What happened in health care technology this week, and why it’s important.
Vivalink announces availability of multi-vital BP patch
As reported in Med-Tech Innovation News, Vivalink, a provider of digital healthcare solutions, has announced the availability of a multi-vital blood pressure patch for remote patient monitoring for commercial research and development. The advanced multimodal continuous signal processing patch uses electrical signal-based technologies to capture ECG traces, heart rate, respiratory rate, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure on a single device. The device is FDA/NMPA cleared for ECG and heart rate, and CE cleared for ECG, heart rate, and respiratory rate. The blood pressure feature is integrated and available for research and development. Weighing 7.5 grams and the size of a small bandage, the reusable and rechargeable wearable patch requires no additional components such as a wristband or wires to capture blood pressure.
Why it’s important – A great addition to the medical sensor market for those organizations implementing remote patient monitoring programs. Designed for remote and ambulatory patient monitoring, such as hypertension diagnosis and management, the patch is a wireless network that automatically captures and sends a continuous stream of data to clinical applications in the cloud.
Graphic of the week – A new health consumer survey focused on organizations with the strongest branding and consumer experience.
Infographic of the week – The number of people with vision loss is growing. Projections show that vision loss will increase by 55%, or 600 million people over the next 30 years. Latest information from The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).
Clinical Trial Focuses on Remote Monitoring of Cancer Patients
Continuing the remote patient monitoring theme, Scott Mace reported on this work at the University of Colorado in his article in Health Leaders. The system is testing the feasibility of remote patient monitoring for the early detection of febrile neutropenia, a common, life-threatening complication of cancer therapy that is typically treated as an oncologic emergency. Ten bone-marrow transplant recipients will initially participate in the trial at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, also known as CU Anschutz. The phased approach, through a series of studies, will scale the trial up over time to 100 participants, overseen by an institutional review board, and will include the use of predictive analytics, telemedicine, portable imaging, and supportive therapies such as antibiotics and hydration via IV.
Why it’s important – Febrile neutropenia leads to significant complications in 25% to 30% of patients and may lead to death in approximately 10% of patients. Time to antibiotic administration has been independently associated with mortality, and each delay in starting antibiotics can increase the risk of 28-day mortality by 18%. Historically, oncologists encouraged patients to buy thermometers and call their oncologist’s office if they feel bad or they notice their temperature going up. The new system represents a different, more personalized approach to detecting early infection.
Compact Wearable “Lab on the Skin” Continuously Monitors Glucose, Alcohol, and Lactate
More reporting on remote, continuous monitoring this week. Imagine being able to measure your blood sugar levels, know if you’ve had too much alcohol to drink, and track your muscle fatigue during a workout, all in a tiny device worn on your skin. Engineers at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have developed a prototype of such a wearable that can continuously monitor several health stats—glucose, alcohol, and lactate levels—simultaneously in real-time. The University reported on this research in an article in SciTech Daily. The wearable consists of a microneedle patch connected to a case of electronics. Different enzymes on the tips of the microneedles react with glucose, alcohol, and lactate in interstitial fluid. These reactions generate small electric currents, which are analyzed by electronic sensors and communicated wirelessly to an app that the researchers developed. The results are displayed in real-time on a smartphone.
Why it’s important – Most commercial health monitors, such as continuous glucose monitors for patients with diabetes, only measure one signal. The problem with that, the researchers said, is that it leaves out information that could help people with diabetes, for example, manage their disease more effectively. Monitoring alcohol levels is useful because drinking alcohol can lower glucose levels. Knowing both levels can help people with diabetes prevent their blood sugar from dropping too low after having a drink. Combining information about lactate, which can be monitored during exercise as a biomarker for muscle fatigue, is also helpful because physical activity influences the body’s ability to regulate glucose. This is very early in the development cycle but holds great promise in advancing continuous monitoring of multiple factors to help understand inter-relationships for chronic disease management.