Sensyne launches ‘good neighbour’ app to monitor COVID-19


UK digital health company Sensyne has launched a free coronavirus health monitor that people can use to monitor their own symptoms, as well as those of family members, loved ones or neighbours.

CVm-Health is a web-based app that has been designed so that it can include the most vulnerable in society, including people with limited or no access to the Internet or who are not “tech-savvy”, says Oxford-based Sensyne.

It allows registered users to record and manage their vital signs, symptoms and medications from home, and also to support their neighbours and community by monitoring symptoms on their behalf.

Users volunteer to help look after others remotely, making health information on those they help easier to review and assess whether help is needed by the healthcare services.

“Before now, the digitally disconnected were excluded from similar online tools,” said a spokesperson for the company, who suggested other proposed tools from NHSX and big tech companies are more “big brother” than “good neighbour”.

“This app aims to be more inclusive and will be continually updated with new features based on the community’s needs,” she added.

That includes a digital diary for historical tracking of symptoms, sharing symptoms with family, carers and health professionals, and supporting the NHS in medical research into COVID-19 via anonymised data.

Sensyne says Office of National Statistics (ONS) data shows that more than 11 million people in the UK lack the basic digital skills needed to use the internet effectively, while nearly 5 million never go online at all.

Those most likely to lack internet access include the elderly, people on low incomes or without a job, those in social housing, with disabilities, living in rural areas or whose first language is not English.

Sensyne has already launched other digital patient monitoring systems that are used by health services, including GDm-Health for diabetic pregnant women and the vital signs monitoring system SEND, and its technology is also being used in large-scale studies including one in heart failure.

The company recently made its GDm-Health app available for free to all NHS Trusts in the UK for one year, to assist with monitoring and managing this high-risk group during the COVID-19 pandemic, and relieve pressure on the NHS.

The company says it is initially rolling out the CVm-Health app in the UK but intends to make it available in other countries in due course.

The app is “not just for those with COVID-19, but for everyone – sick or well, young or old – to help the public and the NHS understand and mitigate the effects of this virus,” said Sensyne’s chief executive Lord Drayson.

“Current social distancing and self-isolation advice is limiting people’s ability to care for the ones we love. While physical isolation during the crisis makes sense, social isolation doesn’t,” he added.