New Technological Solutions to the COVID-19 Dilemma

January 15, 2021

We’ve already extensively covered the number of ways that smartphones are being used for contact tracing COVID-19 across the world, but that’s far from the only way that technology is helping the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Here are a couple more ways that new technology is aiding those recovering from coronavirus and helping to streamline the vaccination process.

Recovering from COVID-19 at Home

Lack of hospital beds has become one of the biggest challenges for patients recovering from Covid-19. The Mayo Clinic in Eau Claire, Wisconsin is one of the first hospitals to find a solution to that challenge by setting up hospital-level care in peoples’ homes with virtual technology.

"Most hospitalized patients who are positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms of the virus, such as shortness of breath, require a daily dose of remdesivir for five days. It is given intravenously, so this occurs while the patient is in the hospital," said Mayo Clinic Health System Hospitalist Dr. Margaret Paulson. “However, there is a new option for patients with conditions previously managed in a hospital called advanced care at home."

The advanced care at home option allows hospital staff to monitor vital signs remotely, as well as administering medications, monitoring IV fluids and more. They’re able to visibly see the patient through video conferencing technology and monitor them 24/7 from afar, all while allowing the patient to recover in their own home. In turn, this keeps valuable beds open for patients with more severe cases within the hospital.

"Unfortunately, there have been recent instances when 100 percent of our hospital beds were full. The advanced care at home program helps us safely decompress the hospital and open beds for other patients," said Dr. Paulson. "Every little bit helps during these challenging times, and advanced care at home is an example of how we are evolving to meet the health care needs of our communities."

Vaccination Record Apps

The private sector in the U.S. is looking into creating vaccination record apps, similar to the apps we’ve reported on in other countries like China. Several airlines, including JetBlue, United and Lufthansa have already announced plans to make proof of vaccination a requirement for travel on their planes; digital vaccination cards will be a cornerstone of that program.

In many countries today, a yellow card is still required for entry: it’s a yellow, standardized vaccination record that shows immunizations with their dates for the carrier, plus a stamp or signature from the doctor who administered the vaccination. These cards were originally created to show proof of vaccination against yellow fever, but have since become the template for vaccination records worldwide. 

The new apps will basically create a digital version of the same theory, meant specifically to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The app will issue a security code that can be plugged into an airline reservation system to show proof of vaccination, which will then allow a traveler to board or purchase their flight. The app can also be used by travelers to report negative test results for cases when they haven’t received the vaccine yet.