CLEVELAND — There may be a positive side to the COVID-19 pandemic when it comes to speedy advances in medicine. One of them is happening right now at University Hospitals in Cleveland.
As institutions scramble to find rooms for coronavirus patients, a new tool at UH is saving space and allowing some patients to stay at home.
“We used to not be able to send them home because we couldn’t do it safely,” said critical care physician Dr. Peter Pronovost. “We didn’t have a way to measure their blood oxygen level…now we do.”
It is because of the Masimo “SafetyNet,” which allows hospitals to track their patients' vitals from afar. All they need to do is tape the device to their finger and sync it to their phone; the wireless technology then sends real time data to a command center. When a patient is through with the device, they can simply throw it away.
It was a big relief recently for Dr. Alyssa Drosdak, a medical resident who contracted coronavirus and worried about fighting the disease at home alone.
“Every day at about 9 a.m. and then at 5 or 6 p.m. they would call me. It was nurses as I understood at the UH health care facility, they were monitoring me,” she said. “I was constantly being reassured that I had people monitoring my vitals and watching over me.”
The SafetyNet recently gained FDA approval and is currently free for patients. Its timing could not be better.
“We have requests all around the globe to say, ‘Can you share this with us?’” Dr. Pronovost said. “There will be long term benefits that come out of this.”
Pronovost added UH has used the device on 50 patients so far and will soon have it available on all campuses. A spokesperson for Masimo tells 3News that more than 100 hospitals around the country will utilize the technology and more than a half million devices will be manufactured per week beginning next week.