COVID-19: What’s Happening to the Self-isolated Individuals?

As the Coronavirus continues to spread, countries are putting a mandate on Social Distancing, Self-isolation and Quarantine.

What do these terms mean and how do they apply?

If you sometimes misuse the terms, you’re not alone!

Social distancing is a measure taken by healthy people — to actively keep away from crowded places and maintain a physical distance between other people to avoid getting infected.

Self-isolation is a measure taken to contain the infection transmission chain — by people who suspect they have the virus because they meet one or two stipulated criterion to suggest possible exposure, and thus are asked to stay away from other people and watch out for any symptoms for a period of 14days (which is considered the incubation period for COVID-19).

Quarantine involves keeping people who have tested positive to the virus in a place, like an isolation centre, and managing their symptoms until they become asymptomatic.

With the overwhelming effect of the virus on the healthcare system, it becomes easier to relegate one group of people among the three; the self-isolated individuals. They are in their houses or anywhere else, staying away from people and watching out for symptoms or a lack of it. These individuals will have to actively self-monitor which might include regularly checking temperature and watching out for signs of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath.

What’s happening with the self-isolated individuals?

We can only know when they call!

People under self-isolation or self-quarantine are advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people within their homes and communities until their Public Health Authority advises that they are no longer at risk of spreading the virus to others. As test kits become more available, self-isolated individuals may also be directed to a place where they can get tested.

These individuals can only leave their houses for absolutely necessary reasons, such as to seek medical care. If they develop symptoms midway, they are advised to call a doctor, or the National Center for Disease Control to find out what to do. Some with mild cases may be directed to stay home and treat their symptoms as they surface with over-the-counter drugs. However, those with more serious symptoms, or who fit into the higher-risk groups, may be directed to seek immediate medical care.

However, talking about the overwhelmed healthcare system right now; is it really possible for the health providers to take every one of these calls from these individuals and treat as urgent even if it’s just from a scared self-isolated person having a panic attack that presents as COVID-19 symptoms?

No, it isn’t!

Is there a better way to monitor self-isolated individuals?

Yes, there is!

Most of these people in self-isolation are scared and on top of that, have to fight with the feeling of being alone, which is what accounts for the unstable mental health of such individuals. There should be a provision for Remote Monitoring of Self-isolated Individuals so that they can enjoy the benefits of routine checkups by Healthcare providers within their proximity. This is one way to attain proper management of self-isolated individuals, including quick emergency response.

What can technology do to help?

A lot!

For one, a Data Capture and Management System built on technology can simplify remote surveillance and management of self-isolated individuals nationwide, by giving NCDC and Healthcare providers firsthand knowledge of how all self-isolated individuals in their database are feeling at the moment and who needs immediate help.

Does Seamfix have a working solution already?

Yes, we do!

We are pleased to support efforts made by the agency in the fight against Coronavirus by offering a ready-to-use Digital Data Capture and Management Solution to serve as a tool for NCDC and healthcare givers to remotely monitor people in voluntary self-isolation across the country.

The solution has form building capabilities and customizable web-form templates that can be used for two purposes:

1) For admins (NCDC and Healthcare givers) to enrol self-isolated individuals by collecting necessary details such as name, age, address, medical history etc.

2) A Self-isolation Monitoring Sheet to be used by the self-isolated individual to record their symptoms or lack of it, every day until the isolation period is over. The Self-isolation Monitoring Sheet can be shared as a link to individuals anywhere in the country.

Also, it is a mobile solution that works on Android and Windows devices which means, self-isolated individuals can fill the forms using their smartphones or mobile devices, and the admins (NCDC and Healthcare givers) can use their already existing devices to monitor the data. This rules out any need for new hardware devices.

The platform comes fitted with a built-in intuitive dashboard, like this, for the admins (NCDC and Healthcare givers) to see all inputted records in real-time for the purpose of monitoring and to know when they would need to jump in and administer further care.

It works offline which means it can be used in areas where there is poor internet connectivity. Self-isolated individuals can still record their symptoms or lack of it even when their devices are offline. The data will be stored on the device and will sync to the admins’ (NCDC and Healthcare givers) dashboard once the devices detect the internet. However, for the purpose of real-time monitoring and immediate response, the internet is paramount.

Even more, this system can serve as a data field to mine insights to better understand the virus: including the behavioural pattern of the virus in people of different demographic and psychographic groups, the peak time for specific symptom emergence in different cases, even the effect of over-the-counter drugs in curtailing the symptoms. All of these data can go into good use for the proper management of self-isolated individuals.

What is the process flow for this solution?

  1. The solution offers a ready-to-use Self-isolation Monitoring Sheet or an easy-to-use form builder that will allow admins (NCDC and Healthcare givers) to customize the available Self-isolation Monitoring Sheet if they see fit.
  2. It will create a link for the published forms, which can be customized, and shared. These forms can also be embedded in the NCDC or designated hospitals’ websites, shared on social media or sent via email to anyone within the country.
  3. Self-isolated individuals can access the Self-isolation Monitoring Sheet on a smartphone or mobile device on which they can input their symptoms or lack of it every day until the isolation period is over (usually 14days).
  4. The admin dashboard is already set up to churn the data provided by the self-isolated individuals into real-time readable insights.
  5. The solution has full geotagging capabilities that will be necessary to pinpoint the location of all self-isolated individuals on a digital map. Since the data is also location-based, it becomes easy to flag when isolated individuals have moved from their designated locations.
  6. We take GDPR and NDPR seriously by ensuring complete data security at every stage of the data’s lifecycle (at-rest or in-transit), including tight Access Management and Control.

What are some benefits of using the Seamfix self-isolation monitoring tool?

  • To boost remote surveillance of suspected COVID-19 cases.
  • To enable prompt detection of symptomatic persons with COVID-19.
  • To foster effective response to self-isolated individuals and rapid diagnosis.
  • To serve as a platform for efficient COVID-19 suspected case management.
  • To also serve as a starting point for contact tracing and identification of transmission chains.
  • To act as a standard data warehouse for future references and a reliable source for communication.
  • To help clear up bed spaces in the hospital as these patients can be properly taken care of remotely.

Self-isolation is better for everyone when there’s an attentive digital nurse nearby! Ready to get on board?

Together we can work to slow the spread of the virus. #StaySafe

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