Tuesday, August 16, 2022

COVID-19 health app to be trialled in WA retirement villages

A smartphone app developed in Western Australia is being used to detect COVID-19 early in older people from the safety of their own homes.

Residents from Bethanie Retirement Villages are being remotely monitored by a team of
healthcare professionals using an award-winning digital platform called Openly.

Up to 100 residents will be monitored over a six month period to determine the effectiveness of the technology.

The Early Digital Intervention for Covid Therapy (EDICT) program, a collaboration between the University of Western Australia, clinical biotech company Emyria Ltd, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, the Bethanie Group and the Institute for Respiratory Health, is working to develop leading technology to detect the early signs of the coronavirus in the elderly.

The $880,000 Western Australian Government-funded pilot program aims to monitor a person’s general health and wellbeing through the platform. It will also record vital signs such as heart rate using just a smartphone.

“Every time an elderly patient visits their doctor or a hospital, they can be exposed to bugs that could be harmful to their health,” said Program Manager of Digital Health at Emyria, Dr Wayne Aston.

“Remote digital health monitoring can give patients greater control over their condition and
reduce the number of hospital visits. Aside from reducing the health risk, it can also cut costs related to healthcare visits and can provide a more holistic health overview by gathering high-quality clinical data regularly.

“Through the Openly platform, healthcare professionals can view a patient’s individual data in real-time and provide personalised feedback to the patient immediately. Intelligent algorithms enable early detection of any decline to the resident’s health, which means they can be treated sooner.”

Dr Aston said the innovative technology was aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19 and helping to save lives.

Bethanie Chief Executive Officer, Chris How said the aged care provider was thrilled to be a part of the EDICT program.

“Any way we can help to keep members of our community safe from COVID-19 is important to us,” Mr How said.

“We know the elderly are among the most vulnerable members of the community if infected with the virus.

“It is important to embrace new technology which has the potential to save lives and keep people out of hospital,” he said.

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