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COVID-19 battle: Push for artificial intelligence to keep patients out of hospital

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A major Melbourne hospital is urging to state government to grant approval for an artificial intelligence program that allows COVID-19 patients to be monitored from home.

The Alfred Hospital is pushing for the idea after investigating how the pandemic has unfolded in other countries which have had far more cases.

Deputy director of The Alfred’s trauma services, Associate Professor Joseph Mathew, said many patients with milder cases of coronavirus are better off at home, but are worried about their condition deteriorating.

“A whole lot of mild patients of COVID-19 are concerned they aren’t being monitored so they present to the emergency department and expose healthcare workers,” Professor Mathew explained to Ross and John.

An artificial intelligence system developed by Alfred Health and Deakin University overcomes this problem by allowing patients to be remotely monitored three times a day using a thermometer and oxygen saturation monitor.

Patients are sent three texts a day and must enter their thermometer and oxygen monitor readings, pre-existing conditions and symptoms they’re experiencing.

Each patient is then given a red, amber or green health rating.

Professor Mathew said a team of nurses at the hospital will monitor results regularly.

“These nurses can discuss with the doctors if the patient clinically deteriorates, and activate the ambulance early to pick these patients up,” he said.

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