WSIS TalkX (World Summit on the Information Society Conversations)

Free Application and Scientific Resources to track COVID-19

April 09, 2020 WSIS TalkX Season 2020 Episode 2
WSIS TalkX (World Summit on the Information Society Conversations)
Free Application and Scientific Resources to track COVID-19
Show Notes Transcript

Starting in April, the WSIS Team will host a weekly virtual WSIS TalkX the for the WSIS Stakeholders to interact, connect and collaborate. Preparing towards the WSIS Forum 2020, High-level Track Facilitators, Workshop Organizers, WSIS Prizes 2020 Champions and others will be conducting virtual interactive talks highlighting their linkages with the WSIS Action Lines and SDGs.

Join our second live session with Q&A on Free Application and Scientific Resources to track COVID-19

Setting the context: WSIS Action Line Facilitator C7 E-Health: 

  • Mr Hani Eskandar - ICT Applications Coordinator, ITU 
  • Mr Sameer Pujari - Vice-Chair, Focus Group: AI 4 Health, WHO

Moderator & Speakers: 

  • Ms Tatyana Kanzaveli — CEO, Open Health Network — PatientSphere (Help people to manage their health during COVID times! Free application to track COVID like symptoms and share with doctors is available in English and Spanish
  • Dr Tom Blue — Director of Industry Strategy, Institute for Functional Medicine, USA
  • Prof. Karl Blanchet — Director, CERAH Scientific Resource Centre, University of Geneva

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Ms Gitanjali Sah — Strategy and Policy Coordinator, ITU:   0:05
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Good afternoon, dear WSIS Stakeholders. We thank you for joining us today for the second WSIS TalkX. Our WSIS TalkX was launched yesterday. I would like to invite our WSIS focal points for action line C7 E-health, Mr Hani Eskandar from ITU and Mr Sameer Pujari to please provide the context to the TalkX today. Dear Hani, please make your commence.

Mr Hani Eskandar - ICT Applications Coordinator, ITU:   0:37
Okay, Thank you very much. Gitanjali. Good morning! Good afternoon, everyone. Very glad to welcome you at this WSIS TalkX about free applications, solutions and scientific resources that are available for COVID. My name is Hani Eskandar, and I am the applications coordinator at the Communication Development Bureau, at the ITU. Very glad to welcome you to this talk, which is really part of the WSIS action line on E-health, which is co-facilitated by the WHO and ITU. So, uh, we really thank, would like to thank the WSIS Forum team for allowing to use WSIS platform and community to share information and knowledge particularly about this very critical issue of COVID. I think we are all very eager not to duplicate work and replicate. And we don't have the no, the luxury to afford that currently. So we are going to hear three different examples from three very distinguished speakers. Um, Ma Tatyana Kanzaveil, who is the CEO of Open Health Network, Dr Tom Blue, the director of Industry Strategy the Institute of Functional Medicine from the USA and Professor Karl Blanchet, who is the director of CERAH Scientific Resource Center at the University of Geneva. Those are definitely very good examples among many others, who will, you know, provide insights about experience and solution. And it's also that could be leveraged to strengthen our public and private response to COVID. We are very good also to have WHO with us, also very interested to hear about how WHO is doing it in this space. For the last few weeks, we've been working with our partners, including WHO to really connected and compiled some of the examples from the European government particularly on using mobile health solutions for COVID, and you're gonna see a compilation of all solutions in the webpage I just pasted on the chat, which is the webpage of the mobile health hub? Knowledge hub that is an initiative between ITU, WHO and the European Commission and the Andalusia Public Health Service, along with the network of other partners who are active in the additional health space in Europe. What we've been seeing from those types off initiatives is there is kind of very high recognition from, you know, government but also from the private sector on how digital solution can really bring about very concrete impact. And we've seen that there is a number of different categories in different ways, digital solutions have been used for COVID. A part of it was based on self-empowerment, centre assessment tools for information and advising citizens on how they address COVID, with the right information, but also combined in many cases with some assessment tools, self-assessment tools, you know, symptom checkers and those kinds of things. Another group of application, we're really used to help to contact tracing and proximity tracing, people who have been the proximity of an effect that person. Another thing about untied the patients. But also we have seen applications on surveillance and case reporting education for health professionals etc. Some of those applications actually have been already tested in the context of previous outbreaks, particularly Ebola. But some others are not yet evaluated. So there are some parts of, I would say, unknown particular on the risks on privacy. There are some types of application acted on the contact tracing and proximity tracings that might provide some threats and challenges in terms of protection, of data and privacy, etc.  

Mr Hani Eskandar - ICT Applications Coordinator, ITU:   5:12
But at the same time, I think we are seeing a very high rise in the profile of digital health. I think this was manifested very clearly just yesterday, many of you maybe might have heard the European Commission released a recommendation to develop a kind of a common toolbox, to kind of provide some guidances to European countries on how to use mobile applications and data to convey to combat and but also exit from the COVID crisis. And those toolboxes were recommended to have two levels, one on the mobile applications and the other one on the use of aggregated and reminds data. So I think the fact that the European Commission has moved towards you know the urgency of providing some guidance to make sure that we have mobile applications that are trusted and are a very high recognition of the fact that that digital tools will be critical and I would say even essential to kind of curb the spread of disease but also help us own to get out of the lockdown situation, among other measures, of course. But I think digital tools are really seen now as very critical, as a piece of the solution, and that's why I think now, I think many governments are really looking at digital tools particular, also telling medicine in a completely different manner. So I think issues of privacy and data protection etc. hopefully will have to find some concrete solutions in the near future to be addressed so we can really see for the first time a real upscale and real adoption at many schemes of mobile solutions and we will see, hopefully, the very strong impact of the solution in the near future. Maybe another point that I would like to highlight very quickly is that the telecom sector and those are the members of the ITU who are now moving very quickly to provide really concrete contribution to combat disease. And there are significant contributions that the telecoms providers, including the EMN not only to, you know, include the capacities, hospitals and health centres but also on reaching out of the population with the right information, etc. We've seen social media is being leveraged at a high skill. And, I'm sure that Sameer will talk about that for the great issues of that WHO took to launch Viber and WhatsAppbox, Chatbox. But also that is we should not forget also about 50% of the population who are not yet connected toe Internet. The medical operators really have a very strong rule to reach out to everyone regardless of where they are. And also, I think now people are starting to look at the ability data in a completely, you know, you know, re-energize manner really being able to leverage on only minds and aggregated data on population ability to really be able to model and predict its evolution of disasters on such as this one and also toe measure the effectiveness, and I say the effectiveness of the measures, such a social distancing and confinement, etc, and how the population is respecting those types of measures. So I think what we are seeing in this particular in the last few weeks actually just always was 3,4 weeks a significant, I would say the change of the how the public and also the private and also the population is looking at digital tools as now, not as an ad hoc solution or something that is good to have but something that is important to happen, even a must-have. And I think as a community we need to be ready to deliver those solutions, but also to be able to you know, solve all the remaining impeding barriers when it comes to issues around the privacy and data protection, etc. So I think this gives us a very good pretext and very good context to really have this WSIS TalkX is really how we accelerate the process, how we can leverage those the maximum power of digital tools. And I'm very glad that there is the WSIS posted this TalkX. The ITU is also hosting AI for COVID, the series of the webinar are that are also bringing other perspectives from the AI solution. So again, welcome to everyone. I would like now to give the floor to my colleagues and Sameer Pujari from WHO to provide his welcome rewards as well? Sameer Pujari, the floor is yours.

Mr Sameer Pujari - Vice-Chair, Focus Group: AI 4 Health, WHO:   10:32
Thank you, Hani. Thanks, Gitanjali as well. Good afternoon, colleagues. My name is Sameer Pujari. This is my first interaction with the WSIS form. I've been working with ITU last 6,7 years. I am very glad now and I'm also in a part of this piece. Before, introducing myself, seeing everyone, I hope everyone is hearing hardly. And it's amazing that we're all here together. I think is an important part because it is very difficult times, the one star that has come out as being the truth. You know, I think we should be proud of ourselves that we're doing the right thing, pushing this on the structure than the government sectors. I think thanks again for all of you, all of you, for the forum its help in pushing things ahead. These are very interesting times, and I think this is a very different challenge we're facing. But it's the strength of collaboration that is making it successful. So I look forward to working together again, much stronger, with all of you taking this collaboration for making public health a much more efficient solution of the future. Let me now just quickly move towards giving a bit of on information channel on what's happening in the WHO and how we're working with the sectors on different channels for the current situation and to prepare for what's coming up ahead for us in a digital perspective. Know it's a lot more going on research vaccines which are not going to specifics, and I encourage you and welcome you to please look, get a site for any information you have, happy to ask any questions on that front separately. In terms of technology thing, we've leveraged heavily and thanks for a partnership with ITU from an even stronger now we have been able to leverage a lot of the ongoing channels and mechanisms. We have right now five different group areas of work and the reason I make mentioning this to this group on set it so that you can relate to these efforts and please come ahead and let knows through our channel how we can, and how we can work and be the best shoes of solutions you have. So the first very important citizen engagement and committee amusement areas. This is a big success for WHO, as Hani mentioned, we have already launched, posted in multiple channels WhatApps, Whibleur. We are launching a Facebook messenger. We're coming up with posts for Apple of services, and for a little something this week and then be tapping into the ground lining. So, using all the channels for distribution in multiple languages, the official information, how to take care of yourself. We are also coming up with of our native APPs, are to indicate some the services, including these into checkers, location-link services on violence note. The second beginning of works on global information and knowledge platforms to be a conference reading data is coming in and will launch and enhance products. All of this is being done in collaboration with partners and stakeholders. Everything we've started to workaround is the supply chain. So as We get towards the stage of the widest time down more, in terms of vaccine access and gases. So we're looking for change processes. And then a major part of that, it could be planning of work was change apply to the changes that we have only want to and the common benefits. Last but not least, we have us executed a clearinghouse, so we would like to, we're not creating products ourselves. We're looking at what existing and one of the name channel of products, which is sitting out there and how can we leverage So I just want to make a call to this group Is a lot of great works have to get intention from everyone. We're here to work together and help, anyways, we can to make sure that we get the right for us due to population help fight this difficult of the stage. With that, I will off from my side and again welcome everyone and thank ITU, and the WSIS Team to allow us to make the statement. Let me now pass on to Tatyana who was kindly agreed to moderate the sessions by raising the speakers and take discussions with the public. Thank you again and we'll be here to answer any questions. 

Ms Tatyana Kanzaveli — CEO, Open Health Network:   15:11
Thank you. I'm honoured to be here. You know it's a part of this distinguished scenario. Very impressed by the leadership from ITU and WHO, along with WSIS. And thank you for setting up this panel. Very critical topic in today's environment, as well as dealing with this horrible virus, I'm a founder and CEO of Open Health Network. We build the framework that enables rapid development, highly adaptive, personalized digital health offerings, and that includes Chatbots, Mobile, Web Apps, Voice Apps. We've been working for many years. We were launched in 2015 at the White House Demotdate. And since that time we've been working with very prominent healthcare organizations, such as Mount Sinai Children's Hospital, Philadelphia used yourself, UCLA, and many others, enabling them to provide advanced, personalized digital health offerings across a variety of different disease areas from offseason to cardiovascular cancer and more. So when we saw the situation happening with COVID, our team immediately used our framework and deployed free app COVID symptoms trucker that was literally put together in two days in deployed on as a Web app. This it's important for people to be able to use it even if they don't have smart devices, IOS app and android app. And we based on all our experiences providing a different type of digital health solutions, we realized people like to have everything that they need to have within one framework. So we immediately dropped key functions within the symptom trucker. Number one, people can measure and log all these symptoms. Number two, which is very important. They can immediately share all the data in an easy report to the physicians that could be more than one. They can share that data before they do telehealth or in-person visit or they can share after the visit to inform the physicians on the state of the health. We also added medication tracker location-based service is so people confined closest testing facility and we also added a way for people to consent the share pasta. We can add different educational content in personalizing along with many other functions. So we're working in looking at the feedback. We also released this app. It's now available in four languages, English, Spanish, Russian and Chinese with more languages to follow. Our goal is also to use the data in the identified matter. Thank you WHO for creating that track on the data side, this now we will be able and we'll start working with prominent statisticians and researchers to start publishing reports that will bring some interesting contacts to the data and symptoms in creation between different symptoms but different demographics and so one. So we're looking forward to that one. We plan to expand this function and now what I'd like to, do, is to pass the floor, though Tom Blue from Functional Medicine and he will give more specific examples on how certain digital health solutions can be used in COVID times. The last point before I do that, I want to tell you that outside of these three solutions that we've deployed that right now is used by tens of thousands of people around the world. We see that overall digital health becomes an instrumental part of everything that we're doing health care. We see organizations that have been doing clinical trials that we've been part of moving all of them completely online. We see disease management moving completely online. And we are happy and proud to support lots of health care professionals in support patients to deal with all those issues in these difficult times. So with that, Tom, I want the pass the floor to you Please introduce yourself. Thank you.

Dr Tom Blue — Director of Industry Strategy, Institute for Functional Medicine, USA:   20:45
Well, hello and thank you. I'm Tom Blue and I direct industry strategy for nonprofit teaching organization for physicians in the United States called the Institute for Functional Medicine. So kind of picking up where Tatiana left off, I'll share with you the problem that we very quickly kind of uncovered and how were how we're sort of packaging technologies and tools too create a solution. So when the COVID crisis hit the United States and you know, the government advised people to stop using the health care system for nodding for anything other than emergency reasons, the practices of independent primary care doctors and a host of physicians were sort of, the calendars were kind of white clean, and they were moved to the sidelines of the crisis effectively. So sort of observing that on the one hand. And then second, we observe that at least hear the guidelines that are coming out for physicians that your reader very heavily focused on what happens once you're hospitalized. And so you know how to read a chest image, how to win and to intubate how to end to be lots of guidelines for post-hospitalization. But of course, the majority of people that are confronting this virus either they've been infected with it or they perceive themselves as high risk are dealing with it at home. And the guidance for consumers at home is fairly minimal. It's at least in the US. It is, stay isolated, wash your hands, stay hydrated, and wait, and watch for symptoms that would emerge that would prompt you to them to then access the health care system. So what we have done, really his is to try and address that particular void and re-engage the physician population that's sitting on the sidelines using virtual care technologies and you know, the good news is, is that there's actually a great deal of substance that can be brought to the consumer while they're in their home, either seeking to avoid COVID 19 or blunt its effects if they've been infected using nutrition, nutritional supplementation and lifestyle. And so what we did was basically we have designed two episodes of care, and we'll create a third this time rolls on. But the two episodes of Care one is a prevention-oriented episode, and the other is a care episode for people that have had been diagnosed or that are symptomatic and haven't yet been able to access testing, so we'll presume a diagnosis. The tools that we've brought together to make this possible have been a combination of a digital kind of assessment. So that the process begins with an assessment visit. We use a fairly robust intake form that looks at symptoms and issues specific to COVID, but also the lifestyle issues of people in home quarantine that are, you know, that would be very relevant to COVID risk factors. And then we overlay that with an AI chatbot tool that helps doctors kind of get an objective assessment of risk to determine whether testing would be required, or whether it's worth the risk to go out and seek testing were attempting very quickly as soon as the FDA has cleared it here to facilitate home testing that these doctors can order because most are not really well equipped to deal face to face with these folks. And when the episode begins, there's, of course, the need for the remote tracking and this is how I came into contact with Tatyana began looking for symptom trackers that would enable the doctor to more or less passively follow the progress of patients and create a bit of a loop so that they could see the patients that had downhill and focus their attention more, more specifically on those patients. And what I was finding was, is that Is that the symptom trackers all reported symptoms up to, you know, the government or the World Health Organization, or somewhere for the purposes of research, but they didn't invite patients too easily share their symptom reporting with their physician or other practitioners. And so Tatyana's application was the first that I could find to do this. So combining the application that Open Health Network developed with, we discovered it's not perfect, but it's a bit, but it's a sufficient better than nothing phone-based pulse oximeter that uses the camera and the flash on the phone to get a directional sense of blood-oxygen levels and and and stitch this together, along with nutrition and supplementation, advice and lifestyle advice to create a really, really we believe kind of rich and potent home-based episode of care for people that are both infected and seeking prevention. So I don't know how much of my time I just consumed with that, but that gives you a sense anyway, of how we're our accessing it. We're finding in the US that there's that, that again, the reality of confronting this at your house by yourself. It's a very isolated patient experience where you're sitting, you know, in your basement, trying to quarantine from the rest of your family, literally just waiting for things that would prompt you to want to access the hospital. And so there's an enormous appetite, we believe for this sort of connection. And we also believe in a very good reason to believe that by working with people, particularly in managing sort of their baseline inflammatory levels through lifestyle intervention, get people to stop eating sugar while they're on quarantine, doing things that are naturally gonna put them at even higher risk than they otherwise would have been because of the odd circumstances that we find ourselves in that there's a lot of value actually to be created that can be re-engaged to the thousands of doctors sitting on the sidelines. So I will invite questions and pass the floor to my next panellist.

Ms Tatyana Kanzaveli — CEO, Open Health Network:   26:46
Thank you. Thank you, Tom. All the really good points and again goes back to how we can make an all-inclusive offering for different types of audience and help them with a COVID type of stuff. And deal with different it is that impact overall kills. That's an opportunity to engage with them. Ah, now I'd like to pass the floor to Professor Karl Blanchet, Director from CERAH Scientific Resource Center, University of Geneva. So welcome, Karl. The floor is yours.

Prof. Karl Blanchet — Director, CERAH Scientific Resource Centre, University of Geneva:   27:27
Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you for inviting me. So yeah, so I'm a professor in public health. So I'm going to talk to you about a very different type of world. I work mainly in conflicts and in a refugee camp. So in countries where today we call, we call them today in the third wave. So the epicentre of the moment, it's given plea in Europe. It's country in the U. S. So term and Netanyahu have talked about the use of the application in a very specific context and on open health network website, you can see some of the very good applications, but my concern today is about how to make sure that people in low-income countries, and most specifically, people in a very difficult environment, such as I would say, urban settlements, slams refugee camps today in Syria, Yemen, Cox Bazar in Bangladesh. How to make sure that actually they're going to be protected. So making sure that the prevention measures that term described for a simple can be accessible to write gent of populations. And I do think that all these tools on the digital house can be very helpful but can be very useful, and we know that the digital environment is and will be used by many populations. So I do think that a lot of these applications are going to be very helpful for home care, for self-management. It is very interesting. What I have seen at the moment, so I've got a few, I say we need to be careful about the use of the data, so there's some issues or debate today about confidentiality and privacy of his data, and we see the Philly beds related to China. But I'm going to give you some example of what we currently do. So I am a  researcher and I work on the evidence, and I'm currently developing tools for facilities for hospitals, but as well these premier houseguest centres. So not anymore for patients, but very much for all these managers and the healthcare professionals and how they're going to be able to manage the pandemic and the response and prevention. So we're moving away from the patients, and now we go to professionals. I'm currently developing a wide range of checklist and assessment tools that can be used by hospital managers so they can assess where they are in terms of readiness. Do they have all the right protection gear or the right mask, ventilators, bed capacity and so on? And they can. They can use that by actually assess by themselves where they are. So I'm on the evidence side of the work. So I'm looking at all the guidance from debate show and others, and what I'm trying to do is to adapt that with a few peer review is to some of these contexts is more challenging context. What I do is that offer all these things content to digital companies who offer pro bono to make that available as a couple good. So anywhere anyone in the world can use that and can deploy this kind of tools so they can assess that in their own environment. What we offer in Geneva in my research Center is actually the capacity not only to adapt and adjust all these tools that they have been tested and deployed but as well analyzing this data, we know that a lot of managers do not have the time to analyze the data. I make sense of it when you have data coming from, I don't know, 50 health centres. It is hard to make sense of it very quickly and time is the essence in this pandemic response. So what we offer is having access to pull of analysts who actually make sense of the data. And we put back to the festivities all to the mysteries, to have them making help, making informed decisions on what to do and of course for me very much, all these evidence data is about decision making. It is about action. So in the casts of Tanyon term, the decision is for the patient, is for yourself in the case of in my case, it's much more about ministry. a relief agency or hospital making timely decisions on what they need to do ordering more gear or changing the protocol, looking at the safety of their health care workers and the patients. So this is how we can. We can very much use all the data from the conception towards the content and then the digitalization of all this data. And I think this past way is very much how we can. We can do that. Having academics, practitioners and digital companies working together. It's probably the only way we can have a rapid response and making sure that all these tools can be deployed and be made available and become particulates for making sure that the corrective response to the pandemic. I stop there! And if you have any question back to you Tatyana.

Ms Gitanjali Sah — Strategy and Policy Coordinator, ITU:   33:06
Thank you very much, Tatyana, Karl. This was extremely interesting, and we saw the interest from the audience as well. Like you said, the recording of Today's TalkX will be available in the form of a podcast on our website and we will release it in our YouTube channel. The questions that were not answered right now, we will track them and people definitely pass them on to you to be answered. Thank you very much. So please keep tuned in and please visit the WSIS Forum website for further information.