PRP030: At home with Opal: Engaging COVID-19 patients and healthcare professionals to pilot a mobile follow-up application
David Lessard, PhD; Nadine Kronfli; Adriana Rodriguez Cruz, PhD, BSc; Marie-Pascale Pomey; Bertrand Lebouché, MD, PhD; Tarek Hijal, MD; Yinjia Cheng; Yuanchao MA, MSc; Serge Vicente, MSc; Caroline Côté; Kedar K.V. Mate, PhD, MSc; Laura Sang, MD, MSc; John Kildea, PhD; Kim Engler, PhD; Joseph Cox, MD, MSc; Alexandra de Pokomandy, MD, MSc; Jamil Asselah, MD; Ines Colmegna; Marie-Josée Brouillette, MD
Context: In Quebec, almost 95% of SARS-CoV-2 positive testers self-isolate at home, not knowing if the disease will become severe. Patients’ needs and symptoms, and their clinical progression, vary from one patient to another. Opal is a smartphone application and patient portal. To test its use for COVID-19 outbreaks or future pandemics, a feasibility pilot study was quickly implemented at the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada. 50 COVID-19 patients used Opal during self-isolation to access self-care information, tools to report vital signs and symptoms to HCP, and adapted care if need be. Engaging stakeholders, including patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs), is key to designing innovative, patient-oriented interventions. Objective: To reflect with stakeholders on the potential benefits, risks, and challenges associated with Opal and present their recommendations. Design: Deliberative and participatory process with stakeholders of the feasibility study for the remote follow-up of COVID-19 with Opal, including patients and HCPs. Intervention: Researchers organized deliberative meetings with two nurses involved in the remote monitoring of COVID-19 and an advisory committee of three people who contracted COVID-19, some of whom are HCPs. Nurses and patients made recommendations concerning the medical follow-up, the content to be included in Opal, the study protocol, and research instruments, as well as the interpretation of results. Anticipated Results: Stakeholders identified expected benefits of Opal, such as the easy access to reliable practical information and the connection between with HCPs for patients. They also made recommendations to reduce risks and challenges in the research process. To reduce perceived risks of patient/HCP miscommunication and patients not presenting for emergency services when needed, they recommended a greater involvement of HCPs in the follow-up. They also suggested adjustments in self-monitoring tools to address challenges in the identification of sample selection biases and the balancing of simplicity, transferability, and comprehensiveness in data collection. Discussion: Accountability to stakeholders’ needs and concerns allowed to address limits and strengths of the study, thus better defining its significance, and rapidly adapt practices to transforming social and medical relationships increasingly relying on mobile technologies, which are essential to better understand this emerging illness.