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Medtech in the 21st century: innovations to help with the COVID pandemic

Prague, 2 February 2022: Is it possible to safely cure selected patients with COVID pneumonia from the comfort of home? The digitisation of medicine is already helping fight the pandemic. University Hospital in Martin has tested this solution and has had promising results. The application is called MEDasistent. It was initiated by a head doctor of the hospital in Martin who treats covid patients. It can greatly help to provide relief to doctors and hospital departments during the current critical period of the pandemic. Asseco Central Europe, in cooperation with the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, the Jessenius Medical Faculty of Comenius University in Martin and the University Hospital in Martin, has come up with an innovative technology that allows monitoring, analysing and evaluating the patient's condition in real time without the need for hospitalisation.

The app works as a "virtual covid ward" for the attending doctor. It will enable remote monitoring of patients' health status, shorten hospitalisation times, and identify adverse disease developments. It is intended for covid patients with a mild or moderate progression of the disease. The aim is to relieve the medical staff, free up hospital capacity for serious cases and ultimately save hospital resources. Patients will no longer have to spend long days in hospital and can be safely treated at home.

"Already after the first wave of the pandemic in the spring of the previous year, we had an idea to create a solution that would optimize the timely arrival and length of stay of covid patients in hospitals during the pandemic. Together with our partners, we created the MEDasistent mobile app, the benefits of which have already been verified by dozens of patients in our referral area during the second wave of the pandemic. In the end, only some of them had to be hospitalized," said Ivan Kocan, M.D., Ph.D., Head of the Department of Pneumology and Phthisiology at the University Hospital in Martin and the Jessenius Medical Faculty of Comenius University in Martin, who pilot-tested the project.

The doctor has access to the measured results of the patient in a clearly processed digital form in the MEDasistent application, which allows the doctor to quickly, efficiently and regularly monitor patients’ condition and suggest further treatment. The app has already treated 82 patients, 39 men and 43 women with an average age of 48.7 years. 97.5% of them had COVID pneumonia. 69 patients were not hospitalized at all and with an average length of hospitalization of 11.19 days, 772.11 bed-days were saved. In other 13 patients, 53 days were saved thanks to their home treatment. Subsequently, they had to be hospitalized due to their deteriorating health. In total, this represents up to 825 bed-days saved in 3 months.

In the first phase of the project, which is still ongoing, the patient will record his/her current health status, or the results of measurements (SpO2, pressure, temperature, general condition of the patient), in the MEDasistent application questionnaire. The whole system is parametric, it is possible to set threshold values in healthy patients and adjust them in chronically ill patients. "The app is already available to the general public in the App Store and Google Store and will allow all patients monitored by their doctor to continuously monitor their health and catch adverse disease developments early. This is very important, because early detection of deterioration of the health condition can significantly help to prevent further health complications," explains Associate Professor Martin Donoval from the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava.

"We want to extend and complement the MEDasistent application with elements of artificial intelligence, neural networks and decision support systems with defined clinical procedures to prevent critical patient conditions. Early prevention is the least demanding and most effective solution, which can be of great importance for hospitals, medical staff, patients and the whole of Slovakia," explains Tomáš Rohožka, Director of BU Healthcare at Asseco Central Europe. "It can already spread to all hospitals today," he adds.

This article was written within the project: Research and development of telemedicine solutions to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce its negative consequences by monitoring the health status of people to eliminate the risk of infection in populations at risk. Project code in ITMS2014+: 313011ASY8