St. Luke’s University Health Network said Tuesday it is among the first institutions worldwide to use a new device able to track a patient’s coronavirus infection from anywhere.

St. Luke’s in Fountain Hill began March 30 using the Masimo SafetyNet to track in-hospital patients diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness caused by the viral pandemic.

St. Luke’s says it plans to use the Masimo SafetyNet tether-less sensor and cloud-based surveillance system to monitor upwards of 2,000 hospitalized patients and lower acuity cases in the home. These may also include staff and patients who are quarantined at home with the virus. St. Luke’s has also begun using the device to monitor non-COVID-19 patients in general medical-surgical units.

Masimo, based in Irvine, California, and St. Luke’s jointly announced the new technology’s use in the Lehigh Valley area in a news release. The technology is also in use at University Hospitals, one of the largest health systems in northeastern Ohio, the company says.

The tele-medicine device uses a wearable, single-patient-use sensor to monitor patients’ oxygen levels. It pairs via a secure Bluetooth connection with a patient’s Android or iOS smartphone or smart device to offer clinicians an accurate snapshot of a patient’s health, helping to speed decisions on potentially life-saving intervention.

In the COVID-19 battle, the SafetyNet is designed to help manage surges in patient populations while maintaining the safety of other patients and providers and allowing hospitals to expand patient remote monitoring into alternative care spaces, including overflow locations, emergency recovery facilities and home care settings, St. Luke’s says.

“This technology is game-changing in light of the crush of demand on our hospitals during this COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Aldo Carmona, St. Luke’s senior vice president of clinical innovation and chairman of the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, said in a news release. “With this wearable device, we can create temporary, pop-up respiratory monitoring units as needed to meet the changing patient volumes and track employees’ health in their homes if they have been exposed to COVID-19, the flu or any other serious illness.”

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The list of illnesses the Masimo SafetyNet can help monitor includes COPD, heart failure and oncology, according to the release. The system uses Masimo CarePrograms that can be updated through the cloud for maximum flexibility, and can be configured to actively notify patients to answer questions such as, “Are you having trouble breathing?” and “What is your temperature?” while pushing patient responses along with the monitoring data to clinicians for evaluation.

“We know that continuous physiologic monitoring with Masimo’s Patient SafetyNet improves outcomes and saves lives,” Carmonoa says in the release. “The ability to extend that capability to patients in non-traditional settings and at home during this crisis with Masimo SafetyNet is transformative. Only through our relationship with Masimo could this have been possible.”

For more information on the coronavirus, including what you can do, consult your state health department at health.pa.gov or covid19.nj.gov and the website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Kurt Bresswein may be reached at kbresswein@lehighvalleylive.com. If there’s anything about this story that needs attention, please email him. Follow him on Twitter @KurtBresswein and Facebook. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.





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