How can digitalisation help fight epidemics?

digitalisation supports fight epidemicsDigitalisation helps optimize process and produce better results for organisations. Digitalisation is a useful tool for companies. It enables them to set better standard and help them on a long-term basis. Digitalisation has a lot a positive advantage for organisation but that is not it…

 

As the light of today’s event, we would like to reflect on the benefits of digitalisation in terms of fighting epidemics. Digitalisation is a tool that can be used in many ways, health issue is one of them.

 

General perspectives

 

BlueDot, a Canadian start-up was able to spot the coronavirus before everyone else. They didn’t know that it was going to be of this magnitude but nevertheless they were able to spot it nine days before the World Health Organisation.

 

How did they do this?

The central motivation of the company is to “spread knowledge faster than the diseases spread themselves”, as Kamran Khan, CEO of the company explains. They achieve this goal through Artificial Intelligence.

 

We believe that digitalisation can be positive. In a series of article, we will explore how digitalisation can help fight epidemics. It can help in many ways. Would it be with interactive maps for monitoring or through faster detection or, depending on the case, genome sequencing to find potential vaccines.

 

The Centre for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University developed an interactive map to monitor and track the reported cases on a daily timescale. The map shows new cases, confirmed deaths and recoveries.

 

Another example is what happened with the Covid-19 virus compared to the SARS virus back in 2003. The virus’ genome was completely sequenced by Chinese scientists in less than a month since the first case had been detected. The SARS virus was sequenced in April 2003 while the outbreak dated back end of 2002.

Robots or Wearables touch down are also tools used to fight past epidemics.

 

Challenges

 

Digitalisation doesn’t solve every problem obviously. Digitalisation does not strengthen health outcomes. Decision-making has not always been better because of digitalisation.

 

Furthermore, digitalisation without training will lead to less then optimum solution. Further investment in training is necessary to accompany the digitalisation process.

 

Data sharing is another issue as it is clearly and rightfully a sensible question. If the tools and technologies are important, the governance structures are essential to ensure trust is built. Protecting data privacy must be put in the balance while defining digitalisation process. A more coordinated effort is needed.

 

Looking forward…

 

Digitalisation can be a precious ally. But what’s next? Correct use of the capabilities of digital technologies, big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence could help strengthen prevention measures by predicting potential future epidemic outbreaks and targeting communications for behaviour change.

 

 

Adam Kucharski explains quite clearly how data can predict the next pandemic.

 

 

We will share with you about those issues in our next series of article, but we are truly looking forward to your feedback and expertise in this matter.

 

 

 

References:

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/03/bluedot-used-artificial-intelligence-to-predict-coronavirus-spread.html

https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/

https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2017/03/digital-technology-fighting-epidemics

https://www.csis.org/analysis/can-digital-health-help-stop-next-epidemic

https://www.orangemantra.com/blog/coronavirus-outbreak-how-technology-can-help-us-fight-the-epidemic/