The fight against the COVID-19 outbreak is bringing new technologies to the forefront as the world deals with this current fast-spreading pandemic—and prepares for future ones. 

A recent Time magazine article looked at the role technology plays in the fight against pandemics, making the case that the best way to beat a highly contagious disease is to take action early. Thanks to new innovations that are commonplace among today’s leading companies, including smartphone apps, data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI), this is happening today with COVID-19.

According to Alain Labrique, director of the Johns Hopkins University Global Health Initiative, “The connectivity we have today gives us ammunition to fight this pandemic in ways we never previously thought possible.” This includes tracking down and treating deadly viruses faster than ever before.

Remote Diagnosis Applications Limit Spread of Disease

According to the Time article, most people look for the common symptoms associated with Coronavirus, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, before heading to the doctor’s office or ER for diagnosis. The best thing for patients to do is stay at home and help stop the spread of the disease unless urgent care is needed. Offering a new approach while helping limit the spread of disease, today’s telehealth and connectivity applications are enabling doctors to remotely evaluate a patient’s symptoms to diagnose them at home, and then making the decision on whether a trip to the doctor’s office, ER, or testing center is needed. The practice is already underway in Singapore, where 20 percent of doctors use telehealth applications, helping better diagnose patients remotely and recommending whether they need to go out and seek care.

Telemedicine Enables Better Preparedness and Predictive Care

Data analytics is another technology that’s helping healthcare professionals in the fight against pandemics. By taking into account larger data sets across specific geographical areas, doctors and public officials can better predict where outbreaks and surges may occur. This helps them better prepare with preventative measures and hospital preparedness. For example, the Time article notes an example with Northern California health services provider Kaiser Permanente, which noticed a spike in patients calling in and reporting COVID-19-like symptoms. By analyzing its call volumes, the health provider was able to better anticipate where a surge in cases may occur and take action—in some cases suspending procedures such as elective surgeries to handle the increased influx of patients.

To learn the latest data and trends related to Coronavirus and stay up to date, check out TIBCO’s COVID-19 Visual Analysis Hub, a rich information resource with visual data science analyses that supports our communities in managing the effects of the virus.