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COVID-19 Home Monitoring Kits Aimed At Lowering Hospitalization Rates

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

As more COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is handing out home monitoring kits to keep patients who are not as sick at home.

The free kits include a pulse oximeter and a thermometer as well as instructions on how you electronically report your medical records.

“It’s like putting a clip,” said Dr. Eric Adkins, professor of emergency medicine and critical care at Wexner Medical Center, of the pulse oximeter. “It’s almost like a clothespin on the end of your finger, but it’s a little bit softer and it will record that oxygen saturation reading through there.”

Adkins thinks self-monitoring is an important tool.

“I think many patients should be able to do this pretty easily,” Adkins said. “I think it can be effective as far as managing some of the surges that we’re seeing.”

Adkins said while Columbus is not seeing a massive surge in COVID-19 patients, more of them are receiving hospital care.

People need to be aware of when to seek medical care, he said.

“I think it’s important to recognize that if you’re having increased respiratory rates,” Adkins said. “If you’re breathing really fast. If you’re feeling dizzier. If you’re feeling more short of breath than usual, you can use things like that pulse oximeter to tell if your oxygen level is running too low.”

Health officials have said the majority of patients who receive the monitoring kits don't return to the E.R. and are not hospitalized.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.