UM researchers develop Covid-19 symptom monitoring system

Friday Apr 24th, 2020
By Rayyan Rafidi

A group of researchers at Universiti Malaya (UM) has developed the Covid-19 Symptom Monitoring System (CoSMoS), which helps to monitor patients with suspected Covid-19 infection.

The Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) is using CoSMoS to monitor suspected Covid-19 cases who are undergoing self-quarantine at home.

The system will soon be ready for use among healthcare workers who have been exposed to Covid-19 patients.

Currently, a large number of healthcare workers are required to monitor quarantined patients by calling them daily or visiting them at home.

With the CoSMoS application, the monitoring process becomes automated. Patients can enter their daily symptoms into the application, which will then be sent to the CoSMoS centralised system at UMMC where doctors can access their information in real time via a dashboard.

Hence, healthcare workers will only need to call 10 per cent of patients who really require care, while others who are well can be monitored by CoSMoS daily.

This will allow for 80 to 90 per cent of healthcare workers capacity to conduct contact tracing and diagnostic testing.

UMMC Covid-19 Taskforce chair and UM Faculty of Medicine dean Professor Datuk Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, who is also an expert in infectious diseases, said: "CoSMoS will change the way we manage patients with suspected Covid-19 who are being monitored at home.

"Currently, the healthcare system is under tremendous pressure. A medical officer spends 10 to 15 minutes every day calling and following-up on a patient for 14 days."

Dr. Adeeba added that there are over 1,000 patients and healthcare workers at UMMC who have been exposed to Covid-19 and require daily follow up.

"This takes up at least 3,500 man-hours. Using CoSMoS, it helps to free up the healthcare workers in UMMC from manually calling patients."

CoSMoS utilises readily available technology to ensure it is affordable and accessible to the majority of the population.
Patients use a Telegram Bot to report their daily symptoms in an interactive manner, thus obviating the need for healthcare workers to call them over the phone.

The bot will remind the patients every morning to report their symptoms, and advise them based on their reported symptoms. CoSMoS also provides a back-end dashboard that will assist healthcare workers in managing the patients.

CoSMoS is currently undergoing pilot testing at UMMC and has obtained ethical approval from the UMMC Medical Research Ethics Committee. All patients using CoSMoS have given consent for their data to be used for clinical monitoring and research.

The system was developed through a close collaboration between clinicians from the UMMC Primary Care Medicine Department and the development team comprising 30 Malaysians currently in various countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, China, and Australia.

All of them are staff, graduates and students of the UM Computer Science and Information Technology Faculty who are either studying or working in the said countries.

UM Computer Science and Information Technology Faculty dean Professor Datin Dr. Sameem Abdul Kareem said: "We have brought together a team of brilliant young Malaysian computer scientists from the faculty to help our frontliners in their time of need.

"The CoSMoS platform is a 100 per cent UM in-house development, leveraging a public messaging engine, artificial intelligence and web technology. The team has transformed what they learnt in UM into a real-world solution within eight days and as the dean, I am very proud of them."