A new study documents the success of a home-based health monitoring program helping to track the progress of  COVID-19 patients who test positive for the virus but aren’t sick enough to be hospitalized.

While high-tech remote monitoring may be the wave of the future, the new research suggests that providing patients the option to interact through traditional phone calls may still be necessary to ensure home monitoring programs are accessible to community residents who need them most.

“The home monitoring program has become an incredibly important tool for helping the hospital system respond to the pandemic, including the current surge in cases we’re now experiencing,” says senior author Thomas M. Maddox, professor of medicine at the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis and vice president of digital products and innovation at BJC HealthCare.

Maddox, a cardiologist, also leads the Healthcare Innovation Lab, a joint program between the medical school and the health system.

The program was designed to meet the COVID-19 monitoring preferences of patients from across the St. Louis community and thus avoid the “digital divide” that sometimes plagues electronic health efforts, Maddox says.

“Our study found that both the app-based and phone-based monitoring programs were effective, but that the phone-based program was more attractive and useful to patients of color and patients living in under-resourced neighborhoods.” he says.

Read the full article about telehealth for COVID-19 patients by Gerry Everding at Futurity.