Digital Landscape of COVID-19 Testing: Challenges and Opportunities

by   Darshan Gandhi, et al.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has left a devastating trail all over the world, in terms of loss of lives, economic decline, travel restrictions, trade deficit, and collapsing economy including real-estate, job loss, loss of health benefits, the decline in quality of access to care and services and overall quality of life. Immunization from the anticipated vaccines will not be the stand-alone guideline that will help surpass the pandemic and return to normalcy. Four pillars of effective public health intervention include diagnostic testing for both asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals, contact tracing, quarantine of individuals with symptoms or who are exposed to COVID-19, and maintaining strict hygiene standards at the individual and community level. Digital technology, currently being used for COVID-19 testing include certain mobile apps, web dashboards, and online self-assessment tools. Herein, we look into various digital solutions adapted by communities across universities, businesses, and other organizations. We summarize the challenges experienced using these tools in terms of quality of information, privacy, and user-centric issues. Despite numerous digital solutions available and being developed, many vary in terms of information being shared in terms of both quality and quantity, which can be overwhelming to the users. Understanding the testing landscape through a digital lens will give a clear insight into the multiple challenges that we face including data privacy, cost, and miscommunication. It is the destiny of digitalization to navigate testing for COVID-19. Block-chain based systems can be used for privacy preservation and ensuring ownership of the data to remain with the user. Another solution involves having digital health passports with relevant and correct information. In this early draft, we summarize the challenges and propose possible solutions to address the same.


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