Tackling COVID-19 in the home


Improving monitoring of potential COVID-19 cases in the community will reduce pressure on the healthcare system and stop transmission, according to proponents of a Western Australian telehealth consortium.

The consortium includes Cisco, Curtin University, GP superclinic operator Health Integra, ResApp, Prospector Biomedical Laboratories and InteliCare Holdings, under the umbrella of the Indo Asia Centre for Digital Health Commercialisation, led by chief executive Warren Harding.

The centre has been in the works for two years but the COVID-19 telehealth plan has been whipped together in just weeks.

The plan is to use mobile devices and wearables to track vital signs for patients, including heart rate, blood oxygen levels and breathing.

It could also use geofencing to ensure people are following quarantine restrictions.

Rather than having potential patients visit clinics, doctors will analyse cases remotely, via video.

A cheap wearable device can then be delivered to their door, to be used in conjunction with a mobile phone.

“We need to also tackle it in the community, to support the work of COVID clinics or emergency departments,” Mr Harding said.

“It taps into the capacity of Perth health providers in the community, and keeps (patients) in the home.”

Over time, data will be collected and used to feed machine learning programs that will be trained to detect problems with patients early by picking up changes in vital signs.

The team are looking for federal funding to roll out the project, which would be a big change from Australia’s existing telehealth program, which is largely via phone calls.

It could all be rolled out within a month of funding approval, the centre said, but in the longer term, could have broader uses in aged care and other fields.

Read more in the April 20 edition of Business News.

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