The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated innovation in various fields, while people learnt to adjust to a new normal. One such innovation from the healthcare industry, born of a necessity as the pandemic progressed, was ‘HomeBound’, a digital healthcare system offering online consultation during the critical period. The product was built in 12 weeks by TCS Incubation Rapid Labs.
In March 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak had already snowballed into a pandemic. The city of San Diego in the US faced a grim situation of overwhelmed hospitals, overrun clinics, and was witnessing an overall community in crisis. Against the backdrop of medical centers struggling to cope with the heavy influx of patients, a group of clinicians, scientists, and healthcare leaders joined hands to tackle the catastrophe that was unfolding.
University of California, San Diego, (UCSD), which was a part of this group, expressed the need to find a way to keep patients out of the hospital while giving them quality care, establishing the foundation of ‘HomeBound’. Semiconductor giant Qualcomm, also part of the group, roped in TCS’ Research and Innovation Incubation team, given their history of working closely with them on several innovative projects. Incubation Rapid Labs is a TCS innovation team that speedily builds game-changing solutions using emerging technologies.
‘HomeBound’ is designed to facilitate online consultation with doctors, care providers, and volunteers for patients to manage the disease at home, while following social distancing guidelines. The system consists of a patient-friendly iPhone and Android application where they can upload their latest symptoms and vitals to help caregivers monitor their progress and recovery.
The digital system enables anonymous contact tracing and includes a dashboard for doctors to remotely monitor patients and provide advice. Furthermore, anonymized patient information may be used for research purposes, with artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) models helping uncover new patterns, co-relations, and assisting in patient management. The system is designed with a configurable backend where new knowledge can be added by doctors without programming.
‘HomeBound’ is developed to be open source with an aim to repurpose it to manage other infectious diseases as well. Integration with pandemic-related apps such as India’s Aarogya Setu could amplify the system’s impact.
HomeBound can be used by millions of patients globally, allowing them to connect with the best physicians, medical practitioners, and experts anywhere in the world. Moreover, patients go through the treatment process staying indoors, within their homes, keeping themselves and their community safe.