relationships and increasing patient satisfaction.

The 5 benefits of technology & automation in the healthcare industry:

1) Improved Quality: Automated processes are usually more reliable than tasks handled by humans. People can make mistakes that computers usually don’t, therefore, the data is much more reliable and of a higher quality.

2) Labor Savings: Automation usually replaces manually intensive tasks. This saves a lot of time and often it doesn’t eliminate employees but rather allows them to focus on other roles that they have been trained on.

3) Patient Volume: Healthcare organisations can manage a far higher number of patients by using technology and automation. Automating processes will improve the overall patient experience by making patients feel much more involved in their own care.

4) Data and Analysis: Automation delivers data that can be used for analysis and development. It’s important to collect data in order to analyse and keep track of patient records, changes in treatment and analysis of medical records.

5) Increased productivity: For example, an occupational health therapist that has an automation tool is able to handle a larger amount of patients at any one time.

In healthcare, technology can help sustain health care systems, improve relationships between medical professionals and patients and provide cost-effective ways to improve internal processes.

Many jobs will be taken over by robots and automation in the coming years. However, automation will create opportunities for people and healthcare will change. The tasks and procedures that have the potential to be automated will be.

With advancing technologies, it’s necessary to collect data and open up ways for patients to be more hands-on in their own care. Automation is not only beneficial but it is becoming progressively necessary.

Cohort Software the leading edge occupational health system not only automates the common tasks associated with employee sickness absence, but it also regulates procedures and allows for easy reporting to highlight trends and areas for attention. Learn more.

6 Steps to manage and reduce employee sickness

6 Steps to manage and reduce employee sickness

Employee sickness is an inevitability, but it is vital to maintain a continuously healthy and productive workforce.

Managing employee sickness is often difficult for employers and can result in high costs if not managed effectively. It is important that employers implement staff absence management policies to manage workplace sickness reasonably and fairly.

1. Sickness absence policy:

Having a clear and concise sickness absence policy is the first step in effectively managing absence at work. A sickness absence policy will allow the employer to list important information related to workplace sickness, such as information on sick pay, the organisation's commitment to helping employees return to work, arrangements for recording sickness absence and procedures for keeping in contact with staff on sick leave and what is expected from the employee.

2. Reporting absence:

It is important that employees understand the procedure when reporting an absence. This should be included in the absence policy and be easily accessible by all employees. Although it is often tempting to allow sickness absence to be paid as annual leave, this will make it difficult to manage employee absence patterns. Personal sickness is the only type of absence that qualifies for Statutory Sick Pay. If other absences are categorised as sickness, the absence records within the organisation will not be reliable this can result in staff being treated unfairly.

3. Return to work interviews:

UK organisations rank return to work interviews among the most effective methods of managing short-term and long-term absence (CIPD Absence Management Survey 2016). Return to work interviews carry a clear message that absence is managed efficiently and often reduces unacceptable short-term absence. When it comes to long-term absence, return to work interviews help organisations to identify the employee’s situations, assess their needs and plan a phased return to work if required. Return to work interviews should also be a part of the organisation's sickness absence policy.

4. Occupational health support:

Organisations that provide a workplace occupational health service can provide professional advice to help and protect the health of employees. Occupational health services will promote and maintain the health and well-being of employees as well as ensuring a positive relationship between the employee and the workplace. Occupational health professionals can help with return to work programmes, provide advice to staff that are unable to work due to sickness and can support employers to carry out reasonable adjustments – such as modified workstations etc.

5. Recording and managing staff absence:

As well as explaining how to report an absence, organisations should also provide employees with guidance on procedures for recording and managing an absence. Recording sickness absence can help with minimising the disruption caused by absences, e.g. arranging cover for absent employees, will also enable an organisation to identify patterns or causes of absence that may be work-related and will help in determining whether the employee requires any return to work adjustments.

6. Employing a monitoring system:

Manual methods such as paper documentation can be highly inefficient through the likelihood of paper being misplaced, easily manipulated, vulnerability to human error and time-consuming to complete, which simply adds to the cost of absence.

Cohort Software the leading edge occupational health system not only automates the common tasks associated with employee sickness absence, it regulates procedures and allows for easy reporting to highlight trends and areas for attention. Cohort’s unique functionality will enable you to reduce your sickness absence rate and the time it takes to monitor, track and control. Get in touch today to arrange a demo of Cohort Version 10.

Investing in Occupational Health

The global case for investing in occupational health

The global burden of Occupational Health (OH) issues is considerable. Fatal and non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses worldwide equate to a cost of approximately €2680 billion, equivalent to 4% of the global GDP or the entire GDP of Great Britain.[i] Consequently, organisations, their workforce, and society have to bear a substantial cost.

The Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM), the International SOS Foundation and KU Leuven University have recently launched “Occupational Health: the Global Value and Evidence”. This new whitepaper discusses the value of Occupational Health (OH) from a global perspective and provides a synthesis of global evidence on the effectiveness of OH interventions and cost effectiveness.

Work related health issues are far reaching, through the impact on organisations, employees and their families and on the wider community and ultimately the economy. Effects are across industries and ailments, from the impacts of a bad flu season[ii] to accidents and injuries. Many of these issues are preventable or at least can be reduced, hence the enormous potential of Occupational Health programmes. This report provides comprehensive evidence of significant positive health related impact and return on investment of successful Occupational Health interventions.

The paper demonstrates that Occupational Health services have a clear value: they improve the health of the working population; contribute to the prevention of work-related illnesses; prevent avoidable sickness absence through the provision of early interventions for those who develop a health condition; and increase the efficiency and productivity of organisations. They can also play a major part in protecting and revitalising the global economy

Specifically first, the benefits of investing in OH are improvements in employee health, reductions in absenteeism, presenteeism and healthcare costs, and in improvements in reputation. The overall health-related impact and return-on-investment of well-designed OH programmes is positive for a wide variety of interventions in different countries”, the report argued. There is also strong moral rationale for investing in OH.

Finally, there is an opportunity by taking occupational health beyond minimum national legal requirements, and offering guidance to others to expand the value of occupational health to these dimensions in the future,” the report pointed out.

For further details please visit:

Employee wellness

Employee wellness programs - understanding the benefits

Employees wellness programs can vary across organisations but they all aim to increase productivity in the workplace and reduce ill health-related absenteeism.

A correctly designed employee wellness program can increase productivity, boost morale and reduce stress. When you have healthy employees your company feels the benefits.

Wellness programs often help employees make smart and healthy choices that can reduce health care costs and diminish absenteeism. The costs of implementing a wellness program are low compared to the benefits.

Definition of wellness

The term “wellness” is often misunderstood. When it comes to wellness programs, it refers to the process towards becoming aware of unhealthy habits and learning what you can do to increase your health. Therefore, it’s not simply “being well” it’s about working towards a better living.

A wellness program takes the values and applies them to a set of principles, incentives and evaluations that are then implemented company-wide to improve the health and morale of the workforce.

An example could be to have healthy snacks at lunch. With a limited time for lunch, many employees may feel that they have to eat fast food when buying their lunch. A lunch and snack program will appeal to all employees since everyone has to eat.

Typical programs will include stress management, blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening, smoking cessation programs, physical fitness and nutrition.

What are the benefits of employee wellness programs?

  • A decrease in sick and absent days
  • A reduction in the number of work-related injuries
  • A reduction in the number of repetitive strain injuries
  • An increase in employee productivity
  • Increase employee recruitment and retention

Reports also show an increase in well-being, self-image and self-esteem, while at the same time resulting in a decrease in stress.

Employee wellness in the NHS

A recent article by the AHSN Network highlights poor staff health and wellbeing has been estimated to cost the UK economy around £100 billion a year. The annual cost annual cost of absence per employee per year within the public healthcare sector was £1,153 with 1.3 million employees. Reducing NHS staff absence by a third could save the NHS £500 million per year.

The health and wellbeing of NHS staff is important in delivering a high quality of patient care. Workplace incentives have been identified as a priority of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, with a need for the NHS to set a national example.

Various employee wellness programs have been piloted in the NHS over the years. Results were very positive with significant improvements in a range of physiological, mental health and lifestyle variables.

Staff feedback was also very positive 95% reported making positive changes to their lifestyle, including exercise, weight management, healthy eating, quitting smoking and mental wellbeing etc. NHS staff agreed that it would be a valuable workplace benefit.

Learn how Cohort, The Leading Occupational Health Software Solution can deliver efficiencies, cost savings and increase employee well-being within your organisation.

Healthy workforce initiatives

Healthy workforce - 5 simple steps to achieving them for your business

Healthy workforce initiatives provide businesses with benefits such as increased staff productivity through to reduction of workplace absences related to poor health

It is now widely known amongst many businesses that having a healthy workforce increases productivity, efficiency, morale and has an overall positive impact on an organisation's culture. Healthy employees are more likely to remain loyal and are less likely to need time off.

The recent government Thriving At Work report stated that the cost of employers failing to address the issue of mental health at work is costing the UK between £33bn and £42bn a year. In response to such trends, there is now a greater focus on businesses to design corporate wellness programmes to build more productive work cultures which support employee wellness initiatives.

Such initiatives are helping to reduce work-related stress and encouraging employees to take a more proactive part in their health and well being.

Research published by EHS Today highlighted how integrating worker wellness into a company’s core values is becoming just as essential as workplace safety.

Employers are increasingly having to offer attractive benefit packages in order to attract and retain their top talent. A Glassdoor survey found that 4 in 5 workers want benefits more than a pay rise. It is no coincidence that companies are now offering employee incentives and benefits like free meals, gyms, cinemas and even haircuts in the office to improve workplace wellness.

By promoting good health in the workplace and creating a positive environment for workers, employers can reduce employee turnover and recruitment costs. There are some simple practical steps employers can take to have an effective, healthy and more productive workforce:

1. Flexibility: Having flexible working patterns can ensure the workforce are more productive and are less likely to feel stressed and tired. Statistics have shown that people who work from home on occasion are more positive, and are more likely to not take time off.

2. Promoting healthy activities: Encourage healthy habits and behaviours. For example, providing the workforce with information about healthy and nutritionally balanced food can help prevent illness. Steps like providing a fridge for staff to bring in healthy lunches, introducing weekly fruit deliveries and promoting activity with lunchtime yoga sessions and company bike schemes.

3. Health checks: Promoting routine medical care is a good way to keep a workforce healthy. Educating employees on the importance of routine visits to their primary care provider and not just when they are sick. Employers can help staff to act to prevent the spread of germs by having a flu clinic at the workplace.

4. Staff incentives: Wellness incentives encourage employees to take better care of their health, increase motivation, productivity and morale. Examples of staff benefits are: healthcare plans, discount gym memberships, dental insurance and vision insurance.

5. Review your management style: An absent manager can negatively impact employee wellbeing, leading to feelings of disengagement. Being present encourages engagement amongst employees and getting involved in your teams working lives will result in happier employees. Younger employees like to feel part of a team and that their ideas and opinions are being listened to by senior people.

By encouraging and promoting a healthy & happy workforce, you can improve:

  • Productivity
  • Staff morale
  • Employee engagement
  • Business performance
  • This will then enable employers to reduce:
  • Sick pay costs
  • Accidents and work-related ill health
  • Overworked employees

By adopting steps such as the above, you can create a healthy workforce that is motivated, happy and committed to doing their best.

About Cohort Software

For 37 years, Cohort Software has continually innovated to become the market leading provider of occupational health software solutions. On average, customers achieve a 50% efficiency saving using the Cohort system to streamline their departmental occupational health processes through powerful workflow automation, which enables users to focus on more value-added business tasks in their daily schedules.

Follow Cohort Software on LinkedIn

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is transforming healthcare

Artificial Intelligence will transform healthcare services for the better

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been tipped to take over many work sectors in the future and healthcare is no exception. A recent article published by Forbes highlighted that the market for AI in healthcare is projected to reach $6 billion over the next three years.

A key factor behind all the change is the use of technology to reduce the effort required to complete high volume tasks.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence is an area of computer science that focuses on the creation of intelligent machines that work like humans. It has many applications across industries that include finance, transportation and healthcare.

Some common applications of Artificial Intelligence include:

  • Face, speech and handwriting recognition
  • Virtual reality and image processing
  • Language processing
  • Chatbots and translation
  • Email spam filtering
  • Data mining

The emergence of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare

The occupational health sector is already seeing the benefits of technology as many back-office processes are now increasingly being automated, resulting in greater service efficiency and reduction in operational costs. Healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists are now equipped with more time to focus on value-added tasks in their busy schedules.

Recent healthcare technology implementations such as the Electronic Staff Record (ESR) in the NHS, allows medical assessments, immunisations and checks to be recorded and monitored to manage the health clearance process for employees.

Artificial intelligence can organise patient routes better and provide industry professionals with all the information they need to make a good decision. It has already found areas in healthcare to revolutionise starting from the design of treatment plans to assisting with the streamlining of repetitive jobs.

One of the main applications of Artificial Intelligence can be found in data management. The AI research branch of the search giant Google, launched the DeepMind Health project, which is used to mine data of medical records to provide better and faster health services.

Similarly, IBM launched an algorithm called Medical Sieve. It is a project to build the next generation “cognitive assistance” with analytical, reasoning capabilities and a range of clinical knowledge. It can analyse radiology images to spot and detect problems faster in a more reliable manner.

There is little doubt that sophisticated learning and Artificial Intelligence algorithms will find a place in healthcare over the coming years. However, there are still many things humans can do better than machines. For example; machines have made little progress in tackling novel situations, they are unable to process things that they have not seen many times before. Humans are good at thinking outside the box; seeing connections when they are not there. In short, humans are good at seeing the bigger picture.


One of the main challenges AI faces in healthcare is widespread clinical adoption. To fully realise the value of AI, the healthcare industry needs to grow a workforce that is knowledgeable in this area, so they are comfortable using and working with it. Technology moves at a very fast pace and many people are unable to keep up with the latest trends and advancements due to lack of understanding and skills.

After saying this, AI is gaining traction in many fields and has the capability to have a huge and positive impact on healthcare.  A recent global AI Impact report conducted by PWC highlighted healthcare as being one of the primary industries that will put practical AI to work in 2018. The report also discussed how the value of AI lies not in creating new industries, but rather empowering current employees to add more value to existing enterprises through three main ways:

  • Automating processes that are too complex for older technologies
  • Identifying trends in old data to create value for business
  • Providing predictive intelligence to strengthen human decisions

Business leaders do not need to adopt AI for the sake of it. However, when they look for the best solution for their business need, AI will increasingly have a role to play. For example, does the company want to automate their occupational health process, reduce the reliance on paper-based systems, and improve data reporting or compliance functions? If the answer to these questions is yes, AI will likely form part of the solution.

Technology will make many jobs redundant, others easier, and create some new ones along the way, so it becomes important for us to see the potential of AI to augment and enhance our work roles, and not as a total replacement for what we know.

About Cohort Software

For 37 years, Cohort Software has continually innovated to become the market leading provider of occupational health software solutions. On average, customers achieve a 50% efficiency saving using the Cohort system to streamline their departmental occupational health processes through powerful workflow automation, which enables users to focus on more value-added tasks in their daily schedules.

Follow Cohort Software on LinkedIn