How healthcare apps are contributing to the fight against COVID-19
by Ángel Barrera and Patricia Domínguez, April 1, 2020
As we all know, for weeks Spain has been immersed in a quarantine in order to contain and avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus). This disease has already been found in more than 200 countries or territories, affecting more than 750,000 people (according to the World Health Organization).
The rapid propagation of this disease is pushing the healthcare system to its limits in an unprecedented way: Nowadays, 52% of the patients who test positive for the virus end up being admitted, and 11% of those patients are transferred to the ICU (according to data from the Spanish Ministry of Health). This situation is resulting in a shortage of material resources (respirators, gowns, masks, etc.) as well as beds and the physical space to care for the patients. Unavoidably, this is also affecting care for patients with other chronic diseases, who also need attention.
To try to reduce the impact as much as possible, and insure attention to the most severely ill patients, healthcare professionals began to carry out telephone monitoring for people with mild symptoms (more than 55,000 in Madrid alone on day 29, according to data from “El Mundo”), optimizing the time and resources of the hospital, and avoiding unnecessary visits.
In this context, mobile devices and, specifically, applications, are beginning to play a fundamental role. Apps are being used by many governmental agencies to control the spread of the disease and reduce the burden on hospitals. An example of this is the already familiar Korean app, “self-quarantine safety protection,” which is playing a crucial role in that country for the diagnosis, control, and monitoring of sick people with suspected and confirmed COVID-19.
Applications like this one are demonstrating their great potential to allow the monitoring of patients outside of the hospital, on one hand reducing the workload for healthcare professionals and, on the other hand, increasing the knowledge about this disease and providing information of interest, as well as recommendations, for those persons who are affected.
It is everyone’s task to collaborate and contribute to reducing the number of those infected by this virus, so it is essential to stay home as much as possible. With the help and cooperation of each one of us we will be able to overcome this situation. For our part, we continue putting all our efforts and labor toward the continued fight against this disease and its spread, not just on an individual level, but also at a corporate level through our technology.