Coronavirus News: Mount Sinai app helps monitor COVID-19 patients at home

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A remote-monitoring platform developed by Mount Sinai Health System is helping healthcare providers check in with coronavirus patients who are recovering at home.

One of them is 34-year-old Roberto Rapalo, who said he will never forget April 1.

"I was having shortness of breath," he said. "I was having trouble breathing. Just getting up from the couch was difficult. Just walking to the bathroom was difficult."

The husband and father of a 2-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 days earlier and thought he was taking a turn for the worse.

"I looked over to my wife, and I was like, 'Baby, I can't do this anymore. I need to go to the hospital,'" he said.

But instead of going to the hospital, he turned to the Precision Recovery app. He'd signed up for the service days earlier through Mount Sinai and began entering his medical information.

Medical professionals had been tracking him for days and offered him access to doctors like Dr. David Putrino.

"Everything is done via video call and through the app," Dr. Putrino said.

The Precision Recovery app was designed to monitor stroke patients, but it was re-tooled as the pandemic spread.

It allows Mount Sinai to monitor 400 to 500 patients daily and can help determine when to end the phone call and call an ambulance.

"When we see shortness of breath, we see blueness around the lips and mouth, when we see unable to complete a sentence because they're so breathless, those are things that are indicative to us that the person needs to be seen at the hospital," Dr. Putrino said.

Despite how badly Rapalo felt at the time, he didn't need hospitalization. And keeping him out of the ER was better in the long run.

"Sending you to the emergency room in this case is not going to get you a bed," Dr. Putrino said. "And it's going to result in an increased viral load."

The app is run by medical professionals who can't be on the front lines because they might be high risk. It gives them a way to support those working in hospitals by helping them keep those who don't serious care out of them.

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