In the complex, global health crisis brought about by COVID-19, it was basics such as surveillance, testing, quarantine, self-isolation, contact tracing, face covering, social distancing, and simple hand-washing that were preliminary tactics in the race against the spread of the virus.
Because of COVID-19's high transmissibility, countries focused on containment and mitigation. With varying degrees of success, countries have adopted digital health technology to facilitate their respective pandemic strategies for planning, surveillance, testing, contact tracing, quarantine, and health care. But agility is key. Success — catching up to and outpacing COVID-19 — is possible if experts worldwide take bold, continuous, ever-adapting strides to leverage digital health technology's capabilities.
Strategies in place involve deploying telehealth and engagement solutions. Innovative solutions have evolved, including the COVID-19 exposure/symptom Self Isolation Management Program, or COVID-19 SIP™. A technology that previously had begun as a solution for Hep-C population outreach and patient engagement for a State health program pivoted to COVID-19 SIP™ with algorithms developed in collaboration with a State Department of Public Health.
(Watch this webinar clip about the genesis of product development.)
COVID-19 SIP™ was born out of the versatility of LifeWIRE’s patented communications platform that engages large populations instantly. This product provides the necessary follow-up element to COVID-19 pandemic management: Step 1. Identifying who has or may have been in contact with those having COVID-19; Step 2. (where COVID-19 SIP™ comes in) Enabling exposure and symptom self-monitoring.
COVID-19 SIP™ provides a rapid and scalable population outreach for patient education, self-assessment, and symptom monitoring. In the “alphabet soup” of pandemic response, COVID-19 SIP™ supports the ABCs of remote patient care: self-assessment, monitoring, and management.
How it works
For contact tracing and monitoring populations
As a digital health-monitoring tool, COVID-19 SIP™ uses algorithm-based decision recommendations for self-isolation management for people immediately after COVID-19 testing, for at-risk contacts, and for those with symptoms associated with the virus.
COVID-19 SIP™ can generate epidemiological data, in real time. Individuals and populations are tracked and screened through an outreach that is a scripted, interactive dialogue, on any device, at any time, with no app required.
COVID-19 SIP™ can be delivered in more than 30 languages and deployed in multiple modalities such as email, SMS, websites, and telephone interactive voice response. The LifeWIRE® communications platform upon which the product is based is secure, fully encrypted, and HIPAA-compliant, and it does not require pandemic-associated cybersecurity waivers.
Using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines or any client evaluation protocols, the COVID-19 SIP™ self-assessment tool takes the “who” (is at risk, or tested positive) from contact tracing solutions and manages the “what’s next.” Those symptomatically in need of urgent care are triaged based on algorithms.
For contact-tracing support
COVID-19 SIP™ engages those individuals who have been tested and/or may have come into contact with an infected person. After an individual has been “traced,” outreach follows. And as permitted or with prior consent, depending on their responses to daily questions, each individual receives education, recommendations, and the means to reach out to care providers or related groups, such as mental health peer support.
Connected through a secure API, clients can instantly analyze data and use it to connect with positive or suspect individuals for outreach to slow further spread, to recommend those individuals for treatment or self-isolation, or to confirm resolution of an individual's case. The self-isolation management tool can operate as a stand-alone program or can be incorporated into a comprehensive contact-tracing management system.
For testing, quarantine, and self-isolation management
COVID-19 SIP™ enables daily screening and monitoring as well as progress tracking by surveying an individual and evaluating responses about symptoms. This can ensure that every person who has been tested or is suspected of having been in contact with someone who is/was positive is being actively engaged and followed up with recommendations. Recommendations may include but are not limited to quarantine, self-isolation, testing, or additional care or in-person treatment.
COVID-19 SIP™ can add a clinical intervention into the workflow to help ensure the virus is contained. It can keep individuals connected and informed throughout quarantine or self-isolation and can inform them if and when their mandated isolation/quarantine period is complete (according to the CDC and/or State Office of Public Health and/or employer). It can connect individuals to clinicians as needed.
COVID-19 SIP™ can help healthcare providers and organizations predict clinical outcomes by collecting accurate, actionable, validated, and real-time data on every single COVID-19 outcome within its sub-population.
In this pandemic, a race is on — between a highly transmissible virus and those individuals who will find a cure — and the constantly changing race course, due to the virus, requires an ever-evolving and agile approach on the part of the experts to engage, educate, test, promote self-isolation, support, trace, repeat, and ultimately treat and prevent. The degree of success will correlate positively with the degree to which the experts step up their pace using all the muscle of today's digital access and reach. #BeLifeWIREd
About the Author
Howard is the innovator behind LifeWIRE technology. He is widely recognized as a healthcare IT entrepreneur and thought leader. Connect with him through @LifeWIREConnect on Twitter and @HowardRosen129 on LinkedIn.