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AutoTriage - An Open Source Edge Computing Raspberry Pi-based Clinical Screening System

By Chaitra Hegde, Zifan Jiang, Pradyumna Byappanahalli Suresha, Jacob Zelko, Salman Seyedi, Monique A Smith, David W Wright, Rishikesan Kamaleswaran, Matt A. Reyna, Gari D. Clifford

Posted 11 Apr 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.09.20059840

With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare systems all over the world are struggling to manage the massive increase in emergency department (ED) visits. This has put an enormous demand on medical professionals. Increased wait times in the ED increases the risk of infection transmission. In this work we present an open-source, low cost, off-body system to assist in the automatic triage of patients in the ED based on widely available hardware. The system initially focuses on two symptoms of the infection - fever and cyanosis. The use of visible and far-infrared cameras allows for rapid assessment at a 1m distance, thus reducing the load on medical staff and lowering the risk of spreading the infection within hospitals. Its utility can be extended to a general clinical setting in non-emergency times as well to reduce wait time, channel the time and effort of healthcare professionals to more critical tasks and also prioritize severe cases. Our system consists of a Raspberry Pi 4, a Google Coral USB accelerator, a Raspberry Pi Camera v2 and a FLIR Lepton 3.5 Radiometry Long-Wave Infrared Camera with an associated IO module. Algorithms running in real-time detect the presence and body parts of individual(s) in view, and segments out the forehead and lip regions using PoseNet. The temperature of the forehead-eye area is estimated from the infrared camera image and cyanosis is assessed from the image of the lips in the visible spectrum. In our preliminary experiments, an accuracy of $97% was achieved for detecting fever and $77% for the detection of cyanosis, with a sensitivity of 91% and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.91. Heart rate and respiratory effort are also estimated from the visible camera. Although preliminary results are promising, we note that the entire system needs to be optimized before use and assessed for efficacy. The use of low-cost instrumentation will not produce temperature readings and identification of cyanosis that is acceptable in many situations. For this reason, we are releasing the full code stack and system design to allow others to rapidly iterate and improve the system. This may be of particular benefit in low-resource settings, and low-to-middle income countries in particular, which are just beginning to be affected by COVID-19.

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