The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world and taught us much about our global pandemic response infrastructure. The rapid spread of the disease was unprecedented and challenging to overcome; however, due to the help of modern technology, we could quickly develop vaccines and adapt to a new digital environment while in lockdown. Here are a few ways healthcare professionals can prepare for another pandemic and how technology helped us fight the COVID outbreak.
Artificial intelligence was a crucial tool in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers could use AI technology to help develop vaccines quickly and effectively. AI was also used to temperature check large crowds of people and recognize those with potential infections regardless of their face masks. Artificial intelligence will continue to be an essential tool in the fight against disease as it can help us project the spread of the disease and predict its impact on specific areas.
Messenger RNA is the strand in DNA responsible for communicating the blueprints for protein creation. Researchers have been experimenting with mRNA since the 1960s, when it was first used to treat melanoma patients successfully. mRNA vaccines are created by programming mRNA to deliver blueprints of the antigen proteins to the immune system so it can trigger an immune response without infecting the host. mRNA vaccines are highly effective and will likely continue to be used for future vaccine research and development.
During the pandemic, hospitals were short on supplies, and healthcare centers worldwide needed greater access to things like PPE, oxygen, and much more. Due to our improved distribution networks and inventory systems, supplies were quickly distributed, as were vaccines and booster shots. Distributors like Avantor, who offer essential services like kitting services, lab equipment services, and much more, are critical to our healthcare’s manufacturing and distribution networks. Avantor offers “end-to-end support from manufacturing or sourcing to assembly, tracking and tracing.” These companies will continue to be vital in the fight against future pandemics.
Quickly after the pandemic had spread globally, many countries began instituting a lockdown to slow the spread of the disease. These lockdowns led to a new wave of work-from-home opportunities and a need for digital healthcare. People had to stay home, and going to a doctor’s office would increase the likelihood of spreading the disease. Telehealth became an essential option for those who needed access to healthcare from the safety of their homes. Today, telehealth is still a widely popular option for those with regular healthcare appointments.
Data Sharing & Misinformation
There is more data in the world today than ever before, and with the creation of healthcare wearables such as smartwatches, the amount of healthcare data is incredible. During the pandemic, data sharing became an essential practice and topic of debate regarding vaccine development and understanding the disease. Data sharing can be an integral part of the fight against pandemics and improving healthcare services in general. Not only can data help us, but it can also potentially harm us with the spread of misinformation. The internet makes it easier than ever for us to spread and consume false information; this is why it’s essential to only get your information from trusted healthcare sources like the CDC. The battle against misinformation will continue to be fought throughout future pandemics.
These are just a few ways healthcare professionals battled the COVID pandemic and how we can prepare for the next one. Our experience with COVID and improved healthcare technology and social policies will help us protect one another during the next outbreak.