Proteger+: Altice Labs, Catholic University and JS Clínica Médica together for the safety of patients in the context of COVID-19

18/06/2021     Proteger+ / Altice Labs / Catholic University / JS Clínica Médica / Partnership / SARS-CoV2

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Altice Labs joins two institutions of different natures to improve safety in medical care, ensure remote triage and monitoring of the population and reduce the risk of infection from the SARS-CoV2 virus.

The presentation session of the Proteger+ project took place on the 14th of June, at the Portuguese Catholic University of Viseu.

Altice Labs' partnership with Catholic University and JS Clínica Médica, under the Proteger+ project, funded by Programme 2020 with almost half a million euros, "provides an adequate response to the needs of remote health care and monitoring that already existed and that have increased during this pandemic period", as João Paulo Firmeza, Director of Altice Labs' Digital, Internet and TV Business department, said.

Through this project, infected patients or those at risk of infection may be telemonitored in the comfort of their homes, as well as resort to regular teleconsultations, thus reducing travel to clinics.

In addition to these advantages, the project is planning to conduct a screening in Viseu using saliva, thus avoiding the discomfort generated by the use of the swab in PCR tests. This study will serve to confirm the presence of the virus in suspected cases and also to identify asymptomatic patients who may be infected.

For Marlene Barros, Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Health responsible for the project at Catholic University, "this is a unique opportunity to combine a computer tool for symptom tracking with the most innovative technologies. The use of saliva allows us to obtain molecular data, which will contribute to increase the effectiveness of the computer tool developed. It is the beginning of a new era in which researchers, clinicians and informatics come together to increase the well-being and safety of patients.

This partnership, advanced and advised by Vissaium XXI - Association for the Development of Viseu, also aims to promote the health of the population of this same city that attends the clinics involved. It also explores innovative methodologies that allow reducing the risk of contagion, ensuring the remote monitoring of patients and introducing a more comfortable and equally safe way of testing the population.

Jorge Silva, Clinical Director at JS, considers that "at a time when so many people see their access to healthcare limited, with this initiative we ensure a greater medical follow-up of patients, both Covid positive and non Covid, achieving, simultaneously, a greater capacity to screen patients and, therefore, more security and reduction of the risk of contagion".

The Proteger+ project is an example of success that results from the skills of three different entities. To the knowledge developed by the SalivaTec Lab from Catholic University, we can add the generalist clinical practice of JS Clínica Médica, the specific practice of the University Dental Clinic of the Catholic University and the scientific and technological skills of Altice Labs in several areas, such as telemedicine and the provision of virtual assistants.

In the words of João Paulo Firmeza, from Altice Labs, "Altice Labs' technologies, whether in the area of telemedicine and Assisted Living, or in the area of virtual attendance with artificial intelligence, have demonstrated their maturity and responsiveness in the especially complex Covid context in which we live".

In short, the specific goals of the Proteger+ project are the following:

- Improve triage and provide a more effective response to the attendance of those who resort to the clinics;
- Automate procedures using a Virtual Assistant/BOT specialised in attending and triaging COVID-19 developed by Altice Labs;
- Track the user, inform them of their viral situation and support them in risk management;
- Ensure access to healthcare and medical follow-up for users, even in positive cases of infection;
- Ensure access to teleconsultations whenever necessary and using clinical telemonitoring in situations of higher risk, through Altice Labs' SmartAL product, adapted for COVID-19 care;
- Characterize the population of the Viseu clinics, in terms of SARS-CoV2 infection. To gain knowledge about the regional impact of SARS-CoV2 infection.

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