A team from CSAIL (Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) of MIT has recently developed a wireless device that enables doctors to monitor patients from distant places.
The development has been made to address the rising number of healthcare workers being infected by the coronavirus. This monitor or device can effectively reduce overcrowding at hospitals as well as keep the healthcare workers safe while treating the patients during the ongoing pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 9,000 healthcare workers have been infected by the coronavirus, with over 27 death cases reported across the United States.
The wireless device, known as Emerald, is like a Wi-Fi router. It emits signals and can be mounted on the wall. The system uses artificial intelligence technology to analyze patterns of the signals and gather information such as sleep patterns, breathing rate, and movement of the patients. The device also can detect the chest motion and distinguish people. The concerned doctor can access and react to all the information gathered remotely through the device, including when the patients are having trouble breathing.
The CSAIL team has already adopted Emerald at its assisted living facility where they monitor a COVID-19 patient remotely. The system has detected the decreased breathing rate of the patient as she recovered from the disease, from 23 to 18 breaths/minute. It also has detected that the patient has become more physically active and improved her sleep pattern.
According to Dr. Ipsit Vahia, Harvard Medical School’s assistant professor of psychiatry, the new device can help minimize the risk of virus transmission to doctors and nurses as it effectively generates health data without the need to come in close contact with the patient. It can be helpful especially in various settings such as assisted living and skilled nursing facilities where there are high chances of contracting the virus.
By combining the device with telehealth, it could give rise to tech-driven remote care. It could also potentially be used to monitor sleep apnea, insomnia, and anxiety.