How digital health devices can predict virus outbreaks: Scripps Research COVID-19 updates


We’re launching detect and we’re really
excited about this because this is a way to track with a SmartWatch a person’s
heart rate and to know well before people have fever and symptoms whether
there’s a cluster of abnormalities that’s happening. We can’t say whether
it’s the coronavirus or whether it’s influenza but at least we can see
something, predict something very accurately so that we can put out an alert.
It’s real-time. It’s continuous. It’s scalable. And so we’re really very keen
on this added ability to be able to detect an emerging problem, potentially,
in any part of the geography of the United States. Well, the problem we have right now is to
do tests, whether it’s from a body fluid blood or any means of actual contact
there’s the inconvenience of having to go to a lab or sending in a specimen. There’s also showing up to a place where other people may get your infection or
you get theirs so what if you could do that from a wristband just getting
things like heart rate and so we can do that now. We’ve shown that we could do
that as well as a CDC and so it’s an added feature, it’s a whole other way
to look at a person’s well-being. If they have a resting heart rate which is
abnormal that could be an early sign even before there’s a fever or any other
symptoms that something’s not right especially when you see a cluster in a
community. We have really what’s called nowcasting it’s almost like if you were looking at a Google map for traffic and
that’s what this is, a real-time assessment which is superior because in
the setting of infectious disease you could test negative one day and then
change the next day. This is real-time continuous assessment. We’ve been pioneering digital health for about 13 years I think we were the first program
academic in the country and we learned right straight away is that this sensor
world where you understand the physiology of each person is an
extraordinary way to get a handle, continuous, unobtrusive and you can of
course tailor it as you need to for what you’re interested in. In the setting of
this COVID-19, it gives us a handle on things like heart rate, which we know is
a great antecedent abnormality before people get sick. So, by tracking people at
scale we’ll be able to see an outbreak as we saw with flu in a way that
previously has not been obtainable

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