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Sidekick creates app for remote care of COVID-19 patients

Tryggvi Thorgeirsson

Icelandic Sidekick has tailored its digital therapeutics service to the needs of those infected with the new coronavirus in the country.

With the new app, the country’s healthcare professionals are able to track patients’ health remotely.

The app is developed together with Icelandic health authorities and the gaming company CCP and it is based on the self reporting of the patient. This will hopefully save time and endless telephone calls from health professionals, states the company. using the app healthcare professionals can step in if the condition of the patient gets worse and for example ask the patient to come to the hospital or call an ambulance.

Useful during the crisis

In an interview with RÚV, Tryggvi Thorgeirsson, CEO, Sidekick, explained the idea behind the initiative: “We realized that we possessed a tool, which we have been developing over the past six years, that could be useful during the current crisis.”

The company’s platform was initially created to remotely support people with a variety of chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. With a team of infectious disease specialists and data scientists, Sidekick has created an algorithm that helps HCPs more rapidly classify patients by disease severity. Through the CE-marked Sidekick COVID-19 program, patients self-report on a panel of symptoms and measurement multiple times a day.
 The system can be applied across geographies to improve use of critical healthcare resources.

Anyone infected with the disease in Iceland is granted access to the platform and can record the state of their health daily.

The system has been trialled recently

Once a patient tests positive for COVID-19 and begins isolating at home, they will be texted a link to download the app. There, users will be required to complete a symptom checklist twice a day and based on that, the system’s algorithm will suggest their risk level. Healthcare workers will then review the information and confirm the patient’s risk status. Health professionals will be able to send advice remotely, call the patient, send an ambulance to their home or discharge them from the monitoring programme. Users of the app will also have access to large amounts of educational material on the virus.

The system has been trialled recently by several patients in Iceland and it is hoped that the app will be available to the public within the next few days, Fréttablaðið reports.

An added bonus

In addition to relieving the pressure from overburdened hospitals, the new app also allows doctors to deliver useful information to patients.

“The app also allows us to share different kinds of information, such as videos with physiotherapists teaching breathing exercises or psychologists discussing the effects of stress and anxiety on the illness,” Tryggvi said.

Photo of Tryggvi Thorgeirsson: Sidekick