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Remote monitoring provides early help for COVID-19 patients

Monday October 11th 2021

COVID-19 patients at risk of developing serious illness have been treated successfully after using a remote monitoring service in the early stages, Scottish researchers have reported.

The small study in Scotland, with two health boards, enabled patients to record their symptoms by telephone or through an app, which helped clinicians identify those with low oxygen levels.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh, who carried out the study with NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Highland, say this meant patients could be admitted to hospital before their condition deteriorated.

Writing in the Journal of Formative Research, the research team said if updates to the telemonitoring service suggested a patient’s condition was worsening, alerts were sent to the individual, recommending they seek advice or urgent care.

Patients also had the option to manage their condition using detailed written instructions provided by a clinician.

The research team tracked the first 116 patients to use the service and found of the 71 who submitted data, 35 received 151 alerts during their two-week observation.

Twenty-one of these patients were admitted to hospital and had an average stay of 3.7 days – shorter than the average stay for patients with COVID-19, but researchers say this may reflect the severity of the cases rather than any direct effect of the monitoring.

Professor Brian McKinstry, professor emeritus primary care ehealth at the University of Edinburgh, said: “We know early treatment of deterioration in COVID-19 saves lives. This research confirms the findings of several other similar international studies that telemonitoring has the potential to reassure patients that they can safely self-monitor at home and that deterioration in their condition will be detected early and can be treated in a timely way.”

The service has since been rolled out across seven boards in Scotland and others are likely to follow.

McKinstry B, Alexander H, Maxwell G et al. The use of telemonitoring in managing the COVID pandemic: a pilot implementation study. Journal of Formative Research. September 2021


Tags: Flu & Viruses | UK News

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