Feature

How Tech can Help Outbreaks like Nipah

On 19May 2018, 3 people died in a small district of Kozhikode. At first, it seemed like a case of meningitis. However, when on 28th may, 13 deaths were confirmed, the healthcare authorities ran to prevent the outbreak of a virus they thought was extinct: The Nipah Virus.

nipah-virus

With this outbreak still fresh in our mind, there’sa question that requires careful thought and research to truly understand it. Are we, as a global civilization, taking health technology seriously?

Let’s take the smartwatch. One knows that the watch monitors your heartbeats, the calories burned, how much one walked or moved, steps taken, etc. But how is this information useful in the larger scheme of things?

The answer lies in IoMT, or Internet of Medical Things. IoMT refers to a network created between medical and measuring devices that provides data to various healthcare systems. It is a neat trick, since healthcare providers can get all your basic details, such as height, weight, heart rate, etc. at the tap of a button.

However, to ensure that this patient data is available to every type of healthcare provider, be it a hospital in Seattle or a nursing home in London, there must be a midway point.

Here comes block chain systems. Simply described as the “Translator”, a block chain allows companies, using different data algorithms and languages, to use each other’s data. In short, it allows better and precise exchange of information between companies. Here, patient engagement is key.

Patient Engagement is a growing trend over the past decade. With quicker and easier ways to reach out to a higher number of people, everyone can easily input their own data, which would be then synced to the rest of the data that is inputted. Of course, that also would require better methods of marketing of the said healthcare providers, and also a larger audience. Thus lies the challenges, that are being overcome, one step at a time.

To answer the question asked: Yes. As a global network, we do take our health technology seriously. And we are working on it. Not as fast as the society should have, but fast enough.

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