Insight Health: Breathe into your Phone update

Submitted on Monday, 14/02/2022

Back in 2020 Louise and Gráinne spoke to Dr Emer Doheny about Breathe into your Phone – a new way to monitor Covid-19 patients at home. This was one of Insight’s earliest Covid related projects. Led by Professor Madeleine Lowery and Dr Emer Doheny, it was awarded €143,685 through the COVID-19 Rapid Response Research and Innovation Programme in 2020.

Dr Doheny is a senior research fellow with Insight, and the Neuromuscular Systems Research group. Her research focuses on applying signal processing and machine learning methods to sensor data for sleep, respiration, and activity monitoring, with applications including monitoring chronic respiratory and neurodegenerative diseases.

You can listen to the interview below:

Breathe into your Phone is a research project that aims to support people who were hospitalised with Covid and need to self monitor their condition from home when they are discharged. For this cohort, it is important to know if and when their symptoms get worse and they may need to get to hospital.

This project at UCD aimed to develop a system where COVID-19 patients who are isolating at home can use the microphone on their smartphone to record their breathing. This information will then be available to doctors, who can assess the patient’s condition. The project will also develop software to analyse the breathing pattern and automatically predict if the patient is at risk of clinical deterioration.

By providing a method to remotely and accurately monitor breathing rate in self-isolating COVID-19 patients and a tool to predict clinical decline, the research will improve patient care, reduce hospital visits (and the associated infection risk) and allow more effective allocation of hospital resources.