August 6, 2020

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Tech Assists Healthcare Sector in Singapore deal with surge in COVID-19 cases

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Singapore has experienced a steep rise in COVID-19 confirmed infections over the past week. The nation has reported over 8,000 cases and now has the largest number of confirmed cases in South East Asia.

There have been collective efforts in research and technology to help the healthcare system deal with the rise in numbers.

Government authorities have focused on developing faster tests for the disease, tracing close contacts of those confirmed infected, and to continue to provide a high standard of medical care for citizens with other health issues.

Government initiatives in biotechnology and research have ramped up after the first confirmed case of Coronavirus back in January.

The quick increase in confirmed numbers of COVID-19 infections have been mostly found in migrant worker dormitories. New clusters have been identified which has lead to an increase in testing.

Government Technology Agencies Working To Provide Increased Testing

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research and Tan Tock Seng Hospital have developed a kit called the Fortitude Kit 2.0. 

From February, Fortitude Kit 2.0 has been in routine use in 13 Singapore hospitals and labs, public and private.

Currently, it is also used by healthcare professionals globally to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The government’s Home Team Science and Technology Agency and Veredus Laboratories have partnered to develop a swab test diagnosis for the disease, which is said to have 99 per cent accuracy. It is able to produce results in three to six hours, quicker than most tests initially used in hospitals, which take up to seven hours.

The Health Sciences Authority is also working towards being able to provide testing quickly. It is supplying all tests that have provisional authorisation to health care institutions, hospitals, medical clinics and laboratories in Singapore.

Biolidics, a MedTech company specialising in cancer diagnostic solutions, is launching its approved COVID-19 test kits this month which will give results in 10 minutes.

Telemedicine to assist Healthcare System during Circuit Breaker period

Another Technology that has seen a rise in usage is Telemedicine applications. Many citizens that are quarantined or simply following social distancing rules have been using Telemedicine sources such as Doctor Anywhere, MyDoc and Whitecoat.

These applications provide services such as online medical consultation and can prescribe medicines for delivery. Being able to offer such services has meant they have received increased interested during the current pandemic.

Doctor Anywhere launched in 2017 has more than 1 million users via their mobile app. Since the outbreak, they have experienced nearly triple the usage of its app.

MyDoc provides the user to have a virtual visit to the doctors, where they can be screened and treated online.

WhiteCoat which has more than two million corporate and retail users in Singapore is believed to have grown between 20 per cent to 30 per cent week by week in consultations.

Testing and Telemedicine: Allowing more efficient and effect treatment of patients

These technologies are allowing doctors to treat patients in a more efficient way and gives patients access to healthcare much quickly to help fight the spread of the virus.

More testing availability will help identify those infected quicker so they can receive treatment quicker.

Telemedicine is effective at this period too, enabling those that must stay at home access to qualified medical professionals and taking the strain of healthcare professionals working on the frontline.

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