Ever since its first confirmed case in December 2019, COVID-19 (also known as 2019-nCoV, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or simply coronavirus) has hit the world hard.
In our fight to reduce global COVID-19 cases, authorities are turning to an unlikely source: Technology.
Data Analytics, the Dark Horse in the Fight Against COVID-19
In the digital age, data and data analytics are some of the most crucial tools to ensure sustainability despite technological advancement – and the healthcare industry is no different.
It may sound far-fetched, but data and data analytics technologies have given humanity a much-needed boost in the fight against COVID-19.
By providing accurate, effective insights from global COVID-19 data, these technologies make it much easier for decision makers in the healthcare industry to make effective decisions.
Data Visualisations as a Monitoring Tool
To the non-data trained, raw data are just numbers. But when you use techniques like data visualisation to give it context, data becomes much more useful to a much wider audience.
In the fight against COVID-19, this has become more important than ever.
For instance, the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) collects and visualises data to easily monitor the spread of the coronavirus.
Such maps allow decision makers to easily identify hotspots, saving lots of time – a highly scarce resource in this fight.
In countries where coronavirus cases are stabilised, these tools can help speed up decisions regarding travel bubbles and opening borders, among others.
Similarly, such visualisations also allow the public to better understand and monitor the spread.
Accurate Predictions and Prevention Strategies with Artificial Intelligence
Similarly, artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to predict the next hotspot for outbreaks.
Health surveillance platforms use big data analytics to process information from news reports and social media to accurately predict virus outbreak patterns.
These are then further analysed by epidemiologists, then sent to governments, businesses, and public health organisations; the same platform predicted the coronavirus outbreak and informed its clients almost a week before any announcements by the World Health Organisation.
Together, these technologies can be used to make crucial decisions in the face of resource limitations, like:
Where are medical professionals needed most?
Where should important Personal Protective Equipment (like masks, sanitisers and thermometers) be sent to first?
What can we do to prevent and contain the spread of the coronavirus and other diseases?
With the help of data analytics technologies, authorities can make quick decisions in time-sensitive situations and thus, effectively and swiftly prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and other diseases.
Written by: Chloe Thio (Gen Infiniti Academy)