At TentCraft, our motto is “Make It Better.” That’s the mindset we strive for - to always be improving in our daily work and lives however we can.
In that spirit, we want to use our blog to highlight some of the incredible efforts and innovations happening as a light in the dark during this uniquely difficult time. While we know it won’t ease the suffering so many are experiencing today, the fact that good people and brilliant minds are rising to the challenge and making important, fascinating contributions to the fight against COVID-19 is worth celebrating. Indeed, necessity is the mother of invention - and for those leading the way and making it better, we salute you!
An amazing technology that recently caught our attention is the US Health Weather Map by Kinsa Health. Using their network of smart thermometers and mobile applications, Kinsa was able to aggregate their data to produce a map of the country showing areas where COVID / Influenza-like symptoms are observed to be on the rise above normal levels. This allows health officials to identify areas where the virus is likely to be taking root earlier so that measures can be taken to slow the spread, and so vital resources can be deployed where they’re most needed in a timely, efficient way.
In addition to helping manage response and resources, this technology allows officials to supplement important data, like the path the virus is taking and how quickly it spreads - information that had been scarce or difficult to calculate as a result of severe nationwide testing shortages.
According to the New York Times, Kinsa’s maps have “accurately predicted the spread of the flu around the United States about two weeks before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s own surveillance tool, the weekly FluView tracker,” in recent years. When COVID-19 hit, it was a natural application for the technology.
Pretty impressive! And experts are saying it’s a game-changer in how disease response is managed.
“This is very, very exciting,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University. “This is 21st-century disease surveillance.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, demand for Kinsa’s smart thermometers has been off-the-charts in recent weeks and production has understandably struggled to keep pace. But the good news is, the spike in demand has meant more people than ever have smart thermometers, meaning data-quality is improving thanks to an increased sample size.
It’s clear that Kinsa’s smart thermometer application is an innovation in healthcare that is helping improve response to the COVID-19 pandemic and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. As the technology is improved and wider adoption is achieved, it’s easy to see how tools like this will become essential in detecting and managing threats to public health. If we should have to face a similar health-crisis in the future, we’ll be able to respond more quickly and decisively than ever.