Space tech for remote monitoring eases Covid-19 pressure

December 11, 2020 // By Nick Flaherty
Space tech for remote monitoring eases Covid-19 pressure
The COronavirus remote MOnitoring of outpatients COMO project is led by Swiss startup Vexatec and includes system integration specialist EOS of Italy and CSEM with funding from the European Space Agency to provide remote monitoring of Covid-19 patients

The second wave of Covid-19 is seeing emergency rooms and intensive care units under pressure once again. Beds are running short, the risk of cross-infection at hospitals is increasing, and capacity levels have reached a critical stage.

So doctors at Luigi Sacco University Hospital in Milan are testing a system that monitors Covid-19 patients’ vital signs remotely using a chest belt initially developed at CSEM in Switzerland for space applications. A wireless Covid-19 monitoring system is also being tested by Philips at a hospital in the Netherlands.

The COMO system uses dry electrode sensors in a CSEM-designed chest belt that take continual readings of a patient’s heartbeat, breathing rate and body movements. The system also includes wireless devices that periodically measure the patient’s blood oxygen-saturation levels (SpO2) and skin temperature.

The measurements are sent to a central system through an app installed on the patient’s smartphone; doctors can then view the data and monitor the patient’s condition. If one of the patient’s readings falls out of a preset threshold range, the system can send a notification to the health-care team. With this system, patients can stay at home and receive personalized medical and psychological care as and when they need it.

The system is currently undergoing clinical trials at Luigi Sacco University Hospital in Milan, and the platform was approved by the ethics committee.

"I am very satisfied with the technological content in terms of reliability and precision, and happy for the patients who finally have access to a tool that is not an option, but a valid therapeutic tool,” said Prof. Dr. Maurizio Viecca, director of cardiology.

Next: Dry electrode sensors for Covid-19 monitoring

Picture: 
The COMO Covid-19 monitoring chest belt. © Reto Duriet

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