26 March 2020
Kiwis could be empowered to fight COVID-19 from their homes using an app developed by world-leading facial recognition provider NEC Corporation and NZ software developers.
“NEC iQuarantine” 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.
“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,” said Steven Graham, Head of Innovation and Transformation at NEC New Zealand Ltd.
“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.
Graham says by helping Kiwis to monitor themselves, and providing health information remotely, NEC iQuarantine could significantly reduce the burden on NZ’s healthcare infrastructure.
“We know that 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 on their people, and services,” Graham said.
“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.
“One of the biggest risks we face as a nation is the prospect of our emergency services and Healthline phone lines being overwhelmed.
“Whether they are in the office, clinic, at home or on the road, health service professionals can use our app to gain access and insights that could help them save thousands of lives,” said Graham.
NEC iQuarantine uses NEC Corporation’s facial recognition software, which last year was ranked first overall by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in its Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) 2018, after registering the faces of 12 million people.
Using NEC facial recognition technology and push notifications, the NEC iQuarantine app prompts 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 ‘ok’, an update is automatically made in the NEC iQuarantine Case Management Portal powered by world-leading CRM provider Salesforce.
Secure data storage is provided by Amazon Web Services, a global leader in cloud services.
“Supported by the advanced artificial technology of Amazon Connect, which includes chat-bots that can ask and answer basic health-related questions, NEC iQuarantine can do a lot to ease the pressure on frontline health and emergency services,” says Steven Graham.
“NEC iQuarantine is a highly-scalable, crowd-first approach, based on a great mobile-first user experience.”
The smartphone app is easy to use for both those in self-isolation and health professionals.
It helps users track the number of days they have been in self-isolation, and will alert 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.
Using the NEC iQuarantine Case Management Portal, health services can easily access individual case information, including the status and priority of those in self-isolation.
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