Senior-focused digital health company CarePredict rolled out a new set of contact-tracing tools designed for senior living facilities at the end of March.
Named PinPoint, the new set of tools is broken up into four types of tracing: contact tracing, location tracing, path tracing and room traffic. The company said it used indoor location tech to identify where a staff member or patient was in the facility and who they came into contact with.
“Once a suspected carrier has been identified, CarePredict PinPoint can indicate within seconds: everyone the infected individual had contact with in the facility, including the time of day, duration, and location (contact tracing), all the places within the facility the individual visited (location tracing), the exact path taken by the individual throughout the facility (path tracing) and anyone else that spent time in the same areas where the infected individual had previously spent time (room traffic),” Jerry Wilmink, Chief Business Officer of CarePredict, wrote in an email to MobiHealthNews.
WHY IT MATTERS
Seniors in long-term care facilities have been some of the hardest hit communities in the coronavirus pandemic. For example, in Massachusetts more than 44% of deaths in the state are attributed to residents in long-term care facilities.
“The risk of contracting the coronavirus in nursing homes and senior living communities is exacerbated by close living quarters, plus the fact that staff are coming into direct contact with multiple residents on a daily basis,” Wilmink wrote. “Experts from Dr. Fauci and the CDC have identified contact tracing as a crucial step in stopping the spread of the virus, but manual contact tracing methods are slow and laborious. Also, because they rely on recollection – infected individuals identifying everyone they came into contact with over the past 14 days, where, and when they did so – they can be ineffective among seniors, in whom the incidence of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and memory loss is higher."
THE LARGER TREND
Contact tracing is a hot topic in the conversation around controlling the coronavirus.
In mid-April Apple and Google teamed up to introduce health data-sharing and COVID-19 contact-tracing technologies to the lion's share of the smartphone market. The two companies committed to building a Bluetooth-based contact-tracing functionality into their underlying operating systems, noting that it will be designed as an opt-in functionality, but would open the door for more participants and deeper data integration with health apps and governments' public health initiatives.
Several different countries, including Singapore and South Korea, have developed tools to help trace the virus. In fact, just last week the UK’s NHSX collaborated with Google and Apple for a tracing project with the goal of being able to relax lockdown measures in the country.
In late March the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech), the in-house IT agency of the Singapore public service, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH), launched a mobile app called TraceTogether, to help support and supplement current contact-tracing efforts in the nation-state, in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
CarePredict noted that its tool differed from ones that were put in place by big tech.
“Unlike the projects big tech is working on, CarePredict’s solution doesn’t rely on Bluetooth or smartphones,” Wilmink said. “Instead, it uses beacons and wearable bracelets to create precise indoor location tracking that can pinpoint exact locations where infected individuals may have visited. It can also identify other individuals that may have passed through these areas (risking exposure) but didn’t come into direct contact with the infected individual. This identifies candidates for testing and allows for disinfection, which is particularly critical since COVID-19 can live on surfaces for days.”