An app developed by world-leading facial recognition provider NEC Corporation and local software developers aims to help Kiwis fight Covid-19 during lockdown and self isolation.
“iQuarantine”, developed by NEC in partnership with Fronde and digital agency Alphero, is a mobile check-in and case management system that allows users to report their location and health status up to three times a day from their own homes.
Case management for the system is provided by global CRM provider Salesforce while secure data storage is provided by Amazon Web Services.
By helping Kiwis to monitor themselves, and provide health information remotely, iQuarantine could significantly reduce the burden on NZ’s healthcare infrastructure, said Steven Graham, head of innovation and transformation at NEC New Zealand.
“We’re all aware of the escalating events around us and the potential impact on New Zealand’s infrastructure, and capacity to deliver healthcare services in particular,” he said.
“As this Covid-19 crisis began to unfold, I started working with three Wellington-based organisations to set up a team to run a design and build process to have a solution ready to go before the end of the month."
The ability to maximise time and resources will be a critical success factor for community based assessment centres, district health boards, and the Ministry of Health, as they grapple with what’s likely to be unprecedented demand.
The iQuarantine smartphone app was now ready to help.
The app is easy to use for both those in self-isolation and health professionals, helping users track the number of days they have been in self-isolation, and alerting them through a push notification immediately if there is any change to the Covid-19 alert level.
Health services can also use the app in the field to update case information in real-time.
“We want to help health professionals focus first on those in most need, while leaving those who are healthy and/or not affected by Covid-19 to continue to self-monitor," Graham said.
One of the biggest risks was the prospect of emergency services and Healthline phone lines being overwhelmed.
To reduce that risk, the iQuarantine uses NEC Corporation’s facial recognition software, and push notifications to prompt people to check in three times a day, confirming who they are, their location and current health status.
When a user notifies health services they are "okay", an update is automatically made in the iQuarantine case management portal powered by Salesforce.
“Supported by the advanced artificial technology of Amazon Connect, which includes chat-bots that can ask and answer basic health related questions, iQuarantine can do a lot to ease the pressure on frontline health and emergency services,” said Graham.