Tech on the Front Line: The Emerging, Cutting-edge Technologies Against COVID-19

Technology has been a powerful tool in establishing its value during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tech industry is not only doing the important work to move applications to the cloud or implement collaboration platforms. It is also playing a crucial role in the fight against COVID-19. This story was first published in CompTIA World magazine Issue 8. During the COVID-19 pandemic technology has connected work, family, friends, and communities like never before. Its value has been reinforced during this historic time. The tech industry is not only doing the important work to move applications to the cloud or implement collaboration platforms. It is also playing a crucial role in the fight against COVID-19.
Emerging and cutting-edge technologies are making a difference in the fight against COVID-19 and its far-reaching economic and social effects. We highlight four examples of technology that have risen to the occasion.
Blockchain helps health care workers stay COVID-19-free
Is there a more dangerous job than working as a health care worker during the COVID-19 epidemic?
The constant risk of being exposed to the deadly virus has caused a severe strain on those who work at the front lines. It is crucial that medical professionals feel empowered and safe at work. Patients and their employers also need to have confidence that nurses, doctors, and other staff are doing all they can to stay healthy.
TerraHub Technologies, a Calgary-based developer of automated verification systems, realized that its blockchain solution, originally designed for the oil and natural gas market, could be used for health care workers. Credential Link uses the distributed ledger properties of blockchain technology to enable hospitals and health care workers verify and track COVID-19 test results as well as self-assessments by employees.
If a doctor tests negative on coronavirus, they can prove their health in a verification-based application that connects to a back end platform used by the hospital. The doctor can continue to work without putting patients or coworkers at risk by submitting the verified test results.
“It’s a means to ensure that workers can return to work and that they should have the right to do so because they can prove that they are healthy and current in whatever profession they’re working in,” stated Elena Dumitrascu (CTO of TerraHub Technologies) and a member CompTIA’s Blockchain Advisory Council.
Verifiable test results allow a doctor temporarily to be assigned to another hospital, or COVID-19 testing site. Although a doctor can be infected with coronavirus even after certification, subsequent testing would alter his verification and give authorities a better record of who and when he was in contact with.
Individual users have full control over what information is shared with whom and how it is used, which helps ensure that HIPAA and other regulations are adhered to.
Dumitrascu stated that although it is not a cure-all for coronavirus, people can stay symptomatic for so many years. However, at least you have a record of what happened so you can stop the spread.
She said that it’s also about creating trust. Blockchain is an immutable ledger that is virtually impermeable and can be verified by anyone who has access to it.
“That’s a large part of our society right right now. How can trust be increased? Dumitrascu asked how can you trust that the person in front of you has done all they can to make sure that they are OK. A verification solution can help. It’s more than just saying “I’m tested and healthy.” It’s about being able to show the credentials are current and be able to prove it. This is extremely valuable.
Geospatial Data Informs Healthcare and Economic Benefits of COVID-19
Planet, a remote sensing company located in San Francisco, has approximately 150 satellites that can image the entire world. It can also provide high resolution images of specific areas and images from the entire planet. Mark Mozena is the senior director of government affairs at Planet. He said that the geospatial data collected from these satellites is helping its customers adapt to business during COVID-19. This includes critical information about global healthcare, economic conditions, and social variables that contribute to the spread disease.
“Geospatial information has great potential to help not only to but also to und