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WA smartphone app aims to keep elderly safe from COVID-19

A pioneering remote monitoring smartphone app developed in Western Australia is being used to detect COVID-19 early in older people from the safety of their own homes.

Residents from Bethanie Retirement Villages are being remotely monitored by a team of healthcare professionals using an award-winning digital platform called Openly. Up to 100 residents will be monitored over six months to determine the effectiveness of the technology.

The Early Digital Intervention for Covid Therapy (EDICT) program, a collaboration between the University of Western Australia, clinical biotech company Emyria Ltd, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, the Bethanie Group and the Institute for Respiratory Health, is working to develop leading technology to detect the early signs of the coronavirus in the elderly.

The $880,000 Western Australian Government-funded pilot program aims to monitor a person’s general health and wellbeing through the platform. It will also record vital signs such as heart rate using just a smartphone.

“Every time an elderly patient visits their doctor or a hospital, they can be exposed to bugs that could be harmful to their health,” Dr Wayne Aston, Program Manager of Digital Health at Emyria said.

“Remote digital health monitoring can give patients greater control over their condition and reduce the number of hospital visits.

“Aside from reducing the health risk, it can also cut costs related to healthcare visits and can provide a more holistic health overview by gathering high-quality clinical data regularly.

“Through the Openly platform, healthcare professionals can view a patient’s individual data in real-time and provide personalised feedback to the patient immediately. Intelligent algorithms enable early detection of any decline to the resident’s health, which means they can be treated sooner.

“Emyria’s mission is to develop robust, real-world data that can lead to better healthcare outcomes for patients around the world, which is why we’re thrilled to be part of this program.”

Dr Aston said the innovative technology was aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus and helping to save lives.

Bethanie Chief Executive Officer Mr Chris How said the aged care provider was thrilled to be a part of the EDICT program.

“Any way we can help to keep members of our community safe from COVID-19 is important to us,” Mr How said.

“We know the elderly are among the most vulnerable members of the community if infected with the virus. 

“It’s important to embrace new technology which has the potential to save lives and keep people out of hospital.”


About EDICT:
EDICT is a collaboration across the healthcare sector, universities, the government, industry and consumer groups. Through remote monitoring technologies, it aims to fight COVID-19 for those who are at risk and who already have the virus.

It’s currently helping three main groups of people – those in retirement villages, multicultural communities and those with chronic lung disease.

About Bethanie:
For more than 65 years Bethanie has been welcoming Western Australian seniors into a unique and caring, social, and engaging environment. Bethanie has a proud history and equally trusted reputation as the State’s leading not-for-profit aged care, person-centred provider.

Bethanie has 13 residential aged care homes and provides care to more than 3,000 Western Australians across residential care, home care, retirement villages and community housing.

Bethanie boasts an experienced team of 2,050 committed and passionate staff and more than 350 volunteers, all of whom share and practice the belief that at Bethanie, you are among friends. Bethanie is committed to the continuous improvement of quality aged care services, to improve not only the quality of life and care of our seniors but to meet the changing needs and expectations of future generations.

About Emyria:
Emyria develops biopharmaceuticals guided by proprietary Real-World Data collected from patients across its wholly-owned clinical service subsidiary, Emerald Clinics.

Emyria’s Real World Data (RWD) guides each of Emyria’s clinical development programs and care models.

Emyria RWD is deep, ethically-sourced clinical evidence gathered from thousands of patients who also receive personalised care at Emerald Clinics.

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