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3 Health Systems Join Project to Create Continuous mHealth COVID-19 Monitor

Originally published in mHealth Intelligence

Three health systems are joining a federally-funded project aimed at developing an mHealth platform that can continuously track COVID-19 patients at home and notify care providers the moment their vital signs trend downward.

Intermountain Healthcare Utah, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago are joining phase II of the DeCODe (Detection of COVID-19 Decompensation) study, which aims to develop an AI-based COVID-19 digital biomarker. The first phase of the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and the National Cancer Institute, was launched in 2020 by physIQ and the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System.

The project aims to create an mHealth tool, contained in a wearable, that will allow care providers to continuously track COVID-19 patients in a remote patient monitoring program, allowing them to spot patients in decline as soon as or even before that decline actually happens. It would also help in care management for those with long-term symptoms, known as long-haulers.

Whereas the first phase involved 400 patients, phase II will involve 1,200 patients from a larger, more diverse population.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant morbidity and mortality of our patients,” Yanina A. Purim-Shem-Tov, MD, MS, senior medical director of clinical practice and an associate professor at Rush Medical College’s Department of Emergency Medicine, said in a press release. “It is imperative that we are able to detect a patient’s clinical decline before it is too late.”

The project is one of dozens using connected health tools and platforms to identify and treat patients with COVID-19, and which could be used post-pandemic to treat others. In this case, researchers are hoping to develop an RPM tool that would allow providers to intervene more quickly to help patients with a wide variety of health concerns.

“This work has huge implications well beyond just improving the care of individuals suffering from COVID-19, but anybody experiencing, or at risk for, an inflammatory reaction including those due to all infections, autoimmune conditions, and resulting from a range of therapeutic interventions from vaccines to cancer therapies,” Steve Steinhubl, MD, physIQ’s Chief Medical Officer and director of digital medicine at the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said in the release.