Minneapolis-based Zipnosis is deploying online questionnaires for patients that doctors can use to quickly distinguish COVID-19 from other respiratory illnesses; the interaction is often asynchronous, meaning doctors review the information after it’s submitted. The platform was also used in the 2017 measles outbreak in the U.S., and the company says providers take an average of 1 minute, 29 seconds to assess a patient through the service.
“Providers can take care of many, many patients quickly with accurate information, which has already proven to be essential for health systems needing to scale to meet patient demands from COVID-19,” says Lisa Ide, chief medical officer at Zipnosis.
She adds, “We work with a health system in Washington state, for example, that opted to direct all COVID-19 visits to asynchronous visits (versus video or phone synchronous virtual visits) because their providers couldn’t meet the demand for synchronous care due to the much longer clinical work time. When they transition to asynchronous only, they found with only a handful of providers that they could handle a 400-plus daily visit volume with asynchronous care.”
Automation and communication technologies are becoming key in the struggle to put a lid on the coronavirus pandemic, according to experts.
“Robots and telemedicine are great tools, but often supplemental to basic infection prevention measures,” says Saskia Popescu, an epidemiologist and infection-prevention specialist based in Phoenix. “I think telemedicine can help reduce the strain if there are physician shortages, or help reduce use of personal protective equipment in some cases (i.e., less people going in and out of the patient’s room). Technologies can help add an extra layer of infection prevention efforts —UV disinfection is one.”