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Israel has rapidly marshalled the resources of state-owned companies and relevant government departments – including the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (MAFAT) – to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Witin this context, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Microsoft and the Soroka Medical Center have collaborated to develop a supervision system that makes it possible to collect data on ventilated COVID-19 patients in a single location, providing updated, comprehensive information on patient status while minimising the exposure of medical teams to infection.

The system integrates data from all systems and sensors, performing data cutting and extraction to  monitor measures, identify trends and generate early warnings using artificial intelligence measures. The system makes it possible to streamline processes, learn and produce data, which is then made available for various needs to the medical staff in the control room - a kind of ‘cockpit’ from which remote doctors’ rounds, regular patient management, task management in the ICU and device management can be conducted.

Data sharing provides access to all data from multiple sources, using the various resources available inside and outside of Soroka. The data is secured in accordance with most stringent standards of medical data protection.

The characteristics of the system were defined and determined in preliminary meetings between the team of developers and staff at Soroka. The system was demonstrated to Dr Shlomi Codish, Director General of Soroka Medical Center; Yarden Nevo, Associate Director General of Soroka; Eran Barabi, Director of the Computing and IT Unit; and Prof Yaniv Almog, Head of the Internal Medicine ICU for COVID-19 patients.

The system was developed on Microsoft's AZURE platform with the support of Microsoft in Israel, using Azure Data Explorer for real-time data ingestion and data analytics services to analyse and display patient data and video streaming services to visually display patients.

The development makes it possible to supervise a large number of patients simultaneously, as millions of events per second can be transferred and displayed.

"When treating COVID-19 patients, maximum protection of the medical staff is required. One of the most significant challenges we face in treating these patients is the need to minimize physical contact between healthcare providers and patients. We must move to maximum use of remote means of treatment […] The digital means, the remote viewing of monitors, respirators, infusion pumps, and other devices connected to the patient, enable us to maintain maximum distance and ensure maximum protection for medical staff,Dr Codish commented.

"The great advantage of the system that was developed is its ability to simulate the routine situation in which I enter the room, see the patient, and collect data from all the devices around him. This is an important advantage that will allow us to cope safely and comprehensively with patient care management even in the era of COVID-19 […] I see benefits and the potential for widespread use of the system in the future as well. By means of its early warning capability and its ability to collect large amounts of patient data at early stages of the disease, we can produce a system that warns us of possible deterioration in a patient’s condition, so that we can respond earlier and possibly prevent it," added Prof Almog.

Yoav Turgeman, Executive Vice President of IAI and CEO of Elta, stated "IAI has joined the fight against the coronavirus, and in addition to its ongoing business operations, in recent weeks has developed numerous technologies that assist medical teams and patients in hospitals. Elta brings to Soroka Medical Center [its] knowledge and experience from the worlds of intelligence, cyber, radar, and artificial intelligence; the Aviation Division of IAI brings its knowledge of supervision and control systems and data collection from the world of aviation, and together with Microsoft, we combine technologies for the monitoring of patient measures, department management, and device control, all without the need for human intervention. We will continue to support the national effort to find effective and innovative solutions. And together we will win."

A key benefit of the ‘Cockpit’ solution is the ability to monitor several patients in parallel. (Image via IAI)

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