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Essay: Efficiency of using digital technology to implement contact tracing & vaccine registration

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INTRODUCTION

Covid -19 is an unprecedented global pandemic that has affected and changed human living since March of 2020. After a year of adjusting to the ‘new normal’, almost everything has shifted to the digital world. The physical interaction has been limited because of the possibility of spreading the virus. This paves the way for taking advantage of the technology that we have to have social interaction and transactions through digital technology. With the advancement of technology especially during this pandemic, people shifted from writing registration forms on papers and queueing in order to pass requirements to online registration with just a tap of fingers and sending requirements through emails. During the outbreak of the virus, one of the problems that needs an efficient and functional solution is the contract tracing of possible people that had interaction with persons that carry the covid virus. According to CNN, the Philippines ranks 79th among the 98 countries globally in Covid-19 response. This is not a good sign of handling global health threats. And the recent challenge for the government is the vaccine rollout and its registration. Adapting with the power of technology, these challenges can create multiple solutions in fighting the outbreak smoothly and efficiently.

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Registration for acquiring documents and medications have always been conducted physically through the use of pen and paper. The said method limits the capacity to handle large numbers of individuals due to limited workforce allocated for that operation. This procedure also endangers the health of both parties and greatly disregards the main purpose of social distancing especially in areas where Covid -19 is widespread.

Numerous Mobile Applications are utilized already in the mainstream for delivering out information. These includes; Schools enrollment application, Food delivery services etc.. Such technology can also be used in Vaccine Registration where transactions will be implemented and performed without the use of any physical interaction between one another. According to the CDC, V-safe is where individuals have the access to check their progress after being vaccinated. V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

This research aims to identify the efficiency of shifting to digital technology such as web and mobile applications in implementing contact tracing and vaccine registration in the country during the pandemic. This study will also determine the convenience of using technology to improve the Philippine health care system.

What are the current methods that are used by the LGU for contact tracing and for scheduling vaccine appointments that can be improved by this research?

What age groups are digitally literate to use online/mobile applications in submitting their health care documents for vaccine appointments and contact tracing?

Upon shifting to digital technology, what is the effectivity rate of online/mobile applications in vaccine registration and contact tracing?

What are the recommendations that can be used for further studies based on the result of this research?

SCOPE AND LIMITATION

The main focus of the study is to develop mobile applications for vaccine registrations and integrating it in the Philippine health care system. The research aims to have an easier, safer and more efficient method to register and book an appointment for the vaccine. The application will help prevent any physical contact with each other. Hence, it will reduce the probability of infection of COVID-19. It has a program that contains personal information that will determine whether the individual is eligible for the vaccine.

Moreover, the application also offers a more convenient method for contact tracing. Once the individual has registered, they are only required to scan QR codes that will serve as their identification when entering an establishment. The location and time will be only accessed if a person tested positive went to the same location. This study further intends to be an assistance for the government and the community as the ongoing contact tracing is made. The data collection will be from people ages 18 years old and above. The study will not cover any issues not relating to the vaccine and contact tracings.

REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

As of 2019, 67% of the global population had subscribed to mobile devices, of which 65% were smartphones. In 2019, 204 billion apps were downloaded, and as of January 2020, 3.8 billion people actively used social media. (Budd, J., Miller, B.S., Manning, E.M. et al. 2020). This data shows that most of the global population helds a technological device that can be used to improve their way of living. Technological creators like mobile application developers can optimize this opportunity to create solutions to current modern problems that the world faces, such as how to improve scheduling appointments for Covid-19 vaccination and contact tracing.

Technology amidst pandemic is one of the solutions to address everyone’s concerns and needs. The involvement of Big data and Artificial Intelligence have helped facilitate COVID-19 preparedness and the tracking of people, and so the spread of infection, in several countries. Tools such as migration maps, which use mobile phones, mobile payment applications, and social media to collect real-time data on the location of people, allowed Chinese authorities to track the movement of people who had visited the Wuhan market, the pandemic’s epicentre. With these data, machine learning models were developed to forecast the regional transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 and guide border checks and surveillance. (Whitelaw, S., Mamas, M., Topol, E., Van Spall, H. et al.2020). With the use of Big data and Artificial Intelligence, It helps the data scientists and other researchers to gather accurate data and avoid misinformation. Through these tools it also helps some researchers to find a cure and remedies immediately.

Data Science and Artificial Intelligence is one of the major tools that is used for the vaccination rollout in many countries. One example is the vaccination rollout in the Philippines. Harnessing technology and using its expertise, Cisco has launched a suite of smart technology solutions with CISCO Meraki Vaccine Distribution Solution, hoping to address these top concerns in storage and delivery. With cloud-managed IT solutions, Meraki offers total control of any incident, from alert to fix. This is through the use of temperature and humidity sensors, door open/close sensors, smart cameras, wireless access points and networking, which can all lead to seamless delivery to distribution centers and better storage management. Accessible anywhere, smart sensors, cameras, and their analytics and insights are centrally managed in the cloud via the Meraki dashboard, and can help ensure safe and secure storage, distribution, and administration of vaccines. To keep the vaccines’ physical integrity, Meraki also employs 24/7 monitoring using smart cameras and real-time alerting systems. This notifies personnel when it detects motions in sensitive areas such as storage room doors or freezer doors. To maintain quality control in storage, intrusion sensors can also ensure that freezer doors remain closed and vaccines are kept safe in environments that satisfy their required temperature level. (Tobias, J. et al.2021). These technologies helped the Philippines to manage the vaccination rollout. With the use of networking systems and handling big data, the Philippines is able to control the dispersion of vaccines.

The world is using technology with force to develop contact-tracing technology. Contact tracing is a monitoring process for individuals who have been exposed to someone infected with a virus, and are at higher risk of infecting themselves and others. The process involves three basic steps, namely contact identification, where the infected person recalls activities and the roles of persons involved since the onset of the infectious disease; contact listing, which provides the names of potentially infected contacts, and contact follow-up, to monitor any onset of symptoms associated with the viral infection. (Owusu P., et al 2020). By taking advantage of technological advancements, scientists and developers have developed a conventional method of contact tracing. The use of contact tracing will give us accurate information and identity from everyone. It will be easier for the investigative team to locate the infected person. With this technology it also uses data privacy for ethical reasons.

METHODOLOGY

  1. Research design/project design
    The researchers used qualitative data for the study. Qualitative research is used to collect and analyze the problem by way of generating non-numerical data that can be used to gather insights or generate new ideas in research. The researchers will gather respondents from people ages 18 years old and above.
  2. Research instruments/requirement analysis
    The researchers use laptops with internet connection to gather related literature, studies and compose the research study itself.
  3. Data gathering procedure/project development
    The researchers first gathered the information about the topic of the study in order to prepare themselves for the tasks ahead. Upon accumulating sufficient information about the topic, the researchers will begin the task of preparing the data gathering. With the help of the research adviser and the authorities regarding the study, a survey questionnaire can be constructed.

References

Tan, L. (2021, January 28). PH ranks 79th among 98 countries in COVID-19 response. https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2021/1/28/COVID-19-pandemic-Philippines-ranking-Lowy-Institute.html
Whitelaw, S., Mamas, M. A., Topol, E., & van Spall, H. G. C. (2020). Applications of digital technology in COVID-19 pandemic planning and response. The Lancet Digital Health, 2(8), e435–e440. https://doi.org/10.1016/s2589-7500(20)30142-4

Tobias, J. (2021, June 7). Artificial Intelligence and automation seen to advance vaccine rollout in the Philippines. Philstar.Com. https://www.philstar.com/business/technology/2021/06/07/2094413/artificial-intelligence-and-automation-seen-advance-vaccine-rollout-philippines

Owusu, P. N. (2020). Digital technology applications for contact tracing: the new promise for COVID-19 and beyond? Global Health Research and Policy, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41256-020-00164-1

Budd, J., Miller, B. S., Manning, E. M., Lampos et al (2020). Digital technologies in the public-health response to COVID-19. Nature Medicine, 26(8), 1183–1192. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-1011-4

V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker. (2021, June 12). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/vsafe.htm

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