Software can now identify patients likely to require ventilator support in an intensive care unit (ICU) and referral in time to make necessary arrangements before an emergency sets in.
The software, called COVID Severity Score (CSS), consists of an algorithm that measures a set of parameters. It rates each against a pre-set dynamic algorithm, multiple times for each patient, and allocates a COVID score mapped in a graphical pattern.
The technology is now being used in three community COVID care centres in Kolkata city in West Bengal, including a 100-bed government-mandated COVID care centre.
Sudden ICU and other emergency requirements during the pandemic have been a challenge for hospitals to manage. Timely information about such situations would help manage the health crisis better, said a statement from the Ministry of Science and Technology on Saturday.
The software was developed by the Kolkata-based Foundation for Innovations in Health, with support from the Indian Department of Science and Technology. Researchers at the elite Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati also collaborated on the project, which received inputs from the University of Edinburgh's Dr Kevin Dhaliwal and the World Health Organisation's Dr Sayantan Bandopadhyay.
Frontline health workers have been trained to record all the parameters in a tablet computer that has the software installed on it.
The COVID Severity Score is regularly monitored multiple times by "remote" specialist doctors, which has reduced the consultation time per patient and also their travel requirements. The software can help early identification of patients who are unlikely to require critical care support, thus releasing more hospital beds into circulation.
It will also assist in providing monitored medical support to those patients who cannot afford treatment or cannot isolate at home due to poor housing conditions.