COVID-19 Business Continuity Planning

Operational resilience is a key objective during global events such as the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. As part of our pandemic preparedness planning, Sonic Clinical Trials (SCT) in consultation with Sonic Healthcare Limited (SHL) has implemented contingency measures aimed at mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on our workforce and clients with a view to minimizing impact on service delivery.

This planning is being overseen by SCT’s dedicated Pandemic Preparedness Team (PPT) whose focus is the development of strategies, policies and procedures designed to support and care for our teams and clients as the COVID-19 situation continues to develop. Working collaboratively with the broader Sonic Healthcare group, PPT is constantly monitoring World Health Organisation (WHO) and Government updates, distilling information so as to be able to provide the most current and relevant advice to our workforce and clients.

Business Continuity Strategies

SCT in consultation with the Pandemic Preparedness Team has instituted a number of business-wide strategies designed to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 virus:

  • Procurement of adequate supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and medical supplies and consumables;
  • Institution of social distancing measures, wherever feasible;
  • Deferment of all non-essential business travel (international and domestic);
  • Reduces face-to-face interaction and increased availability and use of video-conferencing facilities;
  • Self-quarantine for all employees returning from any overseas destination;
  • Self-quarantine for all employees with flu-like symptoms or who may have had COVID-19 contact;
  • Implementation of a travel register for those who have travelled and returned from any overseas destination;
  • Flexible working arrangements including working from home where and when feasible and appropriate;
  • Increased cleaning standards across the business;
  • Reinforcement of infection controls and good personal hygiene;
  • Patients requested during pre-appointment phone interactions to advise SCT if they have flu-like symptoms, have been in contact with COVID-19, or have returned from overseas within the past14 days;
  • Face-to-face patient appointments will not be scheduled if the patient advises they have flu-like symptoms, have been in contact with COVID-19, or have returned from overseas within the past 14 days;
  • Utilisation of video call technology where the option of direct patient contact is not available;
  • Strict plans related to Visitor protocols;

In addition, a number of operational strategies have been implemented with a view to ensuring
service provision:

Essential Operational Service Continuity

Operational teams have been split into teams, mitigating the risk of entire business quarantine. Key staff are currently equipped to work remotely. Additional resources have been deployed to increase the number of operational staff able to work remotely in the event that is required.

Site Management Organization – Nursing Services

SCT has instituted the following measures to ensure continuity of nursing service provision:

  • Preparing for potential reduced nursing workforce availability
  • Preparing for increased number of services to be delivered via video call, should direct patient contact not be an option

Given the fluidity of the developing situation, the PPT is meeting daily to ensure communication and guidance around operational strategies remain relevant, accurate and current.

Overall, the aim is to ensure our workforce are informed, have clear direction, and the tools necessary to help ensure uninterrupted provision of patient care and business-critical functions.

Paullette Azar-Tannous
Chief Executive Officer