For years, skilled nursing providers have struggled to get telehealth services covered and often dragged their feet to adopt tech-based solutions because of costs.

The coronavirus may finally shift more operators into high gear. Following the extensive use of telemonitoring and related tools in China and other countries hit by the virus earlier, many companies are pushing nursing homes to reconsider their stance on expensive, remote solutions.

RYK Solutions’ TelemetRYK is offering long-term care facilities an “immediate and coordinated adoption strategy” that includes biosensors and paired tablets to track cardiac and respiratory vital signs. The technology requires no extensive onboarding and comes with a tutorial. 

The use of biosensors and remote patient monitoring by China to contain COVID-19 was the subject of a recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Telemedicine “allows patients to be efficiently screened, is both patient-centered and conducive to self-quarantine, and it protects patients, clinicians, and the community from exposure. It can allow physicians and patients to communicate 24/7, using smartphones or webcam-enabled computers,” wrote authors Judd E. Hollander, M.D., and Brendan G. Carr, M.D. “Payment and regulatory structures, state licensing, credentialing across hospitals, and program implementation all take time to work through, but health systems that have already invested in telemedicine are well positioned to ensure that patients with Covid-19 receive the care they need. In this instance, it may be a virtually perfect solution.

EarlySense, a technology already installed in more than 40,000 patient beds in hospitals and post-acute care facilities, is in play in Israel as cases climb there.

EarlySense actively monitors cardiac and respiratory cycles and notifies the care team of clinical changes which may be detected hours before an event becomes critical.

Sheba Medical Center, the Middle East’s largest, is using it to help protect staff while monitoring isolated patients suspected of coronavirus exposure.

“We are doing our utmost to provide patients with quality care and comfort while minimizing the danger COVID-19 poses to our health practitioners and to the public,” said Eyal Zimlichman, M.D., chief medical officer and chief innovation officer at Sheba Medical Center. “We are grateful to EarlySense for answering an open call from our ARC innovation center for technologies and  providing its contact-free patient monitoring system. Together with additional protocols, we are well-prepared to care for our isolated COVID-19 patients.”

As a contact-free monitoring solution that is placed under a mattress, EarlySense has no leads or other wearable devices to adjust or to touch the patient’s body.

“As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, health facilities are challenged to effectively care for patients while also keeping staff safe from exposure,” said Matt Johnson, EarlySense CEO. “Contact-free continuous monitoring addresses this balance, providing clinical staff with a full picture of patient health while effectively minimizing the need to enter isolated areas. We are prepared to help hospitals and skilled nursing facilities replicate what we’ve done with Sheba, for the care and safety of both patients and staff.”

Meanwhile, WISER Systems, a developer of ultra-wideband wireless location and tracking systems, is offering to track real-time movements of medical staff and patients to stem the spread of infection.

Built on WISER’s Locator system, WISER’s healthcare solution addresses this issue. it delivers precise real-time positioning, detailed location histories, and virtual geofences for use in healthcare applications.

Administrators and infection preventionists can use this system to track perimeter adherence, objects or people moving through decontamination protocols, or proximity interactions between medical staff, patients, visitors and medical implements likely to be contaminated.

WISER first tested this solution for an application tracking C. diff in a large research hospital in California.