Digital health in phases 2 and 3 of COVID-19

Digital innovation can play a key role in managing phases two and three of the Coronavirus. Let’s see the main areas of application.

As phase two approaches, it is important to understand how ICT technologies can be exploited to enable a gradual resumption of safe working, social and healthcare activities.

Prevention

This is certainly an area where existing systems need to be strengthened and new solutions developed.

Screening systems will need to be strengthened and improved, as serological tests will be carried out on different categories of people. It will be necessary to profile those people who are to be screened and to manage the whole screening process.

Self-assessment apps and chatbots can also play an important role in surveillance. This should take place through real-time collection of a range of clinical information, drug prescriptions and data from home monitoring. Environmental and social data should then be added to the clinical data, so that multidimensional dashboards can represent the current situation and allow the development of predictive analysis models.

The conduct of clinical-epidemiological investigations will benefit, if ever there will be, the contact tracing app.

The taking in charge of positive patients and those at risk (suspects) will then have to be managed.

Social distancing in health care facilities

With the exit from the lockdown, the health care activities that had been suspended will have to be resumed, with the return to the usual influx of patients in health facilities.



It will therefore be important to ensure the distancing of external patients, minimizing unnecessary physical contact (booking, payment, report collection) and regulate access inside the facilities through: apps for the management of arrivals and queues, self check-in systems and indoor navigation systems.

For hospitalized patients, telemonitoring systems, both through wearable sensors and bedside sensors, will reduce contact between patients and healthcare personnel. Very important will be the patient’s communication tools with family members, since visits are forbidden or in any case subject to strong constraints, as well as the tools for communicating the patient’s clinical condition to his family members, two very critical issues in the management of the emergency.

Risk management in the workplace

In the workplace managing the risk conditions of the staff will be a must.



It would be useful to trace workers’ contacts with colleagues (in presence), with suppliers or external consultants, as well as with the public – users. All this would make it possible, in case of contagion, to reconstruct the contacts the worker had.

It will then be necessary to detect certain parameters, for example body temperature and possibly symptoms. Finally, it will be necessary to document what measures have been adopted, what actions have been taken (e.g. the sanitization of the premises), what events have taken place.

Assistance and territorial medicine

The strengthening of territorial medicine requires investments and the adoption of digital tools.



The assistance should be carried out with tele-health instruments, while medicine must be delivered remotely, through telemedicine platforms.
The management of chronic, fragile and COVID-19 suspicious or positives patients would be much more efficient if carried out with models of initiative medicine. These require ad hoc information systems.

Diagnostics

Instrumental diagnostics will be essential for the screening of citizens and the identification of infected patients.



It will be essential to manage the whole process, starting from the requests, with IT tools, rather than with forms exchanged via email as it happens in some regions, to trace the samples, to facilitate the reporting and delivery of the report (another critical aspect in the current management).

 

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