How technology is affecting the response to coronavirus
As the coronavirus epidemic teeters on the brink of being declared a pandemic, we take a look at the part technology is playing, good and bad.
The primary method of transmission has been the return of infected travelers from countries and areas where the virus is present. Consequently, the screening of passengers has become vitally important, with China in particular employing controversial so-called ‘temperature guns’ to check for fever, a key indicator of coronavirus.
Scientists and doctors, meanwhile, are racing to find a cure or treatment for those infected with the disease. An important tool, and one that prevents the infection of healthcare professionals, is telemedicine. That might involve the use of robots to deliver medicines or food, or remote diagnosis through videos and other sensors to limit exposure.
For those in isolation, meanwhile, the connectivity of modern technology offers a vital lifeline to the real world. In China, the epicentre of the outbreak and consequently the worst affected, messaging and social media apps like Weibo and WeChat have been sources of morale boosting viral videos and ideas about what to do whilst quarantined.
It’s not all sunshine and roses for technology’s role in the outbreak, however, with social media culpable for the spreading of malicious rumours about the virus’ origin, spread and potential cures. Those rumours have even been given a name by the WHO: an “infodemic”. Consequently, a number of social media giants have announced targeted programs to stop the misinformation, including Facebook, which has announced a ban on advertisements promising to cure the disease.
In less important but still noteworthy news, coronavirus itself is also having a knock on effect on tech companies’ bottom-line, chiefly due to the interruption of supply chains. Apple’s schedule for the manufacture of its latest iPhones has been affected, while Microsoft has been forced into issuing a financial warning.
As coronavirus continues to spread, with worrying further outbreaks across Europe, technology is sure to have a significant part to play in this ongoing drama.
Rackspace surveys healthcare leaders' knowledge of tech
A new survey sponsored by Rackspace Technology has analysed how well healthcare leaders understand technology today, compared to five years ago.
Rackspace polled more than 1400 IT and non-IT decision makers in companies making over $300 million a year in six industries, one of which was healthcare.
The survey asked healthcare executives about the changing role of technology in their area, including the dangers of falling behind, their knowledge of the role of technology, and familiarity with what technology can do to the bottom-line.
The majority (90%) say their appreciation for application technology has grown over the past five years, and 88% now have a better understanding of technology than they did five years ago.
They were also asked about the ways technology helps drive corporate strategies. The survey found that:
* 62% say automation drives efficiencies
* 50% say they leverage innovative technologies like IoT and cloud native applications
* 48% say it allows greater employee collaboration
* 48% say it gives them real-time analysis/customer ‘pulse’
Among the technologies that benefit healthcare organisations the most financially i.e. generating revenue and reducing costs:
* 60% say AI/machine learning
* 61% say cybersecurity
* 56% say enterprise software
* 45% say e-commerce
* 44% say SaaS
* 41% say IoT
Almost half of the respondents (44%) say that if legacy applications aren’t modernised in the next two to three years, healthcare organisations may lose their ability to compete.
Other consequences of delaying modernising applications include:
* 56% say they wouldn’t be able to meet new regulations
* 46% say they wouldn’t be able to scale up IT to meet new demands
* 44% say customer service levels would be reduced
* 36% say they wouldn’t be able to integrate
* 33% say poor staff morale would result from inadequate systems
* 33% say there would be lost productivity
Jeff DeVerter, CTO at Rackspace Technology, commented on the research: “The results of our survey are further evidence that modernising applications through a user lens is not just a ‘nice to have’ from a customer satisfaction perspective, but also delivers a wealth of tangible, quantifiable benefits to organisations.
“Applications are a foundation of customer experience, and it is encouraging to see an increased focused and rising enthusiasm for customer experience improvements.”