Why is it important: As the tests are still too limited, any device that can indicate to doctors an early case of COVID-19 is welcome. And the combination of people staying at home because of social isolation and the overwhelming threat of the disease makes home diagnoses even more important.
How it works: The experimental portable device, which sits at the base of a patient’s throat, was developed by researchers at Northwestern University and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago. It was originally intended to monitor speech patterns in stroke victims before being redesigned for COVID-19, said John Rogers of Northwestern, who led the development.
- Worn 24/7, the device detects cough intensity and patterns, as well as breathing sounds, heart rate, and body temperature. Data is transmitted wirelessly to the cloud, where algorithms provide graphical representations that can be interpreted by doctors.
- Rogers says about 25 people The devices are currently being worn, a mix of health workers monitoring themselves for signs of COVID-19 and patients who have been discharged from hospitals and are being monitored remotely.
The new device joined a range of home diagnostics that suddenly became popular during the pandemic, including pulse oximeters that can measure blood oxygenation levels – a vital sign for COVID-19 patients.
- “The technology is there take ICU level hospital diagnoses and deliver them to your home, to wear on your skin for ongoing health monitoring, “said Rogers.” We believe the pandemic will lead to a greater awareness of the value of this surveillance.
- According to a recent count, the connected medical diagnostics market is expected to grow an average of 25% per year by 2025. With companies like Amazon and Apple increasingly focusing on health diagnostics, “tech companies have a great opening to do more of this work, “futurist Amy Webb told me recently.
At the end of the line: Health monitoring will not have to wait for your doctor to arrive.
Go further: Shortages of diagnostic test supplies threaten coronavirus response