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 Table of Contents  
COMMENTARY
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-4

Employing information technology methods to strengthen our fight against COVID-19 pandemic


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission17-Nov-2020
Date of Acceptance07-Dec-2020
Date of Web Publication31-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur-Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jphpc.jphpc_10_20

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  Abstract 


The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected almost every person across the world and it is high time that we reach to each and every one of them with reliable information at the earliest to minimize the risk of acquisition as well as transmission of the infection. In these testing times, there is an immense need to utilize the communication technology in the various activities of the disease mitigation, treatment and advocacy, communication and social mobilization. It is important to acknowledge that this is the first pandemic in which technology and social media are simultaneously being utilized to ensure people safety. In conclusion, in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, information technology and social media have emerged as one of the important tools for the health sector to create not only awareness about the disease, but also it has aided in the prevention and control of the novel viral infection.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, information technology, World Health Organization


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Employing information technology methods to strengthen our fight against COVID-19 pandemic. J Public Health Prim Care 2020;1:3-4

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Employing information technology methods to strengthen our fight against COVID-19 pandemic. J Public Health Prim Care [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 27];1:3-4. Available from: http://www.jphpc.com/text.asp?2020/1/1/3/305982




  Introduction Top


The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected almost every person across the world and it is high time that we reach to each and every one of them with reliable information at the earliest to minimize the risk of acquisition as well as transmission of the infection.[1] As on 1 December 2020, a total of 61.8 million people has been diagnosed with the infection, of which more than 1.4 million people have succumbed to the disease-related complications. It is important to note that the global case fatality rate has increased to 2.26% and is expected to increase further in the absence of prompt outbreak readiness and emergency response activities.[2]


  Scope of Information Technology Top


In these testing times, there is an immense need to utilize the communication technology in the various activities of the disease mitigation, treatment and advocacy, communication and social mobilization.[1],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7] Considering the fact that close to 3.6 billion people don't have regular access to the internet, of which the majority are from the low-income nations, it is ideal to reach them through a simple text message and thus three international welfare agencies have joined their hands to ensure delivery of important health messages to safeguard people from the novel viral infection.[1] It is the need of the hour to ensure that technology becomes the tool which can aid the public health authorities in reaching everyone.[1]


  Social Media, Telemedicine and Artificial Intelligence Top


It is important to acknowledge that this is the first pandemic in which technology and social media are simultaneously being utilized to ensure peoples' safety and stay connected, even when social distancing has been advocated.[3] In order to reduce exposure of people who are suffering from some other ailments to health care settings (which are high-risk settings), and vice versa (preventing exposure of health care providers from the community), the option of telemedicine has found lots of attention, relevance and application.[4],[5] In-fact, many of the health care professionals have adopted telemedicine to diagnose both COVID-19 suspects as well as other illnesses and coordinate their management, including implementation of a triage mechanism.[4],[5]

Another important application of technology has been in the form of artificial intelligence, which has been used in the current pandemic to aid in predicting the caseload & distribution of the disease, detection of the complications, and containment of the disease.[6] As this technology found merit in reading reports of the computerized tomography scans, it indirectly reduced the time spent by a potential suspect in the hospital and overall exposure.[6],[7]


  Extending Psychological Support Top


Other than the application of technology in the field of health, it has found extensive application in averting stress and burnouts. This is a very valuable application of technology as many nations have imposed lockdown in their settings and residents have to stay indoors, and these technological approaches have kept people well-informed, abreast with the recent developments, enabled children to continue their education through online classes/assignments, and allowed people to work-from-home.


  National and Primary Care Implications Top


Acknowledging the scope of information technology in different domains of the battle against COVID-19 in both community and hospital settings, it is a must that specific steps should be taken to effectively utilize it.[8] The need of the hour is to strengthen the health information technology infrastructure at the national level and ensure that all the healthcare personnel, including primary care physicians are adequately trained to utilize them.[9] Moreover, at the national level, policies should be drafted to support the rational and proper use of information technology in the field of surveillance, infection control, contact tracing, estimation of anticipated number of cases, and extending quality assured therapeutic care without exposing the patients to the risk of COVID-19 infection.[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[10],[11]

However, it is a must that in the battle against this novel pandemic, primary care physicians are actively engaged to enhance their contribution towards the effective containment of the infection. These primary care physicians can play an important role in strengthening of the surveillance, reducing the caseload in hospitals, contact tracing, etc., and in order to help them to discharge their roles effectively, it is extremely essential to sensitize and train them about the various information technology modalities available. The use of such modalities not only plays a big part in reducing the incidence of infection, but also safeguards the health and safety of primary care physicians and other health workforce, and eventually aids the nation to continue the battle against COVID-19 infection.[7],[8],[9]


  Conclusion Top


In conclusion, in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, information technology and social media have emerged as one of the important tools for the health sector to create not only awareness about the disease, but also it has aided in the prevention and control of the novel viral infection.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. ITU-WHO Joint Statement: Unleashing Information Technology to Defeat COVID-19; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/20-04-2020-itu-who-joint-statement-unleashing-information-technology-to-defeat-covid-19. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 17].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. Weekly Operational Update on COVID-19-1 December 2020; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/weekly-epidemiological-update---1-december-2020. [Last accessed on 2020 Dec 07].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Sanei Taheri M, Falahati F, Radpour A, Karimi V, Sedaghat A, Karimi MA. Role of social media and telemedicine in diagnosis & management of COVID-19; An experience of the Iranian Society of Radiology. Arch Iran Med 2020;23:285-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Chauhan V, Galwankar S, Arquilla B, Garg M, Somma SD, El-Menyar A, et al. Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Leveraging telemedicine to optimize care while minimizing exposures and viral transmission. J Emerg Trauma Shock 2020;13:20-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
  [Full text]  
5.
Moazzami B, Razavi-Khorasani N, Dooghaie Moghadam A, Farokhi E, Rezaei N. COVID-19 and telemedicine: Immediate action required for maintaining healthcare providers well-being. J Clin Virol 2020;126:104345.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Vaishya R, Javaid M, Khan IH, Haleem A. Artificial intelligence (AI) applications for COVID-19 pandemic. Diabetes Metab Syndr 2020;14:337-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
McCall B. COVID-19 and artificial intelligence: Protecting health-care workers and curbing the spread. Lancet Digit Health 2020;2:e166-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Salway RJ, Silvestri D, Wei EK, Bouton M. Using information technology to improve COVID-19 care at New York city health + hospitals. Health Aff (Millwood) 2020;39:1601-4.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Sittig DF, Singh H. COVID-19 and the need for a national health information technology infrastructure. JAMA 2020;323:2373-4.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Lin C, Braund WE, Auerbach J, Chou JH, Teng JH, Tu P, et al. Policy decisions and use of information technology to fight COVID-19, Taiwan. Emerg Infect Dis 2020;26:1506-12.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Lin CY, Cheng CH, Lu PL, Shih DC, Hung CT, Lo HH, et al. Active surveillance for suspected COVID-19 cases in inpatients with information technology. J Hosp Infect 2020;105:197-9.  Back to cited text no. 11
    




 

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  In this article
Abstract
Introduction
Scope of Informa...
Social Media, Te...
Extending Psycho...
National and Pri...
Conclusion
References

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