Covid-19 early warning system for front line medical staff shows encouraging results

Prof Stephen Cusack, Cork University Hospital
Prof Stephen Cusack, Cork University Hospital

CREW could be rolled out across health care sector

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14 April 2020 | 0

A remote early warning system for the detection of Covid-19 symptoms among frontline medical staff at Cork University Hospital is showing promising results. The early warning system has been developed through a software industry and healthcare partnership with University College Cork (UCC).

The Covid-19 Remote Early Warning System (CREW) remotely identifies healthcare staff who may be developing a temperature, symptomatic of Covid-19. A quarterof all diagnosed cases of the Coronavirus in Ireland are among thehealthcare community who daily work on the front lines to assist our community. The single common variable in all cases of the Covid-19 virus is a rise in body temperature. CREW remotely identifies healthcare staff who may be developing a temperature that may be symptomatic of Covid-19 and who therefore should not present to work.

CREW is being developed in partnership between the College of Medicine and Health at University College Cork (UCC), the Cork-based software consultancy 8 West, The ASSERT centre and Tyndall National Institute at UCC. The solution innovatively combines existing technologies to allow early detection of symptoms of the Coronavirus.

 

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CREW works by using a digital thermometer sensor worn under the armpit to measure axillary body temperature. The thermometer is paired with a wearable device such as the mSafety from Sony, Apple Smartwatch or Google Wear device. The temperature readings, and other biometric data such as heart rate, dependent on the paired wearables characteristics are sent from the wearable to a cloud-based monitoring platform. If a temperature of greater than 37.2 degrees centigrade is recorded, then the sensor platform from will collect a further measurement 30 minutes later. If two subsequent elevated readings are noted, then an alert will be provided to the central monitoring console and Staff coordinator, who will then advise the staff member to self-isolate.

CREW is designed and developed by 8 West Consulting based on its SafeTrx tracking and alerting software platform. Trials using frontline staff have been underway since 3 April at Cork University Hospital.

Initial results from the trial have shown accurate temperature data being successfully and continually communicated via the phones to the monitoring platform. More volunteers are now to be added and wearable devices introduced to improve the data set and test the accuracy and efficacy of CREW over a longer period of time.

Prof Stephen Cusack, Recently retired Prof of Emergency Medicine (EM), UCC, specialty expert in emergency medicine at UCC Academy and a consultant EM at CUH, said: “CUH Emergency Department staff are delighted to have helped pioneer an innovative 24 hour monitoring device like this. We are 24 hours on the front line of care daily, and it’s good to know that efforts like this are being made to support our wellbeing 24 hours a day too.”

John Murphy, CEO of 8 West Consulting said: “Exceptional times call for an exceptional response. This technology has been developed over the last three weeks through a huge and remarkably open effort on the part of our partners in UCC, CUH, and the team at 8 West, with technical and hardware support from Sony Network Communications Europe, Cambridge Wireless Vodafone Ireland, Huawei, Davra, BlueBridge Technologies and others.

“When Covid-19 struck we asked ourselveswhat can we do to help protect the wellbeing of healthcare workers who by the nature of their jobs are being exposed to Covid-19 on an ongoing basis? The technical community has the responsibility, and the skills to rapidly evolve and deploy a solution to support Healthcare workers, and that is what we are doing.”

CREW will available initially on iOS and Android products including phones and wearables, with other operating systems to follow. 8 West’s John Murphy says the goal of CREW is to make the solution available to as many frontline staff as possible in Ireland and around the world.

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