Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates the adoption of traditional public health measures for disease control, including rapidly tracing the contacts and locations of infected individuals to prevent further spread. Leveraging technology can accelerate the scale and speed of this essential public health measure, and many organizations have announced plans to launch or support contact tracing initiatives though their underlying technologies, workflows, and privacy architectures.
In April 2020, B.Next and In-Q-Tel convened members of the public health and technology communities for a virtual roundtable to discuss the key elements of tech-enabled contact tracing programs, potential strategies to optimize their implementation and adoption, and possible frameworks for preserving the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. View the presentations on YouTube to learn more about:
Note, these presentations were recorded June 19, 2020.
Diagnostic tests are a critical tool to contain epidemics, to support medical care, and for public health measures. Understanding when they are accurate and inaccurate is necessary for understanding which individuals have the virus, need isolation, and need their contacts traced.
Many diagnostic tests are reliable, though all are imperfect. And at a large scale, tiny errors in accuracy for single tests can aggregate into large errors if deployed without care. This is especially true when the rate of true infection in the tested population is expected to be low. For example, when testing for infection in a person who doesn’t have symptoms or a history of exposure, or when testing for a history of infection when the overall prevalence of disease for a given population is low.
This paper covers:
- The accuracy and errors in diagnostic tests
- How low disease prevalence can cause many false positives
- Diagnostic testing in normal times: testing for influenza
- Balancing errors with diagnostic needs
B.Next’s experts from healthcare, government, and industry leveraged its knowledge and expansive network to create the following high-level guide that maps sensors in commercial products to key vital signs and explores ways to capitalize on the smart products that may supplement digital health efforts in response to COVID-19.
- Connection between health sensing techniques and relevant vital signs
- Highlight of some challenges with existing commercial solutions
- Catalog of current product capabilities and emerging trends for future products
- Use cases for understanding potential ways to use sensors during contingency care
This Technology Insights Guide provides an overview of the use of commercial-off-the-shelf (not medical grade) sensor technologies that might be useful in supporting the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak response. The intent of this guide is to acquaint clinicians with the fundamental concepts related to the use of wearable sensors and to provide a possible adjunct to existing healthcare related strategies for managing the potential surge of patients with COVID-19 symptoms. Emphasis on technologies that could serve as an adjunct to conventional methods of patient monitoring are provided. This effort is not intended to convey medical guidance or provide recommendations regarding the outpatient management of presumed or confirmed COVID-19 patients. It is intended as a supplement to support the ongoing efforts of the healthcare community currently managing COVID-19.