Topic: Study examines role of mobile health technology in monitoring Covid-19 patients
A 60-person task force, including MIT Lincoln Laboratory researchers, has published a study reviewing mobile health (mHealth) technologies and examining their use in monitoring and mitigating the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. They found that mHealth technologies are viable options to monitor Covid-19 patients and predict symptom escalation for earlier intervention.
The study, “Can mHealth Technology Help Mitigate the Effects of the COVID 19 Pandemic?”, is published in the IEEE Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology. The task force was led by Harvard Medical School Associate Professor Paolo Bonato, director of the Motion Analysis Lab at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, and included international experts and those from across the United States.
The study reviewed mHealth technologies in three categories — wearable sensors, digital contact tracing technology, and electronic patient-recorded outcomes screening systems. Task force subgroups then looked at how these technologies could be deployed in various settings and strategies in response to the pandemic.
Lincoln Laboratory biotechnology experts Jeffrey Palmer and Thomas Quatieri led a subgroup focused on wearable sensors for monitoring Covid-19 patients. Their goal was to identify sensors that are suitable to detect worsening symptoms in Covid-19 patients who are self-quarantining at home. Data show that a portion of these mildly symptomatic patients experience a sudden occurrence of severe symptoms at home and require hospitalization.
Monitoring these patients with wearable sensors for subtle changes, such as in body temperature, heart rate, and oxygen saturation, could allow clinicians to intervene sooner, improving clinical outcomes. These sensors could also help clinicians monitor patients once they return home.
“The high infection rates of SARS-CoV-2 put health care systems at risk of being overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases,” says Palmer, who leads the laboratory’s Human Health and Performance Systems Group. “Remote monitoring using mHealth technologies of those individuals who are at risk of, or have developed, Covid-19 may help alleviate some of the burden on the health-care system.”
With Professor Sunghoon Ivan Lee and his team at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, they also studied the viability of using wearable sensors to monitor the health of front-line clinical workers, and to detect early signs of an outbreak in hospital or health-care settings.
Together, they reviewed 28 commercially available wearable sensors that could be used immediately in clinical practices. Through an evaluation framework, they whittled their list down to 12 examples of technologies that could best be used today to monitor patients and health-care workers.
Topic Discussed: Study examines role of mobile health technology in monitoring Covid-19 patients