App helps doctors keep tabs on patients’ blood oxygen levels
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Prof Mackwin D’Mello, head, department of public health, KS Hegde Medical Academy of Nitte has developed an android app that helps doctors in PHCs and ASHA workers keep a tab on SpO2 (blood oxygen) levels in Covid-19 patients in home isolation. Titled CoviSwas, the app was launched by Nitte chancellor N Vinay Hegde. A pilot will be conducted at Belman and Nitte PHCs, D’Mello said.

The app records SpO2 of Covid-19 patients in home isolation twice a day. It reads the SpO2 directly from the pulse oximeter the government provides. Patients cannot tamper with the readings. In case there is a drop in SpO2 levels, an alert is sent to the medical officer. He said the district health officer can be the super admin and medical officers at PHCs the admin for the app.

D’Mello said: “On several occasions, ASHA workers have talked of challenges at work. Many of them are wary of visiting Covid-19 patients in home isolation. In the meantime, Dr Satheesh Kumar Bhandary, VC, Nitte called and told me that we should do something for Covid patients. I immediately wrote a proposal and submitted it to him within a day,” he said. He added: “The proposal was approved and two MCA students Vignesh and Yogish assisted with the technical aspects. We launched the app in a month’s time after conducting trials at Nitte.”

The app is useful for medical officers because at one click they can get details of the total number of patients in home isolation and their SpO2 details. The admin has the authority to remove patients from the list once they complete 14 days of isolation. However, the data will be stored.

All that the patient needs is a smartphone with internet connectivity so that s/he can scan the readings from the pulse oximeter. Since the app can trace the location through GPS, the patient must check the SpO2 from his house. The trials were conducted on about 10 patients with the oximeter provided by the government, D’Mello said.