COVID-19 is the disease caused by novel coronavirus. Given that the virus is new and moves fast, the data we gather and utilize about this virus and the resulting disease needs to move just as fast. Unfortunately, even with the communication capabilities we have today, keeping up with the speed of COVID-19 has proven to be a serious challenge. Furthermore, healthcare providers on the front lines are trying to make life and death decisions in a crisis. The shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) is a widespread problem, and knowing how to allocate the limited resources most hospitals have available is nearly impossible – at least it is without access to real time data.
The Dual Threat of COVID-19
Unfortunately, during this pandemic, two crises are unfolding simultaneously. The first is a lack of supplies and resources, primarily a lack of PPE for healthcare professionals on the front lines of COVID-19 and a lack of ventilators for critically ill patients. The second crisis is an ever-rising number of infected people and an increase in the number of deaths associated with COVID-19. Operating on outdated information, even if it’s only a few days old, can make both situations worse. If healthcare professionals are operating on outdated or incorrect information, it’s likely to lead to an improper allocation of resources. When resources are improperly allocated, it’s almost inevitable that the death rate will increase.
Why It’s So Hard to Keep up with COVID-19
The main reason it’s so difficult to keep pace with COVID-19 is because it’s a new disease caused by a new virus. Novel coronavirus, while similar in some ways to existing forms of coronavirus, is brand new. This means we don’t know what can stop it, what can prevent against it, and what to expect long-term. Furthermore, reports have come out that there are now two strains of the virus, and we’re not sure if there are more. The virus rapidly transmutes, and given that quelling the spread of this virus largely depends on public behavior – something that’s difficult to control and predict – the virus has a chance to spread unnecessarily if precautionary measures aren’t taken.
How We Can Control the COVID-19 Pandemic
Real time tracking of data related to COVID-19, its spread, its symptoms, and its outcomes is the best defense we have as a medical community. By obtaining actionable data from confirmed cases and outcomes, we can make better decisions, allocate resources properly and effectively, and track geographic information so we know where to divert national and international resources. Triage itself needs to be based on real time data, and the ability to access a high volume of confirmed cases can lead to early response, early diagnosis, and preemptive isolation. It also means we can direct resources to where they’re needed most.
Surgisphere’s COVID-19 Response Center and Triage Tool
Surgisphere’s COVID-19 Response Center now has four tools available for international use at no cost. The tools available include a symptom severity tool, a triage tool, a mortality risk calculator, and a diagnosis support tool. Each of these tools was designed based on big data and machine learning technology and relies on a database that now has over 18,000 confirmed cases and outcomes of COVID-19. That means the tools are highly accurate and can help doctors and healthcare practitioners fill in the gaps while waiting for COVID-19 clinical test results. The triage tool, in particular, is effective in assisting doctors with determining which COVID-19 patients are at the highest risk and where critical resources should be directed. Knowing who needs the highest level of care means support can be given on a hierarchical basis from most to least severe, and that means lives will ultimately be saved.
Surgisphere’s mission is to make the world a better place. We believe that the inherent power in comprehensive, complete, and accurate data can be used to improve the quality of healthcare delivery and achieve the triple aim: better health and better care for a more affordable cost. To learn more about our suite of COVID-19 response tools, please visit the COVID-19 Response Center today.