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Brief Published: 7 Apr 2020

At-Home Tech Diagnosis to Ease Burden on Healthcare Services


As the coronavirus and its symptoms become more widely recognised and understood, governmental and healthcare institutions begin to roll out at-home solutions for monitoring health and diagnosing Covid-19 to ease the strain on already over-taxed healthcare services.

  • Clinical Chatbots: In the US, the CDC and Microsoft have collaborated to create a chatbot to help triage unwell people, separating those with suspected Covid-19 symptoms, and those who are presenting signs of other respiratory illnesses, such as colds and the flu. The chatbot, Clara, is available on the CDC website. For more on how brands are relying on digital interfaces to support consumers see Meet the Chatbots Supporting Consumers’ Mental Health.
  • Alexa, Am I Ill?: Amazon is leveraging its in-home Alexa technology to help consumers at home during the Covid-19 crisis. US Alexa owners can now ask questions such as “What do I do if I think I have coronavirus?” and Alexa will run through questions about travel history, symptoms and possible exposure, effectively triaging potential patients. Depending on the responses, Alexa will offer CDC-approved advice on how users should proceed.
    Users can now also ask Alexa to play any song for 20 seconds ­– the minimum amount of time people should be washing their hands for.
  • Test Yourself: Prenetics International, a UK DNA testing company, is adapting its at-home testing kits to provide accurate diagnosis solutions for customers willing to pay for peace of mind. The kit includes an at-home swab which is sent to the Prenetics International lab for testing. Once tested, users will receive their digital results and a remote consultation with a doctor. Users will be able to opt-in to share their results data with larger healthcare bodies to aid in tracking the national coronavirus spread.
    In an email, the company’s chief executive Avi Lasarow said: “our objective is not only to make available a solution that can be relied upon, but also to provide a platform that can be used to give vital information to Public Health England in support of the National Health Service with appropriate consent from users.”
    Prenetics International hopes to launch the test to market later in April. See more on at-home testing here.
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