Until now, more than 710 thousand cases of Covid-19 have been reported. The number of mortalities and incidence rates are rising.
We now have the responsibility to prevent the epidemic from spreading since we live in an age where technology and connectivity and more advanced than even and data exchange is growing rapidly. Technology that can prevent public health emergencies is right under our fingertips. And by doing this, we share and lighten the burden.
COVID-19 is still new, and we have much left to learn. However, the initial panic has forced thousands of Americans to storm the hospitals and primary care centers in order to be diagnosed. In situations like this, where there are packed waiting rooms, crowded public transport, poor hygiene…these are all the things that can further spread the outbreak. Medical facilities are well known as high-risk places for this same reason. However, we cannot forget other high-foot traffic places like airports, shopping centers and schools.
We must utilize all resources and tools that we have at our disposal to minimize the impact of COVID-19 (and other epidemics) on our communities.
Smartphones are one of the best tools that we have in the fight against this outbreak. Many of us have health apps on their smartphones and these same apps are using highly sophisticated AI technology and machine learning to provide quite accurate and instant insight into a wide range of health measurements. With the help of smartphones, we have the possibility to utilize remote healthcare systems and solutions like never before.
If for example, you’re a patient and you’re feeling ill, you’ll be able to schedule an appointment with a doctor over a video call, which will allow you to stay home while you might be contagious. This helps prevent potentially spreading the disease to other patient or health care facility staff. In addition, these online visits can be combined with medical-grade data like your temperature, blood pressure, heart rate etc. so that you’re not short-changed from your diagnosis when you decided to remain home. This is really important in case of viruses like COVID-19 which are highly contagious through physical contact, breathing the same air or even touching the same objects.
The first thing we need to encourage is self-testing symptoms at home. But we can’t stop there and we need to think bigger. In the future, we could have noninvasive, zero-touch and one-minute scans upon arrival to our country from abroad.
By doing these instant health scans at airports, we will be able to flag any suspicious markers or vitals immediately. This way, the person will be able to receive treatment sooner which should improve the changes of full recovery and limit the spread of the disease to large crowds.
From the past, we’ve learned that epidemics have evolved and that they are spreading faster and wider, thanks to mass travel. We need to put prevention not just into our own hands, but also into the hands of organizations like WHO. Access to real-time scans could provide instant tracking of epidemics in certain areas which will in the end, provide better management of the spread of the outbreak and better response time.
Technology is changing every industry in the world and healthcare is no exception. As the technology further develops and impacts our lives, we have solutions not only to limit the spread of an illness, but to also reduce the effect of public panic and economic crises.