Picture: Supplied
Picture: Supplied

How technology will help SA tackle Covid-19 pandemic

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Jun 22, 2020

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South Africa’s COVID-19 cases are beginning to rise rapidly, with about 1000 new incidents a day. Many suggest this is just the start of the exponential curve to come. Given this, it’s inevitable that resources will run thin. 

As healthcare workers work around the clock, the race is on for tech solutions to work together with human field workers to use real-time results to allocate scarce resources to where they’re needed most. 

Introducing 4IR tech like the Vantage app. This platform will guide leaders with real-time decision-making support to drive action.

Vice President of Product Experience at BroadReach , Jeremy Flax warned that in the majority of countries around the world, there is always going to be a challenge around having enough resources such as health workers, PPE, critical medication, ICU beds or ventilators.

Flax spoke to IOL Tech about the Vantage app and how it will help South Africa flatten the curve.

“Swift response times save lives. That’s why we believe Vantage, our advanced analytics and AI-powered cloud platform, is useful," said Flax.

Flax added that more than 1.3 million people have been screened via the Vantage Community Screening app. This is a significant COVID-19 milestone in South Africa.

"The Community Screening, Testing and Contact Tracing app is part of the Vantage cloud platform, it’s true value is realised as part of the platform. Vantage integrates both patient demand data with hospital/facility readiness/capacity information to give leaders a real-time, holistic view of the pandemic in their jurisdiction."

The Vantage app and platform are cloud enabled, enabling rapid scaling throughout provincial health systems, data security and crucially it has given leaders access to the community screening, testing and contact tracing information throughout the provinces in real-time.

Flax also noted the importance of decision support and timely action to manage the pandemic. 

"Vantage does not require users to be data analyst – our users/clients are health experts and leaders. Using UI/UX principles, it gives them the decision support they need in simple and accessible means – saving them time as it tells them what they need to know." 

"What is most ground-breaking is in fact not the app itself as a standalone product, it is how the Vantage Community Screening, Testing and Contact Tracing App is integrated into the Vantage cloud platform."

So how does this work?

Vantage takes disparate information from multiple sources and layers of data and using data analytics it distils it down into a single point of truth to guide leaders make evidence-based decisions and take timely action. 

These recommendations are then delivered in daily notifications and accessible 24/7 on the cloud platform.

"If you think about the ‘flattening the curve’ diagram, you will know that we need to slow down the rate of infection of our population and we need the raise the capacity of our hospitals and health facilities to manage the inevitable influx of patient demand. The Vantage platform is set up to do just that. Through the Community Screening, Testing and Contact Tracing App we are getting vital real-time information from community screenings to understanding the patient demand."

The Vantage Community Screening, Testing and Contact Tracing app is currently available for community health workers working for or with the Department of Health in their community screening, testing and contact tracing efforts in KZN and Mpumalanga.

"The app allows healthcare workers to add their screening data on the go as they go door to door screening the public for COVID-19 and is part of provincial authorities data-lead approaches to managing the pandemic. It saves time and is able to collate data in real time, giving leaders real-time decision support to best plan resources and action," said Flax.

How the technology will help fight the pandemic

The community health worker uploads the screening survey (including the standard department of health screening questions) on the app while they are conducting it, this loads directly and in real-time to the cloud. 

This screening survey and indeed all screenings captured on the app are consolidated in real-time on the Vantage platform so that leaders have a holistic and up to date view of the virus in their geography.

Once in the Vantage platform, leaders in the departments of health can use this information to identify clusters and hotspots – crucially the platform gives leaders real-time decision support so they can plan and prioritize resource allocation and action. 

Microsoft has also added the Community Screening, Testing and Contact Tracing App onto their commercial marketplace COVID-19 solution showcase.


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