Intel grant will help health tech firm with Covid response
Tech giant Intel have awarded a grant to digital healthcare company Electronic Caregiver to assist with their COVID-19 relief efforts.
Based in Doña Ana County in New Mexico where a surge in cases has put a strain hospitals and healthcare staff, the funds will go towards the company’s COVID to Home programme, which addresses the critical needs of hospitals and patients.
Under the programme, patients are discharged to their home or to a designated hotel with an Electronic Caregiver 'Pro Health' smart health hub – a voice-driven, easy-to-use connected console. The device allows patients to monitor their healthcare thanks to a daily survey that assesses symptoms, a pulse oximeter, non-contact thermometer, and blood pressure cuff.
Clinicians and clinical volunteers can use a HIPAA-compliant web portal to assess patient results remotely and administer care. Patients can also use the Pro Health devices for virtual consultations with a doctor, medication reminders, and round-the-clock emergency response. It uses Intel technology both in on-site workstations and cloud-based servers from Amazon Web Services.
Intel's grant is part of the organisation's commitment to help with access to technology that can fight the pandemic and aid scientific discovery to handle future crises. The funds will help the company purchase equipment for the COVID to Home program; create a version of the COVID-19 survey and vitals capture using Electronic Caregiver’s Virtual Caregiver, named Addison; create five portable demo “kits” to showcase at events/venues; create a video testimonial of the programme; and publish a white paper on programme structure, goals, and outcomes.
“The major impact of this programme is the number of hospital beds it has freed up for patients that are really sick,” said John Andazola, MD, Program Director of the Southern New Mexico Family Medicine Residency Program at Memorial Medical Center. “It truly represents the best in local collaboration, and we are pleased to play a role.”
The option to implement Electronic Caregiver’s COVID to Home programme exists throughout the state and the country. “We’d be thrilled to partner with anybody, anywhere, to be able to replicate this programme and be able to drive a similar type of outcome,” said Electronic Caregiver’s Chief Digital Health Integration Officer Mark Francis. “If folks want to come together and deal with this critical public health issue, we’re here with the proven solution that’s driving demonstrated outcomes, that is simple and easy to implement, and can save lives and benefit communities.”
In April 2020 Intel committed $50 million to fund the Pandemic Response Technology Initiative (PRTI), to support point-of-patient-care solutions. Since it began, the programme has supported hundreds of organisations around the world.
“We chose to support Electronic Caregiver’s project because of its scalable use of remote monitoring that leverages Intel technology to meet the needs of underserved communities in New Mexico” said Chris Gough, General Manager of Intel Health & Life Sciences.
COVID to Home is jointly funded by Doña Ana County and the city of Las Cruces, at no cost to patients. A month after the programme launched it had supported over 100 patients. The company says it has increased critical care capacity in the region by 30 per cent.
“COVID to Home has allowed us to maintain capacity in our hospitals, while providing effective community-based care to people recovering from COVID” Jamie Michael, Director of Health and Human Services for Doña Ana County said. "It also allows providers to interact with patients safely and allows people to recover in their home.”
COVID-19 app for NHS staff launches as restrictions lift
A new app has launched today to support UK hospital staff who have been redeployed to care for COVID-19 patients.
The Acute COVID app has been co-developed by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and its charity CW+, along with health tech company Imagineear Health.
It provides information to healthcare staff via a step-by-step guide, aimed at both doctors and nurses. This includes the different stages of COVID-19 so they have guidance around triage at A&E, hospital admission, in-hospital treatments, and advanced care management.
The app also provides training on non-invasive ventilation. In the first wave of the pandemic the numbers of patients needing this type of ventilation led to staff who would not normally administer this to patients having to do so.
Additionally the app signposts staff to where they can access mental and physical wellbeing support, acknowledging the levels of staff burnout, particularly among frontline staff, the pandemic has created.
The launch of the app comes on the same day England lifts its COVID-19 restrictions, labelled "freedom day" by some. However infection rates have soared in recent weeks and the move has been fiercely opposed by scientists and doctors, both in the UK and abroad.
In a letter published in medical journal The Lancet backed by 1,200 international scientists, experts called the unlocking "a threat to the world", as allowing infection rates to rise enables the virus to mutate and potentially become resistant to the vaccination.
At the weekend the newly appointed health secretary Sajid Javid announced he had tested positive for coronavirus, and both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the chancellor Rishi Sunak are self-isolating.
Meanwhile in the first week of July more than 500,000 alerts were issued by the NHS Covid-19 app telling people they had been exposed to the virus. As a result businesses are considering cutting their opening hours while staff are self-isolating at home. The government has issued guidance saying that fully vaccinated frontline NHS staff in England will be allowed to carry on working even if they've come into contact with someone with COVID-19.