With much of the global population told to
restrict their movements over recent months, too many people have been
cancelling their regular medical appointments and avoiding COVID-19 tests.
While there is only so much you can over an internet connection, a number of
new tools have been developed to help fill the void. Patients can now log onto
medical services via a mobile app, allowing them to self-report symptoms in the
case of potential COVID-19 exposure and many other illnesses.
Exciting tech startups and existing vendors
have been developing an array of medical applications and web services to help
manage the virus. These apps can check for symptoms, track cases, and offer
advice on ways to prevent exposure. Depending on the service in question,
self-service apps can be used to ask questions and analyse answers in
combination with objective data from fitness trackers, pulse oximeters, blood
pressure machines, scales, and other technologies found in normal home
Dr Lim, a GP based in Western Sydney, uses
video monitoring and other high-tech setups to monitor and manage COVID-19
patients: "We do use a lot of remote monitoring tools, including patient
self-monitoring tools... That sets in train the process. But the nurses would
continue to monitor the questionnaires and escalate to doctors should there be
any deterioration... We actually had access to quite a lot of information,
which made the remote monitoring process a lot easier... We strongly believe
this is the direction, not only that it can, but that we should go in, because
it's very accessible technology."
As the number of infections caused by the
pandemic continues to rise worldwide, the healthcare industry is looking for
smart new ways to diagnose and manage cases. Easy access to apps and technology
products has led to a plethora of new medical services, most of which can be
used for COVID-19 and also during standard medical care. While not all remote
medical services are available in Australia and New Zealand, the following apps
represent the future of self-reporting for millions of people across the globe.
DocClocker is a popular app that enables
patients to receive real-time reporting from their medical providers. TempTraq
is a single-use temperature monitor that continuously monitors, records, and
wirelessly transmits real-time data for up to 72 hours. Patient Access is a
video monitoring app and clinical system used by 4,000 medical practices in the
UK. The COVID-19 Risk Index is a predictive tool for COVID-19 exposure within
populations and communities. Orion Health offers a tool to facilitate
communication between quarantined people and the healthcare service. While
visiting your GP is more important than ever, these apps are a powerful way to
augment and compliment existing healthcare services.