'Real-time access': Armband helps monitor COVID-19 patients

Professor Josephine Chow with the armband device.
Professor Josephine Chow with the armband device.

An armband which monitors COVID-19 patients 24-hour a day is being piloted in south-west Sydney.

The Biofourmis Everion Armband - a light-weight wearable smart device - uses cloud technology and artificial intelligence to monitor a patient's vital signs, such as temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation remotely.

South Western Sydney Local Health District Director Strategy and Partnerships and Principal Investigator Professor Josephine Chow said the armbands provided an extra layer of care to patients already receiving regular phone calls and home visits when necessary from the district's COVID-19 team through primary and community health.

"With a disease as infectious as COVID-19, we want people to stay in isolation as much as possible, but we also want to make sure they are receiving the care they need," Professor Chow said.

"Most people with COVID-19 don't need to be in hospital, they are able to recover at home.

"While we are in regular contact with them over the phone, this device allows real-time access to their vital signs 24 hours a day and alerts clinicians as soon as the patient's condition becomes concerning - allowing us to provide further care or transport to hospital."

A group of 18 people completed the pilot study with more wearing the armbands in the first-of-its kind study.

Professor Chow said so far the results are "very promising."

"We wanted to assess the feasibility of this device for remote monitoring. It had to be accurate and easy to use," she said.

"The armband is allowing the safe early detection of clinical deterioration which is improving patient outcomes.

"This study is enhancing our already established virtual care and rapid response with the potential to change the way we care for people in the future and it is part of broader strategies for our Hospital in the Home approach."