Patients are now being enrolled in the COVID-19 Virtual Care at Home study from the Urgent COVID-19 Care Clinic at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) in London, Ontario.
This research study through Lawson Health Research Institute, the research arm of LHSC and St. Joseph’s Health Care London, implements and evaluates a virtual, patient-centered platform created by CANet to guide COVID-19 positive patients with out-of-hospital management at home in their communities.
VIRTUES COVID-19 is an online web-based application developed to reduce emergency department visits and improve COVID-19 patient care and satisfaction.
With VIRTUES, patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 will have the ability to manage their care remotely with a multidisciplinary, inter-professional approach (Allied Health, Cardiology, Emergency Department, General Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease, Neurology, and Respirology).
“The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of global virtual healthcare,” says Dr. Anthony Tang, CEO and Scientific Director, CANet. “Our goal is to deliver a model of virtual care, supported by technology solutions. Solutions that will monitor the patients at home, thereby improving access to care, improve quality of care, and reduce the stress of patients infected by COVID-19.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, CANet took decisive action to adapt the VIRTUES digital health solution to address the needs of Canadians. VIRTUES COVID-19 will enable Canada’s healthcare system to scale with digital health services related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With an aggressive timeline for implementation, CANet partnered with Clearbridge Mobile, an application development company in Toronto. The adaptation of the virtual patient-centered platform has a defined role in COVID-19 symptom tracking, thus enhancing healthcare professionals’ ability to monitor, triage, and manage COVID-19 patients’ care.
VIRTUES COVID-19 will streamline the patient assessment process, making it easier for patients and faster for caregivers to understand patient needs and identify high-risk patients.
“Using VIRTUES, the care team can monitor a range of symptoms remotely that tells us a lot about how the patient is doing. In addition to tracking their temperature, we are using a home-based pulse oximeter to measure pulse rate and oxygen saturation,” says project co-lead Dr. Marko Mrkobrada, LHSC physician and Lawson Associate Scientist.
Developed with an extensive focus on implementing Privacy by Design (PbD) principles, VIRTUES is currently in use with a separate CANet-lead program. VIRTUES Remote Patient Management for Cardiac Implantable Electronic Devices (RPM-CIED) focuses on patient care with remote management of implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICD) and pacemakers. In compliance with Canadian privacy laws and the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), this cutting-edge COVID-19 web-based application will actively monitor patients from the onset of symptoms.
VIRTUES COVID-19 helps manage and monitor a patient, including O2 saturation and pulse rate (with a provided home-based pulse oximeter), and temperature. The platform provides symptom log tracking, with critical alerts for communication between a patient and physician, including feedback between a patient and their COVID-19 care team regarding the need for any action or therapy.
“We want to learn more about making healthcare technology user-friendly. Patients will have more information about their care and hopefully will experience reduced anxiety,” explains project co-lead Dr. Erin Spicer, LHSC physician and Lawson Associate Scientist. “While the majority of COVID-19 cases don’t require hospitalization, this system allows us to more closely monitor a patient’s progress and make informed decisions if their symptoms worsen.”
The most dangerous symptoms of disease progression are silent. With at-home health monitoring, patients can record their symptoms directly on the VIRTUES COVID-19 platform.
VIRTUES COVID-19 virtual patient care platform is vital to managing the spread of the virus today. It will also prove to be essential in monitoring re-emerging cases. It holds tremendous value for enabling our frontline healthcare workers to act quickly, keeping at-risk Canadians at home in the safest, most efficient way possible.
The VIRTUES COVID-19 healthcare model is expected to demonstrate several benefits. Reducing patient anxiety, improving patient satisfaction, reducing health care resources, rapid tracking of case recovery, and early recognition of patients may require further management, including hospitalization.
This healthcare model can be adapted further to facilitate other clinical settings and improve the accessibility of quality care to vulnerable populations in isolated, rural, and underprivileged environments.
Additionally, this program can be implemented across Ontario to provide a superior healthcare delivery level for all Ontarians. Ultimately, VIRTUES can help decrease the COVID-19 virus exposure within communities and frontline healthcare workers across Canada.
“The ultimate goal of implementing our VIRTUES platform for COVID-19 use is to keep people safe, prevent the spread of this vicious virus, and overcome this crisis,” says Dr. Anthony Tang.
To learn more about VIRTUES and the COVID-19 Virtual Care at Home study, visit www.virtues.care/covid-19