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Some things aren’t meant to go viral

David Bolton, public healthcare expert from the data visualisation company, Qlik | Jan. 30, 2015
How enterprise technology and big data can play a big role in combating and tracking viral outbreaks.

This type of data, in particular, can help aid and health organisations determine where and how best to respond. After all, one of the greatest challenges in the event of any epidemic - whether it is Ebola or winter flu - is distributing the right medical resource and intervention where needed to contain the spread. What this data should be able to do, is ensure that resources are allocated quickly, in right place and at the right time to administer the correct care, rather than a stab in the dark approach. Not only would it save lives, but it would also mean that health experts and aid volunteers are being used as effectively as possible.

Tracking the outbreak isn't the only way we can use technology to curb a spread. Other technologies that we've deployed in a business environment can also help. Take technologies that enable flexible working for example. If you can set staff up with the ability to securely access company information and do their jobs remotely then they can still work as effectively away from the office as they can onsite. That means that, if a member of staff contracts a virus, rather than having to go in and potentially spread it to a co-worker, they can continue to work from home. Or in a more extreme situation, if the office becomes a contagion-zone, then staff can avoid the area completely, but still do their jobs wherever they are. 

When harnessed in the right way, technology such as big data analytics can help governments and health organisations intervene effectively when a viral outbreak hits.  If we work together, share data sets and continue to use these innovations to tackle our approach to wider societal issues, then we put ourselves in good stead to contain and maybe one day even stop the spread of diseases in their entirety.


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