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Deep Space Research Benefits Frontline Healthcare Workers During COVID-19

Press Release From: Translational Research Institute for Space Health
Posted: Monday, April 20, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the need for autonomous healthcare as frontline physicians and medical personnel struggle to handle overloaded hospitals and overflow facilities. It is imperative to keep non- emergent patients out of emergency rooms and simultaneously empower physicians to deliver diagnoses via telemedicine.

The Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) at the Baylor College of Medicine supports and funds health research that solves the challenges of human deep space exploration. The Institute gets its funding from NASA's Human Research Program.

Remote diagnostics will be required to care for astronauts in deep space yet it is incredibly relevant to quarantined populations. It assists healthcare providers see all the possible conditions a patient might have. Remote care helps patient get care while still at home.

The VisualDx’s app combines machine learning with clinical data to accurately diagnose a number of medical conditions. The technology has been implemented by tens of thousands of providers and in more than 2,300 hospitals and large clinics globally. In response to emergent needs of the pandemic, the company modified the app to contain the information needed to differentiate between COVID-19, the flu or a common cold.

“Telemedicine is now a requirement if we are to deliver quality care for all patients during this global health crisis,” said Art Papier, VisualDx CEO. “VisualDx is uniquely suited to provide preparedness in critical situations such as COVID-19 and support everyday clinical complaints.”

The VisualDx app requires internet connectivity so TRISH supported transferring the software onto a local computer so it can be used by astronauts on the way to Mars and by healthcare workers in places where internet access is limited.

"Now more than ever, we're seeing how the research we fund to help our astronauts survive deep space missions has immediate impact for all of us on Earth," TRISH Director Dorit Donoviel, Ph.D. explained. “During deep space missions astronauts will need to rely on technology like VisualDx’s app, to self-diagnosis health issues when access to a physician might not be possible.”

VisualDx has COVID-19 resources available to the public on their website.

About The Translational Research Institute for Space Health The Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) leads a national effort in translating cutting-edge terrestrial research into applied risk mitigation strategies for the human exploration of deep space. Founded in 2016, TRISH works in partnership with NASA’s Human Research Program through a cooperative agreement. TRISH is a consortium led by Baylor College of Medicine and includes the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For more information visit bcm.edu/spacehealth.


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