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Remote monitoring of COVID-19 patients has the potential to save their lives

COVID-19 is an infection that is spread through close contact. This is essentially why the entire world was been placed on lockdown in order to avoid potentially dangerous encounters. Naturally, this puts pressure on healthcare systems, as some services are provided remotely.

The University of Edinburgh's researchers have discovered that remote monitoring of COVID-19 patients is more effective than previously thought.

While COVID-19 is an undeniably dangerous virus, the vast majority of patients can be treated successfully at home. This includes routine consultations and self-management of symptoms as needed. This is critical, as some individuals may experience severe hypoxia (a lack of oxygen in the tissues) and require hospitalization. The importance of early detection cannot be overstated for successful treatment. Certain individuals – particularly the elderly, those with underlying medical conditions, certain ethnic minorities, and those with a high body mass index – are known to be at an increased risk of deterioration.

Remote monitoring is therefore critical in the COVID-19 era. Scientists developed a telemonitoring service that enabled medical professionals to intervene when the conditions of certain patients deteriorated while they were receiving treatment at home. Patients were asked to call in or use a smartphone app to record their symptoms.

During this study, the researchers followed the outcomes of the first 116 patients who used the service. Over the course of their two-week observation, 71 participants provided data and 35 received 151 alerts. After their condition deteriorated, 21 patients were admitted to the hospital; however, they stayed an average of 3.7 days. This brief hospital stay may have been possible as a result of medical professionals responding promptly to the patient's condition, facilitated by the use of a remote monitoring service.

"We know that early treatment of deterioration in Covid-19 saves lives," one of the study's researchers, Brian McKinstry, explained. This study confirms the findings of several other comparable international studies that telemonitoring can reassure patients that they can safely self-monitor at home and that any deterioration in their condition will be detected and treated appropriately."

COVID-19 is a novel threat to the world, necessitating novel responses. Additionally, remote monitoring services developed during this time period may prove extremely useful in the future. It is one of the pandemic's lessons worth cultivating for future difficulties.

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