Canadian hospital battles coronavirus outbreak with 'revolutionary' app

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Jewish General Hospital in Montreal is battling the coronavirus outbreak with what has been described as a “revolutionary” app that can monitor peoples’ vital signs when they look on their smartphone screens.

In a memo to the staff of the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal, which includes Jewish General, the health system’s CEO Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg said the app would protect staff and provide patients with more effective care.

“Starting soon, after ongoing evaluation, our CIUSSS is expected to make extensive use of a revolutionary smartphone app: It allows patients to look into their phone’s screen and have their vital signs (early indicators of possible infection that the app has obtained) shared with health care professionals,” he said in the memo, which was obtained by Fox News.

The health system’s use of the app is the first of its kind anywhere in the world, according to Rosenberg.

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The Montreal Gazette reported that the Jewish General Hospital’s early testing of the app has delivered positive results.

The app will let staff reduce their contact with infected patients, Rosenberg said, greatly lowering their chances of becoming infected and spreading the virus themselves.

“For example, triage nurses can check vital signs (heart rate, respiratory rate and the blood’s oxygen saturation) without touching patients; the condition of certain hospitalized patients can be monitored from their beds; and the vital signs of patients at home can be checked remotely,” he explained. “The technology can even detect subtle changes that might otherwise go unnoticed. As a further bonus, with staff entering quarantined rooms less often, stocks of protective equipment will last longer.”

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The memo does not name the companies involved in developing the app, although the Montreal Gazette reported that Israeli firm Binah.ai developed the core technology, which was harnessed by Montreal-based Carebook Technologies for the app. On its website, Carebook writes that its MyVitals COVID-19 app is coming soon to Quebec. The app, it says, was designed in collaboration with the Jewish General Hospital.

Binah.ai confirmed to Fox News that its technology is used in the app.

As of Friday evening, at least 10,912 coronavirus cases had been diagnosed in Quebec, including 216 deaths.

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At least 1.68 million coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, at least 491,358 of which are in the U.S. The disease has accounted for at least 102,026 deaths around the world, including at least 16,686 people in the U.S.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers