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Covid-19 Early Warning system for Front Line Medical Staff shows encouraging results

Early warning system could be rolled out across health care sector, academia and industry partnership.

The College of Medicine and Health, UCC today announced 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 Covid-19 Remote Early Warning System (CREW) remotely identifies healthcare staff who may be developing a temperature, symptomatic of Covid-19. A quarter of all diagnosed cases of the Coronavirus in Ireland are among the healthcare community who work daily 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 will remotely identify 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 software development company 8 West Consulting, The ASSERT centre and Tyndall Institute at UCC. The solution innovatively combines existing technologies to allow early detection of symptoms of the Coronavirus.

The Covid-19 Remote Early Warning System (CREW) consists of:

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 Friday, April 3rd at Cork University Hospital. Five volunteers have been wearing underarm thermometers connected to smart phones, with temperature readings being sent to the monitoring platform on an hourly basis. Where a staff member's temperature shows signs of being elevated above the norm, they are alerted to take appropriate action and self-isolate.

Initial results from the trial with volunteers at CUH 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.

Professor Stephen Cusack, Recently retired Prof of EM, UCC, Specialty Expert in Emergency Medicine at UCC Academy, Consultant EM at CUH commented:

"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."

Commenting on the breakthrough, Professor Barry O'Reilly, Director of the ASSERT Centre and Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist at CUMH, explained

"This is a novel Internet of Medical Things solution created by the collaboration of the MedTech sector and ASSERT to provide a digital COVID infection screening system for front-line healthcare staff at an extremely challenging time.”

Dr Patrick Henn, Director Research and Education at the ASSERT Centre in UCC said:

"10-25% of all diagnosed cases of the Coronavirus are among the healthcare community working to halt the spread of the disease. The single common variable in all cases of the Covid-19 virus is a rise in body temperature. CREW is a quarantine management platform that will hopefully allow us identify healthcare staff remotely who may be developing a temperature that may be an early sign of Covid-19 and who therefore should not present to work.”

John Murphy, Joint CEO of 8 West Consulting who developed the solution says CREW has the potential to help not only individual medics but the wider hospital population, and the general public.

"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 ourselves what 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 be available initially on iOS and Android smartphones, with wearables and 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.

How CREW Works:
A digital thermometer sensor is worn under the armpit to measure axillary body temperature. The thermometer is paired with a wearable such as the mSafety from Sony, Apple Smartwatch or Google Wear device. The body temperature readings, and other 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 will collect a further measurement 30 minutes later. If 2 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.

About 8 West:
8 West Consulting is a business consulting and software development company based in Cork, Ireland, operating since 1998. Our primary focus is to provide business and technology solutions to our clients in the Health Care and Retail space along with others who require high quality, scalable and maintainable software in fields ranging from publishing to community safety. We have over two hundred and twenty highly qualified professionals who share a passion for technology and business.

About ASSERT at UCC:
At the ASSERT Centre, College of Medicine and Health, University College Cork, education, training, research, and innovation are closely interlinked. ASSERT through the application of Technology Enhanced Learning including Simulation Based Training and Virtual Reality Based Training in its state-of-the-art healthcare training facilities, is dedicated to the improvement of patient safety and patient outcomes. Please note video interviews of the partnership team here.

For further information please contact: Tara O'Leary, UCC Media & Communications - CoMH - 085 8077849 or email tara.oleary@ucc.ie.

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