Fighting a Pandemic Through Technology

By Jeff Rittener, Chief Government Affairs Officer and General Manager of Intel’s Governments, Markets and Trade group (GMT)

Jeff Rittener, Intel

In times of adversity, the public and private sectors have a history of pulling together. We’re seeing this now in efforts to combat COVID-19. Governments across the globe are stepping up to the challenge, and Intel is proud to join them. Today, we are launching the Intel Pandemic Response Technology Initiative. This $50 million technology initiative is focused on areas where we believe Intel is uniquely positioned to make a difference in combatting the virus:

  • Response & Readiness—to accelerate advances in diagnosis, treatment and vaccines for COVID-19 and to prepare for future pandemics
  • Online Learning—to support education-focused non-profit organizations and business partners to help students without access to technology
  • Innovation Fund—to support requests and fuel new ideas from external partners and employee-led projects addressing critical needs and areas of immediate impact

The Intel Pandemic Technology Initiative builds on the $10 million in contributions we’ve made in support of those on the frontlines of the pandemic in the communities where we operate. Those donations include 1 million gloves, masks and other equipment for healthcare workers, $6 million from the Intel Foundation toward relief efforts in local communities and $4 million from Intel and its subsidiaries around the globe.

As the pandemic continues to alter the way we live and work, the U.S. Congress, FCC and Administration are taking quick action to address some of the major effects of the pandemic. The Families First Act and Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act are landmark laws that, in addition to providing aid to individuals, families and businesses, move the ball forward in other critical areas.

Healthcare providers at Houston Methodist Hospital can monitor multiple patients in real time via Medical Informatics Corp.'s Sickbay platform, which can turn hospital beds into virtual ICUs in minutes. (Credit: Houston Methodist Hospital)
Healthcare providers at Houston Methodist Hospital can monitor multiple patients in real time via Medical Informatics Corp.’s Sickbay platform, which can turn hospital beds into virtual ICUs in minutes. (Credit: Houston Methodist Hospital)

Two of these areas are telehealth and rural development. Telehealth has been advanced in terms of availability, support and reimbursement, and the laws establish the Telehealth Network and Telehealth Resource Centers Grant Programs for health care providers. For rural development, the laws help to close the digital divide by dedicating $25 million to support distance learning, telemedicine and broadband programs for rural communities.

Additionally, the FCC has taken several impactful actions advancing telehealth and infrastructure needs including a $200 Million Plan for COVID-19 Telehealth Program, an order Increasing Rural Health Care Funding, and providing temporary access to spectrum to enable service provides to expand broadband services, especially in underserved areas.

As we work through this pandemic and the rapid changes it has brought, it’s heartening to see everyone and every entity stepping up to fulfill their role in the response. For our part, we are proud that Intel technology underpins critical products and services that global communities, governments and healthcare organizations are depending on every day. We hope we can help save and enrich lives by solving some of the world’s greatest challenges through new technology-based innovations and approaches– both now and into the future.