With Coronavirus still spreading globally, the crisis has put health services under immense pressure to respond. This has forced governments and healthcare organisations to explore innovative measures and strategies to cope with the crisis. Governments and healthcare providers, along with the United Nations and World Health Organization, are utilizing technology to get the situation under control. In these unprecedented times, here are some of the technological developments that have emerged:
In the US, telehealth has become the new way to have appointments with healthcare workers. By the end of April 2020, a survey found that 57% of patients were conducting health center visits virtually.
In addition, Planned Parenthood has stated that it will offer telehealth advice in all US states.
The World Health Organization, in conjunction with the International Telecommunication Union, is implementing a text service to convey important health messages. It aims to reach those in remote regions who do not have access to the internet. The initial phase, which was announced in April, is being rolled out across the Asia-Pacific region.
Open sourcing by technology innovators has been a key way for health services to take their designs and produce equipment such as ventilators and masks which can be crucial for patient survival. This has been particularly prevalent in Spain where printing innovations have produced components that modify snorkelling masks to become vital breathing equipment
In another hard-hit country, Italy has been combatting shortages in supply chains by using printers to produce valves that connect oxygen masks to respirators. Formlabs, partnering with US tech companies, have started printing 3D nasal swabs, seen as crucial for sample collection for Covid-19 tests.
Smartphone Contact Tracing
We have already seen the incredible successes that have been undertaken thanks to contact tracing technology in South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. This has combined tracking of cellphone users in combination with tracing both bluetooth and wireless signals.
Tech giants Apple and Google have teamed up to produce a state-of-the-art test and trace app which could be vital in preventing further outbreaks. Currently being rolled out across the U.S., eight states are currently fully up and running to test and trace, with many more to follow soon.
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