Study of mHealth in Covid-19 pandemic published by task force including NUIG Professor


NUI Galway Professor Derek O’Keeffe is one of 60 people who have examined the role of mobile health (mHealth) technologies during the coronavirus pandemic.

The task force’s study, ‘Can mHealth Technology Help Mitigate the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic?’ was published in the IEEE Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology today.

The study aimed to review mHealth technologies and monitor their use to monitor the effects of the pandemic.

The Task Force identified technologies that could be used in response to the COIVD-19 pandemic and would likely be suitable for future pandemics.

They found that mHealth technologies are viable options to monitor COVID-19 patients and be used to predict symptom escalation for earlier intervention.

Professor O’Keeffe said: “Digital health technology, which has shown tremendous promise for many years, is now ready to be a major tool in helping us to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In this comprehensive study, we reviewed the full spectrum of mHealth systems and research enabling us to identify both what can be used to address COVID-19 now and also in the future.

“The research focused on all aspects of COVID-19 care from using novel technologies to help improve diagnostic triage to the physiological monitoring of field hospital patients and front line workers using wearable sensors and AI tools.

“The alarming growth of COVID-19 cases has highlighted the shortcomings of healthcare systems, governmental policies, and wider societal issues.

“Therefore in this important research work we have developed a framework to rapidly assess digital health solutions to help the public, patients and clinicians to deal with this pandemic.

“Clinically we have divided our findings into the distinct domains of preventative, acute and recovery care.

“Our approach gives authorities an evidence based toolbox to implement state of the art remote patient and frontline worker vital sign monitoring solutions.

“In addition we outline the ideal criteria and examples of both occupational and general public contact tracing solutions, such as the recent HSE COVID-19 Tracker App.”

Paolo Bonato, PhD, Director of the Spaulding Motion Analysis Lab, was the lead author on the study.

“To be able to activate a diverse group of experts with such a singular focus speaks to the commitment the entire research and science community has in addressing this pandemic. Our goal is to quickly get important findings into the hands of the clinical community so we continue to build effective interventions,” said Dr Bonato.