Alleviate COVID-19 disruption with advanced technology5 min read
We are living in unprecedented times. Although more than 93k people have died from the COVID-19 virus (as of May 22, 2020), unemployment and economic disruption may be more dangerous than the virus itself.
COVID-19 has closed borders and shuttered businesses. The pandemic has caused unprecedented job losses, as currently 38.4M people are out of work, leading to a dramatic rise in the number of Americas’ uninsured. Barry Bluestone estimated that for every one percent increase in unemployment, 37k Americans lose their lives. If that relationship holds today, as the US unemployment rate climbs towards fifteen percent, more than 370k Americans' lives are at risk due to the economic disruption caused by COVID-19.
More than 38.6M Americans have filed for unemployment insurance since the end of February. Overwhelming unemployment, and the lack of employer benefits, will dramatically change the coverage landscape in America. Employer-sponsored coverage could decrease by 12-35M, while Medicaid enrollment could increase by 11-23M. The number of people without insurance could grow to over 40M, while $41.8B is the estimated projected cost of treatment for uninsured COVID-19 patients. That is roughly 40 percent of the $100B in emergency relief set aside for healthcare providers under the CARES Act.
Effect on the healthcare system
While the US Healthcare system is meeting the COVID-19 pandemic head-on, the virus and its effects have created some historic financial pressures for America’s hospitals and health systems. Hospitals were required to cancel non-emergency or elective procedures, often the highest revenue drivers in the health system. Many patients are postponing healthcare as they shelter in place to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Treatment for COVID-19 has created an incredible demand for medical equipment and supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE) as the virus has disrupted many supply chains, thus increasing hospital costs. Current estimates show that the US Healthcare system may lose $200B from March through June of this year.
Overall, the estimated cost of treating COVID-19 patients, which range from $20k-$88k per patient, could exceed $558B nationally, depending on the severity of the pandemic. These estimates do not include the additional costs of medical supplies and equipment, which have spiked upward since the beginning of the epidemic, eroding the already narrow margin for the US healthcare system. These projections could have significant implications for hospitals’ ability to borrow money, a substantial source of needed funds in light of their declining revenues.
Protect the public, protect the health systems
With an already overburdened health system, companies look for new and innovative methods to slow (or stop!) the spread, reducing the financial burdens on health systems caused by caring for the growing infected populations. However, the 'new normal' must also address the needs of the communities.
To protect the public from the Covid-19 pandemic and the downstream adverse effects, return to work, school, and social activity must occur. But, in a different way than ever before. These dual and competing needs, to reduce overburden in healthcare systems while allowing populations to resume activities, create numerous challenges. Moreover, there are now tremendous opportunities for disruptive innovation. Using technology, SoftServe is delivering that innovation.
Facing the challenges head-on
Though public health requirements will change over time, some level of social distancing will likely remain in place for the foreseeable future. SoftServe's Research and Development teams have created flexible, scalable, and rapidly deployable solutions to address many of the challenges of returning to work, school, and social activities, including:
COVID-19 triage chat: Using advanced conversational AI, the SoftServe COVID-19 triage chatbot, powered by Clinc, quickly assess users with a series of text or voice questions, eliminating hospital staff burden and soothing patient fears.
BioSignals: Using innovative algorithms and software developed at SoftServe’s R&D laboratories, and by leveraging existing device cameras, users can measure heart rate, respiratory rate, and the emotional state of patients in real-time for safe, accurate, and inexpensive remote diagnosis and treatment.
Social Distancing: By adding specialized cameras or software to existing infrastructure, SoftServe can measure the distance between people in any public or shared space in real-time. As shown in the Social Distancing Solution demo, the data provided by these cameras can provide invaluable insight into how to change workflows and space allocation to keep people safe regardless of how regulations change over time.
Remote Customer Experience: SoftServe uses 'human in the room' quality conversational AI tools, delivered via cloud, to create uniquely intimate customer experiences to allow people to safely buy goods and services across all industries and verticals regardless of the distance involved. This intimacy will create a significantly improved customer experience and opportunities for more sales and higher revenue.
AI-Enabled Hand Hygiene: SoftServe R&D, together with the healthcare and solution teams, created an AI-powered hand hygiene prototype to be developed as a product for school, offices, healthcare facilities, and more to increase the number of proper hand washes. The prototype works by educating people and verifying the correct cleaning of all hand surfaces.
By implementing advanced technology throughout the community, citizens can begin to return to normal activities. Healthier populations will reduce the financial strain on health systems and allow providers to focus resources on the most critical patients.
With over 2,000 successful projects completed to date, SoftServe has been the trusted product development and design partner to many of the most innovative and respected healthcare and life science companies worldwide. Ready to effectively provide tools to allow your direct population to return to the new normal? To learn how our team of innovators, healthcare experts, and digital innovators empower clients to transform healthcare and life science companies, contact SoftServe today.