Amid these trying times, technology might just be the answer to #flattenthecurve of COVID-19 across the globe.
What does “flattening the curve” mean?
As of writing, there are 199,322 cases worldwide with 7,994 deaths and 82,759 recovered. This number increases exponentially as one person can infect two more people. Although there is a high recovery rate (90%), health systems around the world may not keep up with the exponential growth of COVID-19 cases. By imposing community isolation measures, governments are able to slow down the increase of COVID-19 cases.
Community isolation is the best approach to mitigating the COVID-19 outbreak, but the results depend on execution. Two comparable cases are that of Italy and South Korea. Aljazeera reports the different ways that the two countries dealt with their community isolation strategies. Initially, Italy tested widely but narrowed the focus to lessen the number of tests authorities have to process. South Korea, on the other hand, continues mass testing and are tracking persons who might be carriers using mobile phones and satellite technology.
How can mobile technology help governments #flattenthecurve?
Mobile phones can help speed up the monitoring process by allowing citizens to go through an automated triage system. Immediate reporting is beneficial in many ways:
- Medical practitioners can respond quickly.
- Governments can monitor the actual number of persons under monitoring who can’t go out of their homes.
- Reporting data allows hospitals in every community to manage their pipeline of patients.
In South Korea, persons under monitoring update their condition through an app and telephone calls. However, this may not apply to countries that do not have ample access to the internet.
How can mobile monitoring be implemented in countries without reliable internet?
Let’s take the case of the Philippines. The country’s Department of Health (DOH) created a triage system through an algorithm that determines whether someone should be qualified as a person under investigation (PUI). However, the only action they can take is to go directly to a health clinic, which might be a problem as people will tend to flock to these facilities in large numbers.
DOH can provide people with a hotline where citizens can go through the questions in the algorithm below. The triage system can be triggered by asking citizens to text a code (e.g. COVID19) to a hotline number. They will then receive a call or a series of texts asking them about their symptoms. In the end, they are either classified as persons under monitoring (advised to stay home) or PUIs (advised to go to a health facility). Health workers can then call PUIs to provide further instructions. From there, tracking, monitoring, and reporting can be efficiently managed through regular SMS and Voice surveys.
Who can implement mobile monitoring?
Through engageSPARK’s platform, ANYONE who has a laptop and access to the internet can launch a COVID-19 mobile monitoring campaign. Our desktop app is easy-to-use, and its intuitive workflows help users save time and resources.
Mobile monitoring through tools such as engageSPARK at scale may be one way of helping reduce queues in hospitals and clinics. By allowing citizens to report from their homes and health workers to check on their patients from afar, we can #flattenthecurve and prevent more people from contracting the virus.
Are you a hospital manager, government leader, university, a private company or a nonprofit organization fighting the COVID-19 outbreak? We are giving very significant discounts on any COVID-19 (Coronavirus) related communications. Read our CEO’s letter and find out how our platform can help you. You can also check out these SMS Template Messages that we created to help you with your campaign.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the demo code for our COVID19 campaign.