Medical staff in PPE with patient in hospital bed

Rapid innovation to manage COVID-19 patients in hospital

  • Research

With COVID-19 seeing huge volumes of patients hospitalised and placed in intensive care, healthcare providers have been forced not only to oversee the treatment of thousands of critically ill patients, but also to cope with the resulting strain on staff and resources.

It was against this backdrop during the first wave of COVID-19 infections in Ireland when Professor Richard Costello, Professor of Medicine at RCSI and Respiratory Medicine Consultant at Beaumont Hospital, quickly concluded that new technology supports would be required to optimise care of COVID-19 patients.

Professor Costello assembled a multi-disciplinary team including colleagues in UCD and S3 Connected Health to develop an easy-to-use, web-based application.

Together, they developed Enodatis for COVID-19: a clinical support tool that helps healthcare professionals in hospitals to quickly triage and assess COVID-19 patients with a simple application on their smartphones.

The team developed an assessment score, now known as the COVID Critical Care Index (CCCI), to map disease progression and identify those patients most at risk of ICU admission. Within two weeks, the tool was developed and deployed in Beaumont Hospital, with special permission from the Health Products Regulatory Authority.

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Endodatis for COVID-19 is primarily designed to help specialist respiratory clinicians identify and triage the patients most in need of their attention. It also guides non-respiratory clinicians in the delivery of respiratory care with appropriate data and recommendations to support clinical decisions. The tool provides senior respiratory team leaders with instant oversight of the condition of patients in their care. This helps them to treat patients and optimise and forecast resource requirements, including staff and equipment.

The tool is available for use in Irish hospitals with over 4,000 patients registered on the system. It was CE marked and registered as a Class I Medical Device in the EU in May 2020, just seven weeks after the project commenced.

By empowering clinicians to more accurately stratify patients and predict outcomes, the technology helps ensure that valuable and finite resources such as specialist respiratory clinicians, ICU beds and ventilators are utilised optimally, and deployed to treat the patients with the greatest need.

Enodatis for COVID-19 has been recognised at a number of national and international award ceremonies in recognition of its unique model of engagement. Innovative, truly collaborative work practices were deployed and regulatory hurdles overcome at unprecedented speed to generate a novel clinical support tool that had a tangible positive impact on Ireland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team was recognised with the Irish MedTech Association’s eHealth Innovation of the Year Award. It was also a finalist in the KTI COVID-19 Response Impact Award, and the 2021 Medical Design Excellence Awards’ ‘Digital Health Products and Mobile Medical Apps’ category. In March 2021, Professor Costello was awarded the RCSI Clinician Innovation Award in recognition of this collaborative project.