Can tech help to solve the coronavirus epidemic?

As coronavirus continues to spread across the world, technology companies are leveraging the latest innovation to help diagnose, treat and contain this disease.

Coronavirus is the most serious health crisis in recent years, with research showing 44,672 confirmed cases of the disease and 1,023 deaths between the end of December and start of February. As the outbreak of COVID-19 continues and public concern grows all across the globe, the biggest priority is diagnosing, treating and containing the disease.  Can tech help to solve this growing epidemic?

Tech to the rescue

For any global health pandemic, public concern is always high. People are naturally worried about the possibility of becoming exposed to a highly infectious disease like coronavirus, and their first port of call is often the local GP. This can put a strain on health systems, but that's where virtual consulting platforms such as eConsult can help.

Available in more than 1,000 GP surgeries across the UK, eConsult offers patients remote consultations after they fill in an online form that is sent to and reviewed by their local GP practice. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, the firm has updated its platform to help GPs identify and treat the disease.

Dr Mark Harmon, strategic director at eConsult, believes that this technology alleviates pressure on GP surgeries and improves the doctor-patient relationship. He says: "As with any quick-spreading pandemic, it is natural for some people to panic if one or more of the typical symptoms occur. 

"The most important thing is to stop people from clogging up the healthcare system and taking resources away from other sick patients. Fortunately, we have the technology to utilise real-time information which has been a key component to help us to roll out support for coronavirus in GP surgeries. Digital technology is a great tool to help meet the rising demands and concerns of the public."

Emerging tech is also proving powerful in the fight against this virus. Dr Vincent Grasso, global practice lead of healthcare and life sciences at IPsoft, takes the view that AI could help slow down the spread of coronavirus and contain the outbreak. He tells IDG Connect: "On the surface, one would expect lessons learned from the 2003 SARS epidemic to have been taken onboard by the global healthcare community and turned into countermeasures for dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

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