Mobile health technologies can predict COVID-19 symptom escalation, study finds

Mobile health technologies including wearable sensors are viable options to monitor COVID-19 patients and predict if symptoms will escalate, according to a recent study published in IEEE Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology

For the study, a 60-person task force including Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers reviewed mHealth technologies in three categories: wearable sensors, digital contact tracing technology and electronic patient-recorded outcomes screening systems. Task force subgroups then examined how the technologies could be applied in various settings in response to the pandemic.

A team from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst examined the viability of using wearable sensors to monitor the health of front-line clinicians and to identify early signs of outbreak in hospital settings. The group reviewed 28 commercially available wearable sensors and found 12 examples that could best be applied today to monitor patients and healthcare workers.

"Clinicians look at a certain set of indicators for Covid-19, so our goal was to see which products are best for monitoring people for those certain indicators, and that already have regulatory approval. We also considered how well these sensors could be used across certain groups and demographics, because we want this to help as many people as possible, and how they might be used together," said Jeff Palmer, assistant head of biotechnology and human systems at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory.

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