COVID-19 has presented multiple challenges in varying sectors of society, from extreme health concerns to economic issues. Despite the negative, worldwide impacts resulting from the global pandemic, technology has evolved in a multitude of ways. From technological advances in the
business world to improvements in digital health, the pandemic has brought together the brightest ideas, cultivating powerful and immediate change to combat COVID-19. Current medical innovations have laid the foundation for greater advances both in the near and distant future. (1)
New technologies specific to targeting COVID-19 have been produced in multifaceted ways. The dire need for a vaccine exposed researchers to a very specific challenge. Due to the nature of COVID-19 as a type of mRNA virus, there was increasing demand for the speedy development of an mRNA vaccine. As the pandemic continued to evolve, scientists’ knowledge of mRNA vaccines grew, with Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institute of Health (NIH), stating that producing mRNA vaccines for the most probable COVID-19 pathogen prototypes could be accomplished. In addition to proper vaccine development, however, addressing mental health has also evolved in innovative ways during the pandemic. The risk of stigmatization as a result of seeking mental health resources was noted to have become less of an issue because of the expansion of Telehealth. Access to such resources became greatly enhanced, and many began to take advantage of the sense of lower commitment resulting from virtual resources and more accessible ongoing treatment. (1)
Adding to the greater development of mental health resources was wide scale advancement in artificial intelligence (AI) for addressing patient concerns during the pandemic. One specific invention that was built upon further during the pandemic was a type of chatbot. Such a chatbot was produced in order to answer individuals’ questions regarding how much help they desired. The ability of AI technologies to take part in the processing of what is considered to be “small data'' has been further explored, with some stating that such innovations could be incorporated in a number of ways, from wearable technology to phone apps. The tremendous potential of AI is consistently being investigated, with some looking into how AI can aid in the processing of nonverbal cues and other specific points of data. Despite the great potential of AI, it is also vital to identify significant limitations with regard to the technology, including how to develop an effective system of collecting data and overall analysis of patient information in order to put an end to COVID-19. (1)
It is evident that the pandemic has brought forward significant concerns; however, it is also clear that many are looking to how technology can contribute to the resolution of such issues. With great change already implemented, there is no doubt that more positive impacts within the field of health innovations are in the works for the future. (1)
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News Center. “Pandemic Sparked Key Innovations, Experts Say.” News Center, 24 Nov. 2021, https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2021/11/pandemic-puzzle-innovation-technology.html.