Innovative solutions for better healthcare in Australia during Covid-19

The following post is sponsored by Amazon Web Services

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on organisations and individuals, with the pressure particularly intense on healthcare providers and essential services. As governments scramble to keep the public safe, it has also sparked the innovative use of technology in Australia.

From increasing the point of care for earlier detection, reducing the workload of healthcare workers, and getting vital medical supplies delivered to those who need them, we look at some of these innovations that are implemented in Australia.

Enabling seamless temperature detection

Temperature taking is an important Covid-19 safeguard to reduce the spread of the virus but can be challenging to implement with large crowds. To dramatically improve the speed and accuracy of temperature checks, local computer vision specialist Bigmate created a new system called Thermy to quickly detect if a person has an elevated body temperature.

With its 20 years’ experience in interpreting the content of video streams and using it to keep workers safe in industrial workplaces, Bigmate turned this expertise to interpret images from thermal cameras. Thermy can observe the body temperatures of multiple people at the same time, leveraging machine learning to detect minute differences in temperature with a variance of just 0.2 degrees.

Because Thermy works even if people are walking, this makes the solution ideal for checking temperatures as workers enter a building to keep them safe. By hosting the backend infrastructure on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Bigmate says it was able to rapidly test and deploy its solution.

Real-time asset tracking in hospitals

The threat of inundated hospitals makes it more important than ever that precious manpower is not wasted on mundane tasks such as asset tracking. Spotto is a multi-technology asset tracking system that makes it easy to track large numbers of assets using either asset beacons or passive RFID tags. The firm’s innovative system uses simple-to-install beacon readers or roving RFID readers to track assets based on their last-seen locations. This makes for a simple and affordable solution that scales well in large, complex areas such as hospitals.

Currently, Wyong Hospital and the Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) are using Spotto to track a wide range of hospital equipment ranging from gas regulators to beds and wheelchairs. Because everything is based on the AWS Cloud with no local on-premises servers to set up, the system is so simple that it can be self-installed – a necessity during this trying period.

Predicting the next outbreak

To help track the spread of Covid-19 in Australia, ARQ Group and Swinburne University launched an online tool envisioned to get ahead of the next outbreak. The anonymous survey tool poses a series of questions about symptoms and risk factors currently not recorded by health authorities to accurately and reliably analyse the potential spread of the virus.

The app is built in collaboration with leading researchers, astrophysicists, and data scientists at Swinburne University, while ARQ Group provided strategic advice for the infrastructure deployed on AWS. AWS services are used to power the app and website from users at scale, and the results are then processed by supercomputers housed within the university to help predict outbreaks. For the latest information, refer to https://beatcovid19now.org/.

Delivering medical supplies with minimum interaction

They say necessity is the catalyst for innovation. With the Covid-19 pandemic, reduced human contact is vital to mitigate community-based transmission. Melbourne-based startup Swoop Aero specialises in on-demand healthcare, using drones to deliver essential medical supplies around Australia.

The control of Swoops fleet is achieved by leveraging AWS IoT which connects to its drones using a combination of terrestrial and low-cost Iridium satellite services. The drones deliver vital healthcare items to a specified location with minimal human interaction. Behind the scenes, all processing is handled by a serverless environment with AWS Lambda and AWS IoT services at its core.

Terabytes of flight logs generated during each flight are stored securely on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to enable Swoop to perform post-flight analysis and machine learning on AWS, allowing it to further improve the performance and reliability of the service.

Supporting healthcare with data

The Covid-19 pandemic underscored the critical role that clinical data and technology infrastructure play for preparedness. Evidentli uses AI-powered data automation to transform real-world data into knowledge, giving clinicians the latest evidence they need to make effective decisions quickly. Leveraging AWS’s breadth of scalable services such as Amazon S3 and AWS Lambda, Evidentli’s clinical analytics platform automatically cleanses, federates, and standardises real-world data to the Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI) common data model. This data can then be securely collaborated on using analytic tools.

AWS is collaborating with healthcare providers and public health organizations around the globe to support their efforts to cope with the impact of Covid-19. Learn more about our efforts here.

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