By Anthony Ginsberg, Co-creator of the HAN-GINS Indxx Healthcare Innovation UCITS (WELL) ETF
Innovations in healthcare are increasingly helping to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Constantly improving diagnostic tools are enabling healthcare professionals to be able to quickly diagnose or rule out coronavirus cases and the use of virtual care is helping to prevent the virus spreading more widely.
Here are five pieces of recent technology innovation helping the worldwide fight against coronavirus.
1) Remote Care & Videoconferencing
The West China Hospital of Sichuan University has recently installed 5G networking and communications equipment which allows doctors to conduct remote diagnosis of coronavirus via a telehealth system. A telehealth system is the distribution of health-related services online and allows for long-distance communication between patient and healthcare professionals. Such initiatives are being expanded to many hospitals globally, for example the Sheba Medical Center in Israel uses a coronavirus telemedicine system to physically treat and isolate patients.
2) Robots and Patient Care
At Providence Medical Center in Everett, Washington, physicians are now using robots to take a patient’s observations. The robot uses a stethoscope and communicates via a screen. The remote-controlled telehealth cart allows doctors to perform diagnostic functions, including taking blood pressure and temperature. Such technology is helping to reduce the amount of in-person interaction required.
Robots are also increasingly being used to deliver food to patients and remove waste. They are also able to sanitize surfaces by emitting ultraviolet C light and sterilize rooms or facilities with suspected COVID-19 cases. This technology is also being used to disinfect planes making international flights from coronavirus-affected areas such as China and South Korea to Los Angeles International Airport.
3) Artificial Intelligence (AI) Software Identifies Coronavirus Patterns
Healthcare IT firms are increasingly updating their software to accurately identify patterns of diseases. Electronic health record (EHR) groups – including Epic in the US, have updated their travel screening questions in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New testing orders and screening questions are being used by leading players Athena Health and Meditech via their EHR software. Such technology helps ensure information is shared with patients and providers more quickly and efficiently than incumbent systems.
Many healthcare providers have updated their algorithms to create chatbots, helping to screen users for the coronavirus before they visit a hospital. Chatbots are also helping to reduce unnecessary hospital visits. A number of new AI style apps have been created that can interact with the public and answer questions about coronavirus. For example, a WhatsApp nCov helpdesk chatbot has been established by AI firm Haptik. It is trained to respond to questions about the virus and can also provide the public with timely information and updates.
5) Wearable technology
Medical wearable technology is enabling doctors to monitor patients for vital observations with far less human contact. The Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center now uses a temperature sensor to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. These sensors are attached to the patient and are able to send real-time data and sensor readings to healthcare workers. Such sensors are being expanded to monitor heart and respiratory rates too.
As we learn more about the coronavirus and patterns of transmissions, hospitals and healthcare professional healthcare workers will increasingly demand the use of such tools driving further innovation and distribution from the medical technology sector.
Investing in innovative healthcare
The HAN-GINS Healthcare Innovation ETF (WELL) provide investors with access to a basket of approximately 100 leading innovative healthcare companies that include producers of medical devices, robotics, genome sequencing as well as healthcare trackers/wearables and neuroscience.
WELL is a health technology ETF that tracks the Indxx Advanced Life Science and Smart Healthcare Thematic Index, an index designed to measure the performance of large, mid and small market capitalization companies primarily listed on an exchange in developed and emerging markets that are involved in the advanced life sciences and smart healthcare sector.
The original article can be found in ETF Strategy