MUHC Researchers Believe they Have Found a Way of Helping COVID-19 Patients at Home


A group of researchers at the MUHC believe they have found a way to use a bilingual mobile application to help COVID-19 patients at home still get the care they need.

Dr. Betrand Lebouche, the principal investigator of the newly conducted study says that most COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms are under stress. He says patients are at home because of the pressure of the pandemic on the health care system.

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The goal of the pilot project is to determine when the COVID-19 patient is at risk using technology.

The Opal app was originally developed in 2014 to help cancer patients access medical information and communicate with health care providers.

The app is used by over 1, 000 oncology patients at MUHC has been selected for adoption during the COVID-19 situation. John Kildea, RI-MUHC scientist and co-creator of the app says that it can help get data from a patient daily.

The app can be downloaded into phones and offer access to a variety of features and resources. The researcher says the easy communication between patients and nurses via the app enables people to get help before it is too late.

The other important aspect of the app is its ability to identify vulnerable patients. This success means that worse patient outcomes could be avoided in the future.

Lebouche says that there have been almost 300, 000 patients in Quebec since the beginning of the pandemic, 95 percent of them remained stacked at home. He believes they can be supported from their homes.

The zoom future in the app also makes it exceptional, patients can make an appointment and ask about troublesome symptoms on their phones. Kildea sees this as an amazing future.

“I really see this as the future of healthcare where patients have access to their data and are empowered with access to data they can share.”

What remains for the researchers is to verify their findings and possibly propose the idea to the health ministry. They hope that the health ministry accepts the proposal as a win-win for the patients’ health and the stretched health care system.

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