In recent times, the world has seen how quickly illnesses can spread across countries, causing widespread concern and demanding quick action from health experts and governments. One of the key players in this fight against pandemics has been automation, specifically through technologies like automated cell counters, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and lab bots. This article dives into the crucial role these machines play in fighting the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Speeding Up Disease Testing

When the pandemic hit, knowing who was sick and how the disease was spreading was critical. Software called Robotic Process Automation (RPA) was used to automate repetitive, high-volume manual processes involving multiple applications and process steps, which enabled rapid response and increased efficiency in various areas, such as entering data from spreadsheets into epidemiological databases, texting information to patients before appointments, communicating test results, and contact tracing.

Furthermore, robots have been used in hospitals for telemedicine, disinfecting rooms with chemicals or ultraviolet light, and monitoring facial skin temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation.

Helping to Track the Spread of Disease

Automated systems can also keep track of where the disease is spreading and how fast. This information helped health experts and governments decide where to send help or how to stop people from moving to reduce the spread. Bots collected data on virus lab tests and sent results to various stakeholders via text message, email, pager, etc., relieving office personnel of that task. Bots were also used to streamline infection tracking processes, lowering the risk of additional exposure and helping authorities make informed decisions. This kind of tracking needs to be done quickly and accurately, and machines are perfect for this job.

Supporting Vaccination Efforts

Automation also played a role in the vaccination process. Bots were used to text information to patients before scheduled appointments, providing up-to-date information and precautions for the appointments. This helped reduce the risk of spreading the virus by decreasing non-critical visits and ensuring that as many people as possible got vaccinated, building a shield against COVID-19. Furthermore, mobile robots were also used in public parks in Singapore to enforce social distancing rules.

Making Testing More Accurate

Besides being fast, it was also important that the tests were correct. Machines are very good at doing the same task over and over again without making mistakes. This means that when they’re used to test for diseases, they’re less likely to give a wrong result compared to humans, who might get tired or distracted. Accurate testing helps doctors understand the disease better and provide the right treatment. During the pandemic, robots were used to help labs continue to perform routine experiments, freeing up lab scientists to investigate the Covid-19 virus more.

Moreover, automated cell counters became useful through precise enumeration of various cell types, integrated data analysis software for deeper insights, and faster processing times that maintain cell health. The COVID-19 pandemic has positively impacted the demand for automated cell counters, especially in clinical research investigations and hospital settings, driving the market growth significantly. 

Challenges and Learning

While automation has helped a lot, it’s still not as perfect as we want it to be. These machines are expensive, and setting them up requires special knowledge. Also, not all places have access to the latest technology. These challenges remind us that while machines are powerful tools in fighting pandemics, humans still need to make smart decisions on how to use them effectively and fairly.

Thus, humans and machines need to work together. Machines can do some tasks better than humans, but human judgment, compassion, and creativity are irreplaceable, especially when dealing with sick people or making tough decisions in a crisis.

Looking Forward

As technology gets better, the role of automation in healthcare will only grow. Machines that learn and improve over time, including artificial intelligence, are starting to help in predicting outbreaks before they happen or in finding new treatments. The future of fighting pandemics will likely see even more collaboration between humans and machines, using each other’s strengths to protect health and save lives.