It took two weeks for Iceland-based Sidekick to tailor their digital therapeutics service to the needs of those infected with the coronavirus in Iceland, RÚV reports. The company’s new app allows healthcare professionals to track patients’ health remotely.
400-600 phone calls
Every day, the staff of the COVID ward at the National University Hospital of Iceland monitors the health of individuals infected with the disease by making on average 400-600 phone calls. Given the strain that COVID-19 has placed on the hospital, doctor Tryggvi Þorgeirsson, CEO of the Iceland-based company Sidekick, had the idea of adapting Sidekick’s digital therapeutics platform to the current crisis.
In an interview with RÚV, Tryggvi 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.”
As noted on Sidekick’s website, the platform was initially created to “remotely support people with a variety of chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases.”
A welcome tool
Speaking to RÚV, Ragnar Freyr Ingvarsson, Chief Physician of the COVID-19 ward at the National University Hospital of Iceland, welcomed the initiative: “We really liked the possibilities that the app presented.”
In light of this reception, Tryggvi and his colleagues at Sidekick rolled up their sleeves and created a new version of the app specially designed for COVID patients. “Fast forward two weeks, and we’ve got this app, this telehealth tool, which we are beginning to introduce. It allows us to treat more patients than we would be able to otherwise,” Ragnar Freyr stated.
Anyone infected with the disease in Iceland is granted access to the platform and can record the state of their health daily. According to Ragnar, doctors can monitor the development of a patient’s illness more closely with the aid of the app’s algorithm:
“Every time that you provide the app with an update, we weigh the information and can flag symptoms. The algorithm analyses when your symptoms worsen and the app notifies us so that we can intervene.”
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.
For further information on Sidekick’s COVID-19 response, the company has published this video.