As companies, cities and communities are re-opening, it is critical that they do so in a manner that ensures the safety of their employees, students, customers and/or visitors.
In May, Fitbit announced the launch of a COVID-19 study aimed at building an algorithm that detects COVID-19 before symptoms start. In just over two months, more than 100,000 Fitbit users across the US and Canada enrolled, with more than 1,000 positive cases of the virus reported.
According to the study, breathing rate, resting heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV) are all useful metrics for indicating the onset of illness and are best tracked at night, when the body is at rest. Their research demonstrates that HRV, which is the beat-to-beat variation of the heart, often decreases in people who are exhibiting symptoms of illness (but not only COVID19 of course), while resting heart rate and breathing rate are often elevated. In some cases, those metrics begin to signal changes close to a week before a person self-reports any symptoms.
The study is interesting however it ignores other meaningful datasets that Fitbit is still unable to collect.
As an example, according to recent studies, in COVID19 patients “Silent hypoxia” happens when people are unaware that they are being deprived of oxygen. As a result, patients may not seek medical treatment that they need urgently enough. Instead, they arrive at the hospital in worse shape than they thought.
How do you measure blood oxygenation? A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in our blood. It does so by sending infrared light into capillaries in the finger, toe, or earlobe to measure how much light is reflected off the gases in the blood. However, there are now new and more convenient devices that can measure blood oxygenation.
Why measuring your blood oxygen matters? According to the article Early Detection of Silent Hypoxia in Covid-19 Pneumonia Using Smartphone Pulse Oximetry published by the NIH:
“Sr. Richard Levitan pointed out that unlike normal pneumonia, in which patients will feel chest pain and significant breathing difficulties, initially COVID-19 pneumonia causes oxygen deprivation that is difficult to detect since the patients do not experience any noticeable breathing difficulties. The ability to detect this silent form of hypoxia in COVID-19 patients before they begin to experience shortness of breath is critical for preventing the pneumonia from progressing to a dangerous level.”
In response to suggestions of widespread monitoring for silent hypoxia, American Lung Association Chief Medical Officer Albert Rizzo, M.D., issued the following statement:
“In patients with silent hypoxia, the amount of oxygen carried in our blood, otherwise known as blood oxygen level, is lower than expected compared to the other vital signs. Silent hypoxia is not usually an early symptom to occur in COVID-19 patients. They frequently arrive at the emergency room for other reasons, such as muscle aches, fatigue, fever and cough. Typically, when a patient begins to demonstrate silent hypoxia, they already have other COVID-19 symptoms and may be in critical condition.”
In related research published by Academic Emergency Medicine, Novel Use of Home Pulse Oximetry Monitoring in COVID-19 Patients Discharged from the Emergency Department Identifies Need for Hospitalization.
In this research, 50% of patients who ended up hospitalized only returned to the emergency department (ED) when they found low oxygen saturation (SpO2) at home without worsening of symptoms. One third (33%) of non-hospitalized patients stated that they would have returned to the ED if they did not have a pulse oximeter to reassure them at home. Therefore, home SpO2 monitoring reduces unnecessary ED revisits.
Bottom line: Body Temperature, Heart Rate, Sleep Quality are all important predictive analytics metrics in our opinion. Oxygen saturation in healthy patients (SpO2) range from 95-100%, so a healthy individual could use the Sensoria Smart Band to regularly monitor trends on their own measurements conveniently at home and contact their health provider immediately should they notice a visible drop in their oxygen saturation trends. Our new band measures other key vitals as well including body temperature, sleep quality, but also counts steps and records multiple other fun sports and activities.
The new Sensoria Smart Band tracks key vitals such as body temperature, heart rate and blood oxygenation to detect potential Covid-19 key indicators and identify high risk individuals allowing consumers (disconnected scenario) employers and healthcare professionals (cloud connected scenario) to intervene early and apply the appropriate measures to protect them and the rest of the population.
In conclusion, blood oxygenation is just one of the key vitals that you should be monitoring in an effort to stay safe and healthy.
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