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BMJ Open ; 11(10): e053891, 2021 10 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462974


OBJECTIVES: To explore if consumer interest in digital health products (DHPs), changed following the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures that ensued. DESIGN: Retrospective time-series analysis of web-based internet searches for DHPs in the UK, split over two periods, pre-COVID-19 lockdown (January 2019-23 March 2020) and post-COVID-19 lockdown (24 March 2020-31 December 2020). SETTING: The UK. PARTICIPANTS: Members of the UK general population using health-app libraries provided by the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was volume of searches for DHPs. Secondary outcomes considered search volumes for 25 different therapeutic areas. Outcomes were assessed for significance using a two-stage Poisson test. RESULTS: There were 126 640 searches for DHPs over the study period. Searches for DHPs increased by 343% from 2446 per month prior to COVID-19 lockdown measures being introduced to 8996 per month in the period following the first COVID-19 lockdown in the UK. In total, 23/25 (92%) of condition areas experienced a significant increase in searches for DHPs, with the greatest increases occurring in the first 2 months following lockdown. Musculoskeletal conditions (2.036%), allergy (1.253%) and healthy living DHPs (1.051%) experienced the greatest increases in searches compared with pre-lockdown. Increased search volumes for DHPs were sustained in the 9 months following the introduction of lockdown measures, with 21/25 (84%) of condition areas experiencing monthly search volumes at least 50% greater than pre-lockdown levels. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted the routine delivery of healthcare, making face-to-face interaction difficult, and contributing to unmet clinical needs. This study has demonstrated significant increases in internet searches for DHPs by members of the UK population since COVID-19, signifying an increased interest in this potential therapeutic medium. Future research should clarify whether this increased interest has resulted in increased acceptance and utilisation of these technologies also.

COVID-19 , Mobile Applications , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Internet , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom/epidemiology
Int J Bioprint ; 6(4): 281, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-890854


The global coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 pandemic has led to an international shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), with traditional supply chains unable to cope with the significant demand leading to critical shortfalls. A number of open and crowdsourcing initiatives have sought to address this shortfall by producing equipment such as protective face shields using additive manufacturing techniques such as fused filament fabrication (FFF). This paper reports the process of designing and manufacturing protective face shields using large-scale additive manufacturing (LSAM) to produce the major thermoplastic components of the face shield. LSAM offers significant advantages over other additive manufacturing technologies in bridge manufacturing scenarios as a true transition between prototypes and mass production techniques such as injection molding. In the context of production of COVID-19 face shields, the ability to produce the optimized components in under 5 min compared to what would typically take 1 - 2 h using another additive manufacturing technologies meant that significant production volume could be achieved rapidly with minimal staffing.