How these unprecedented times are fast-becoming the new normal…
In a recent webinar held by the ‘Inspirational Leaders of Innovation & Drivers of Change’, a group of key players from across the tech sector met virtually to discuss the effect that the COVID-19 outbreak will have on the future of technology. Makram Saleh, Chief Product Officer at Medicus, contributed a number of fascinating insights on the effects of COVID-19 on our society and user behavior and needs. Here are some of the highlights.
Do you think there’s a fast track to conquering new opportunities?
The effects of COVID-19 on Medicus, and indeed health-tech as a whole, has been enormous. Although there are parts of our industry that are growing massively because of the crisis, the effect is mixed. For the healthcare sector, the biggest opportunities we are seeing are all related to remote care. There are some obvious channels, such as remote testing for COVID-19 where the demand continues to be enormous, but there are also promising leads in tangential sectors.
A good example is pregnancy support apps, which have seen a massive increase in engagement and usage because people are afraid of going to the hospital right now, due to the risk of infection and doubts about the availability of care. Solutions for elderly care will also play a part in the near future, in a similar way. What we are seeing is a widening of the scope in which we can be active, mainly because more people can see the benefits of our applications in the sector.
Medicus started by analyzing blood tests, which was perhaps less fashionable at the time, but is now a really relevant subject when it comes to the spread of diseases and knowing what is around you.
In your opinion, how is Medicus reacting to “the new normal”?
The reaction could take various forms. For us, it’s two-sided: firstly, doubling down on what we’re doing and really looking at the situation in the long term. Even if COVID-19 ended tomorrow, the implications of the past months will last for far longer. We’re good at looking for ways to see around corners; building tools and products with others that will have benefits both in the short and the long term.
In terms of the way we work to achieve that, I have to say that the response to the crisis has been very impressive: despite the challenges of remote working — especially from homes where there are children — we’re actually seeing an increase in productivity. Even the large corporations we work with are working faster than they used to. Whether this will fade over time remains to be seen, but I’m curious to see how it works out in the long run.
What are the areas of concern when it comes to the reaction to COVID-19?
One of the big issues we must consider is privacy. Of course, we have to hope that governments are not acting nefariously in using infection prevention methods in a way that endangers civil liberties or the right to privacy.
At Medicus, we have had requests to implement tracking solutions, but it’s an avenue we want to avoid or approach very carefully.
It’s a very thin line between right and wrong, especially when we don’t know when the applications of such a solution will come to an end.
We take privacy seriously. I’d like to think we can push from the other side to protect personal freedoms, and I’d be interested to see whether we could work with other partners in the tech sector to make this a reality.
Lastly, can you describe the future of Medicus in a COVID-19 world?
We want to be a source of good. Of course, there is an opportunity in a business sense, but there is also so much scope when it comes to being compassionate to others: we are a global village once more, and we have to look after people.
The AI-based solution developed by Medicus AI, CoVive, is a comprehensive COVID-19 probability assessment, monitoring, and analytics user app and enterprise platform. Learn more and download the free app here.