WEDNESDAY, June 17, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A proactive monitoring program for COVID-19 can track illness, provide support, and identify cases that need hospitalization, according to a study published online June 16 in NEJM Catalyst.

Gayle Kricke, Ph.D., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues developed a monitoring program to assess COVID-19 patients daily, provide advice, and facilitate additional care for those with concerning, worsening, or severe symptoms who were caring for themselves at home.

The researchers developed a monitoring program that delivered a daily electronic symptom and coping questionnaire, integrated text message reminders, and was reliant on telephone-based care. A total of 193 nurses, 70 advanced practice professionals, 152 medical students, and 115 physician attendings were organized within 10 days to provide care for about 1,000 patients per day. A total of 6,853 patients had been through the monitoring program as of May 21, 2020. On average, nine patients per day were sent to the emergency department. Standardizing workflows, reaching patients, and balancing workforce with patient volume were challenges associated with the program.

“Even after the COVID-19 pandemic eases, the outpatient home monitoring program may provide a prototype for efficient management of other acute problems or other problems where clinical deterioration is possible,” the authors write. “Future versions should benefit from patient engagement tools, automation, artificial intelligence, and better integration with primary care.”

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