Remote COVID-19 patient monitoring provides positive outcomes, study finds
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Patients with COVID-19 who tracked their experience and symptoms from the virus remotely had positive outcomes, a study published Thursday indicates.
The study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open by the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network, found that those who activated remote patient monitoring had a 32% lower rate of being hospitalized. It also found that when patients did have to be hospitalized, their stay was 2.7 days shorter on average and included fewer intensive care days.
From March 20, 2020 to Dec. 15, 2020, over 5,300 patients downloaded a mobile app or used a web app to track their symptoms, temperatures and pulse oximetry readings. The health care system provided the health oximeters. Patients tracked their progress for 14 days and received check-ins with structured questions and answers.
Chief Digital Engagement Officer Bradley Crotty said the study’s goal was to see if checking in remotely helped patients manage their symptoms, determine if they needed to be hospitalized quicker and help patients recover at home if possible.
“We ultimately found that we were able to safely keep more people at home, supported by our nurses, through technology,” Crotty said.
Nurse Erin Green, one of the study’s co-authors, said patients were able to connect to a virtual care team (VCT) to help monitor them and get 24/7 text check-ins. Patients who had abnormal responses, like breathing issues or a worsened fever, were noted on a dashboard and alerts were sent to VCT members to evaluate.
“VCT nurses reacted to these additional ‘signals’ independent from alerts to provide education and coaching, such as how to incorporate proning (laying on one’s stomach to help the lungs better exchange air) and deep breathing exercises into their daily care, as well as to identify the need for triage and escalated support,” Green said.