2020 may have come and gone but COVID-19 has not. Healthcare institutions and officials looking to inject smarter processes and efficiencies into their operations are increasingly turning to emerging technologies to aid their response to the pandemic.
South Africa’s COVID-19 Alert app serves as a great example. The app is not a contact tracing platform, instead it uses Bluetooth to detect if you’ve come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus and then sends out alerts to people who are at risk.
According to a survey from Atlantic Council, a US think tank, 100 technology experts agreed that some of the impactful innovations in the coming years will be developed around AI, data and healthcare technologies. “As the virus imposes heavy demands on healthcare systems, strains international supply chains and changes the way we work, it will spur innovation in those areas,” the authors of the report explain.
Tech to improve vaccine distribution
In recent months, countries across the globe have spent a great deal of time and resources on securing supplies of vaccines and developing their vaccine rollout strategies. In many instances, they’ve used technology to improve and accelerate vaccine distribution.
But shipping COVID-19 vaccines is a challenge, largely because these small glass vials have to be kept frozen to prevent the components of the vaccine from breaking down and becoming useless. As such, medical experts, drug manufacturers and distributors have had to develop a network of monitoring devices and fit batches of the vaccines with GPS sensors and temperature monitors to ensure that they don’t deviate from their target destination and that they are constantly kept at the required temperature.
Similarly, something like Microsoft’s Vaccination Management platform was designed to enable vaccination management capabilities and create end-to-end experiences for citizens, front-line vaccine administrators, and healthcare providers. The platform can be used to register patients, schedule appointments, automate the replenishment of supplies, track-and-trace prescriptions and medical supplies and then feeding this information back into public health systems so that government officials can focus their attention of securing vaccines and administering these where and when they’re needed.
Another example comes out of New York City where the Mount Sinai Health System has launched an AI-based learning platform to boost the skills of nurses treating COVID-19 patients. The platform is also being made available to hospitals around the world, for free, to improve care during the pandemic. Once users have completed an adaptive assessment, enabled by AI, the platform recommends personalised content to address any knowledge gaps they may have.
We’re constantly amazed by how quickly technology changes. And there’s no sign of it stopping any time soon. Want to stay updated on how all of this innovation is impacting your industry? Sign up for our monthly newsletter below.