Project Summary

PCORI has identified COVID-19 as an important research topic. Patients, clinicians, and others want to learn: What are effective ways to prevent or reduce the impact of COVID-19, especially on vulnerable populations and the healthcare workforce? To help answer this question, PCORI launched an initiative in 2020 to Strengthen Understanding of COVID-19 Impact and Inform Healthcare Responses. The initiative funded this research project and others.

This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.

What is the research about?

COVID-19 is a viral disease that can be mild or severe. About 90 percent of adults with COVID-19 don’t need hospital care. Most people can stay home and monitor their symptoms. But it can be hard for patients to know when to seek hospital care if their symptoms get worse.

One way to support patients with COVID-19 at home is through remote home monitoring using phone calls, video visits, or text messaging. Patients can also use a pulse oximeter. This device clips onto the patient’s fingertip and can detect if their oxygen levels are too low. It can help patients know if they should go to the hospital.

In this study, the research team is comparing how well patients with COVID-19 recover at home with or without remote home monitoring. The team is also testing remote home monitoring with and without a pulse oximeter. In addition, the team is looking at how well these home monitoring approaches help Black and Latino patients. Black and Latino patients have higher rates of serious health problems and death from COVID-19 than White patients.

Who can this research help?

Results may help doctors when considering ways to monitor patients with COVID-19 at home.

What is the research team doing?

The study has three parts. The first part is using data from electronic health records, or EHRs, for 11,903 people diagnosed with COVID-19 who do and don’t receive remote home monitoring. More than half of the people included are Black or Latino. In remote home monitoring, patients receive a text message twice a day asking if they have shortness of breath. If a patient’s responses suggest the need for follow-up care, a nurse contacts the patient by phone or video within one hour. Doctors then conduct phone or video visits with the patient if needed.

In the second part, the research team is enrolling 1,233 people with COVID-19 who are receiving care at a health system in Philadelphia. All patients are receiving usual care and remote home monitoring. Usual care includes phone or video calls or emergency room visits as needed. The team is assigning patients by chance to receive or not receive a pulse oximeter.

In both part 1 and part 2, the research team is looking at EHRs to see if patients go to the hospital or die in the 30 days after testing positive for COVID-19. The team is exploring whether these outcomes differ for Black and Latino patients.

In the third part, the research team is interviewing doctors and patients. The team wants to learn how they use remote home monitoring.

Community members, people who have had COVID-19, and experts in racial equity are helping to design the study.

Research methods at a glance

Design Elements Description
Design Part 1. Observational (retrospective) cohort study
Part 2. Randomized controlled trial
Part 3. Mixed-methods analysis
Population Part 1. 11,903 adults over age 17 who have tested positive for COVID-19
Part 2. 1,233 adults over age 17 who have tested positive for COVID-19
Part 3. About 30 doctors and 35 patients 
Interventions/
Comparators
Part 1. Remote home monitoring versus no remote home monitoring
Part 2. Usual care with remote home monitoring versus usual care with remote home monitoring plus fingertip pulse oximeter
Outcomes Days alive, days out of hospital
Timeframe 30-day follow-up

Project Information

Mucio Delgado, MD, MS
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
$2,466,047
Evaluating the Effectiveness and Implementation of an Automated Remote Monitoring Program for COVID-19 Patients

Key Dates

December 2023
2020

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Populations

PCORI is interested in research that seeks to better understand how different clinical and health system options work for different people. These populations are frequently studied in our portfolio or identified as being of interest by our stakeholders.

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Last updated: January 12, 2022