It’s time for the IoT decision-makers to understand its impact in times of COVID-19 pandemic. Read on to know more…
Covid-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on our society and our economy. In such a scenario, technology innovation are steadily making a difference to healthcare systems. Countries are mustering all resources at their disposal and deploying cutting-edge technology to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and profile people at risk. There are also strong indications that many technologies will see accelerated adoption in the coming years because people become more digitally minded as they embrace technology while working from home.
Internet of Things (IoT), in particular, and along with other technologies like Cloud and AI, is of great use during the crisis. According to a study by researchers at MIT, overlaying geographic information system (GIS) on IoT mobile data can assist epidemiologists in their search for patient zero and can help identify all the people who have come into contact with the infected patients. The technology can also be helpful in monitoring patients who are high-risk and hence can be a source of information to healthcare staff to take adequate action.
This pandemic advanced the modification and deployment of IoT devices to support the healthcare sector. Let’s have a look at some of the example where IoT is being used to monitor the pandemic.
A critical step to curb the spread of COVID-19 is the effective quarantine of infected or perceived to be infected people. But in a global world, this is easier said than done. So, countries throughout the world turned to IoT and GPS enabled apps to track and, when necessary, restrict such people’s movements. Russia, Poland, Singapore, South Korea are a few countries that are going this route. Hong Kong started it’s quarantine efforts from the airport. Arriving passengers were given wrist-bands along with a unique QR to track their movements. Passengers downloaded an app called ‘StayHome Safe’ on their smartphones and scanned the QR. On reaching home, the person had to walk around the apartment to calibrate the device. The basic technology is Geofencing, where a virtual perimeter is created using GPS, RFID, Wi-fi, BlueTooth signal, and cellular network.
While hospitals and medical centers were quick to start telemedicine services to diagnose and answer questions about COVID-19, the number of calls was overwhelming. According to Partner Healthcare, Boston, the average wait time on their hotline peaked to 30 minutes, and many callers even dropped out within this time. To counter this problem, software companies collaborated with hospitals and medical centers to set up chatbots on their website and mobile apps. These chatbots ask a series of questions to screen visitors according to the severity of their conditions. This way, the doctors and medical staff don’t have to answer the same questions over and over. They can instead use this time to treat patients.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting of medical facilities are indispensable and the infectious nature of COVID-19 further emphasizes this step. Thanks to several companies for using self-driving robots for this task. They disinfect the surfaces by emitting high-intensity ultraviolet light, which destroys the virus by tearing apart their DNA. They are wi-fi based and can be controlled through apps. Currently, these are being used in Italy, US and other countries.