University of Alberta develops virtual clinic to address COVID-19 pandemic

Scientists at the University of Alberta have developed a tool to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MedROAD is a virtual clinic that uses artificial intelligence and cloud-based computing to assess patients in their own homes.

“With the current COVID-19 pandemic, distance between patients and healthcare providers is not only desired but essential to mitigate the spread of the virus and to flatten the curve,” Pierre Boulanger, a leader in the development of the tool said.

Patients can download an app that collects data from portable medical-grade devices and sends it to a cloud-based server. Doctors can then access the information and can evaluate patients without ever coming into contact with them.

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“Physicians can monitor their patients through video conferencing and receive daily check-ins for COVID-19 positive patients in isolation,” Boulanger said.

“The aggregated real-time data allows officials to make informed decisions at critical times to respond to the rapidly spreading virus.”

The virtual tool was developed out of a special laboratory at the university, under the leadership of Boulanger, a professor in the department of computing science. The project has been brought to the Naiad Lab, a spinoff technology company.

Now, the research team is working closely with a handful of clinics and one long-term care facility in Edmonton to bring MedROAD to patients at risk of contracting the virus.

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