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Mirage News: Automated Texting System Saved Lives Weekly During First COVID Surge

From Mirage News: A life was saved twice a week by an automated text messaging system during the fraught early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and, overall, the patients who enrolled in that system were 68 percent less likely to die than those not using it. These insights about Penn Medicine’s COVID Watch – a system designed to monitor COVID-19 outpatients using automated texts and then escalate those with concerning conditions to a small team of health care providers – were published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The COVID Watch team plans to see if the approach, which had originally been built off a system for keeping tabs on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients, can be applied to helping people with other conditions manage their health at home. They see the nimble, algorithm-driven system as a lasting technology that will factor heavily into care in the coming years. “Automation isn’t something that will replace human clinical care, but it is something that can extend it,” said David Asch, MD, a co-author and the executive director of the Center for Health Care Innovation. “Without an automated system to help us watch over the thousands of COVID patients in our community, our doctors and nurses would have been stretched even thinner than they were. This is a promising model for the future.” Read the full story at Mirage News. 

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