World Patient Safety Day 2020 – How to Monitor Lung Patients Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

September 17th is World Patient Safety Day, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO). This year, the theme of the day is health worker safety: a reminder that a safe working environment for health workers is also vital for ensuring patient safety.

The coronavirus pandemic challenges also safety: health workers face not only physical and mental challenges but also the risk of actually getting infected. That’s why the European Respiratory Society (ERS), for example, recommends lung function tests not be taken at clinics during the pandemic. Patients with symptoms of the coronavirus disease should not be tested at all due to the risk of aerosols spreading and thus increasing the infection risk for the health workers as well as the patients.

ERS also recommends that routine lung function tests should be postponed to be done later, after the pandemic has settled. Patients who have had the coronavirus disease also should not be tested for at least 30 days post infection. For chronic lung patients, this is rather inconvenient because conditions like asthma and COPD require regular monitoring and a good treatment balance is also important for reducing the risk of severe coronavirus disease. What to do?

Improved and cost-efficient care digitally

When the patients stay home due to the infection risk and healthcare overload, working practices for remote care are especially important. Digital tools can thus improve patient care during the exceptional times.

Spirometry testing is now possible to arrange even at home, with a clinical-grade hand-held mobile spirometer such as KAMU Spiro. The spirometer is easy to use and automatically detects the quality of the performance, giving feedback to guide the patient towards a better technique and more reliable results. The results will be synchronized into KAMU’s self-management application, which also works for tracking the use of medication, symptoms and their strength as well as external triggers. With reports generated from the patient-provided data, possible exacerbation can be detected at an early stage.

Using a personal spirometer for lung function testing ensures safety for both the patient and the health worker. In addition, it enables high-quality, cost-efficient telehealth consultations beyond plain video visits. Read more about KAMU’s services for healthcare providers here.