The measurements are sent instantly to a central system through an app installed on the patient’s smartphone; doctors can then view the data and monitor the patient’s condition. If one of the patient’s readings falls out of a preset threshold range, the system can send a notification to the health-care team. With this system, patients can stay at home and receive personalized medical and psychological care as and when they need it.
Clinical trials under way in Milan
The system is currently undergoing clinical trials at Luigi Sacco University Hospital in Milan, under a protocol and program headed by Prof. Dr. Maurizio Viecca, the director of the departments of Cardiology. The platform was approved by the ethics committee, and Prof. Viecca notes
"I am very satisfied with the technological content in terms of reliability and precision, and happy for the patients who finally have access to a tool that is not an option, but a valid therapeutic tool.”
The project is called COMO – for COronavirus remote MOnitoring of outpatients – and is being run by an Italian-Swiss consortium with funding from both the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI).
COMO draws on technology that CSEM had initially developed for ESA to take measurements of physiological parameters during research expeditions at the Concordia research base in Antarctica. CSEM had also improved the sensing technology to make it compatible with conditions in the International Space Station, so that it can monitor astronauts. Now the technology is back in use, albeit in an updated version, through the R&D partnership with Vexatec.
"ESA’s programs aim to support the development and marketing of innovative products and services that draw on the knowledge and technology developed through our various space missions and research projects," say Elena Razzano and Arnaud Runge, who oversee the COMO project at ESA. "We would be delighted if our space-related research can be redeployed to help save lives" they add.