Digital Solutions: the UK’s response to the Coronavirus

March 24th, 2020 |

NHSX, the tech arm of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is on track to developing an application which records the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. The App, the development of which was requested by Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself, is said to be able to display the real time whereabouts of people who have been recently infected by the Coronavirus.

 

NHSX – Tracking the Spread of Covid 19

The app warns people of newly infected individuals within the surrounding area. It also allows people to give feedback as to their own symptoms. Indeed, if an individual is showing signs of the coronavirus, then they can input their personal experience via the app. Through this, they can alert authorities and give further insight into the evolving nature of the virus.

The collected information will be essential in tracking the rise, and hopefully fall, of the coronavirus, and will prove helpful in alerting others about new cases within their immediate location.

NHS Digital – Designing an Algorithm to Minimize Risk

In a similar project, a sophisticated algorithm by NHS Digital, is in the process of development. This algorithm will identify and categorize citizens who are the most at risk. Through the collection and analysis of patient data, the algorithm will take into account individual factors such as age, clinical and prescription history, in identifying those who are more susceptible to developing further complications if infected.

Essentially, the two separate digital solutions being worked on together form a crucial step in the right direction in combating Covid-19: one, in tracking the spread of the virus, and the other, in categorizing those who are particularly vulnerable to it.

 

Digital Solutions & Market Forces

In an attempt to bring market forces into the fold, the NHS has incentivized funding for further innovations in digital technology as a response to the pandemic, to the tune of £500,000. Such innovations should be directed at assisting those who are in imposed self-isolation, specifically those with mental health issues, and patients who require social care.

TechForce19, as the program is called, is specifically directing its cause towards the creation of digitalized services regarding remote social care, recruiting tools, resource and workforce assessment and volunteer training. The incentives for these are clear, with £25,000 being offered to participating enterprises. The set goal of the program is to deploy the aforementioned services within the upcoming weeks.

Until a vaccine or cure is developed, the UK’s Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock advised people that ‘staying at home and avoiding contact’ will be the central strategy in minimizing the pandemic, at this current time.

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