Orion Health released a pandemic outbreak monitoring platform to help healthcare organizations respond to the COVID-19 virus, as well as a website to help people globally understand their risk for the disease.
Among the core features of the platform are remote monitoring capabilities, allowing for the engagement of patients in their homes, as well as facilitating communication between quarantined people and the healthcare service and maintaining visibility of those recently discharged.
“Remote monitoring tools are an ideal way to keep a safe eye on patients while they are in quarantine or at home. If their clinical situation deteriorates, the system, supported by clinician oversight, can respond rapidly and decide if they need more intensive levels of medical care,” Ian McCrae, CEO of Orion Health, told Healthcare IT News.
“At the same time, providers are at no risk of exposure to COVID-19 when they manage a patient remotely. It is highly important we preserve a healthy clinician workforce at any time and especially during a health crisis like COVID-19.”
The company noted the software that supports the platform would be offered at no cost to existing and future customers, and over time, the solution will increasingly use artificial intelligence (AI) to allow providers to identify patients at risk of deterioration and optimize their care.
“There was a need to respond quickly to the most urgent and important needs of people in our community who are no doubt struggling to come to terms with what COVID-19 means for them,” McCrae explained.
“This involved understanding the in depth of a very new disease with rapidly evolving information about how it spreads and who are its targets and which people most likely to suffer. We then had to build the technology rapidly using an agile approach and deploy it into the field.”
The website offers a regionally configurable online symptom checker with a background calculation of patient risk based on a number of factors, and the public will also be able to connect into remote patient monitoring functionality in regions where this is available.
McCrae also noted AI tools are well suited to supporting some of the core tasks involved in the pandemic response.
“From a population perspective AI can help us to process new, messy data to better understand how COVID-19 is spreading, who is at risk of contracting, and who is at heightened risk of poor outcomes,” he explained. “Machine learning is particularly powerful at helping us to find patterns – who is similar, and what appears to be unusual about a patient.”
This involves processing a lot of data from a patient record, including text and images, that can be time-consuming for medical professionals.
“As we gather more information on cases, AI could be critical to finding what treatment patterns are most effective for each patient or group, prioritizing the most urgent emerging cases,” McCrae said.
At a more operational level, he explained AI technology can help with the rapid changes in modes of care that society needs to adapt to.
For example, virtual assistants and chatbots can answer common questions, freeing up the medical community for the most critical cases, while virtual models of care can be assisted by AI in sharing and processing data from devices, recording and translating consultations, and providing decision support to process test results or scans.
Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.
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