Inspira Health uses COVID crisis to inspire innovation

One of the challenges with COVID-19 is the range of the virus’ presentations, making it hard to know when to go to the doctor and when to stay home. But don’t worry, there’s now an app for that.

“They’re then prompted to enter information, answer some questions that then we can see on our side and assist them in monitoring those symptoms or lack of symptoms and directing them to the best place to get care,” said Inspira Health Chief Medical Information Officer Gregory Herman.

The app developed by Inspira health will give guidance based on a patient’s self-reported symptoms using the guidelines provided by the CDC.

“Cough or shortness of breath, the very next part of the algorithm is you should see a doctor, and the options are given to call Inspira Health, present to the emergency department,” Herman said. “You know, we want to keep people at home as much as possible and get them to a doctor when they need to see a doctor.”

The program allows patients to determine their own pace of check-ins, whether daily or every few days.

“Most of the people that are, that we have had engaged, have opted for that daily reminder. So we kind of look at them as our worried well, and they really want to stay in touch with the latest and get information about their health,” said Inspira Health clinical informatics specialist Dawn Davis.

“Putting patients in charge of their health is vital in this pandemic,” Herman said.

The app was developed by the Get Well Network well before the pandemic hit. Inspira recognized that the technology could be helpful now and partnered with the company in April. Herman calls it an example of the pandemic being a double-edged sword.

“Because it came on so quickly, it did force our hand in certain areas of medicine, including technology, and the advancing and usage of technology. And the patient’s comfort with technology advanced so quickly,” he said.

Another innovation is a partnership between Rowan University and Inspira has increased safety for emergency room doctors.

“There are two armholes, where as a provider, I can put my hands in to hold both the laryngoscope and the endotracheal tube in order to put the breathing tube for the patients airway,” said Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill emergency room attending physician Dr. Katie Schultes.

The plastic box was first developed by a Taiwanese doctor to protect medical personnel when they needed to intubate a patient or insert a breathing tube into an airway. When a physician at Inspira saw its effectiveness, he asked the engineering team at Rowan University to 3D print some for the emergency department.

“Definitely having that extra barrier makes everybody in the room feel more secure and safe with the procedure,” Schultes said.

Even though they’re fully equipped with personal protective equipment, the box nearly eliminates the spread of the virus when a patient coughs, and it can be thoroughly cleaned between uses. It’s just two more ways innovation is changing health care — a silver lining in this challenging time.