Introduction of digital bandage to check vital signs

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Sensium Healthcare has developed a high-tech adhesive patch which is able to monitor the vital signs of patients.

The device resembles a bandage and only weighs half an ounce. It is able to monitor temperature, respiration and heart rate. The patch is attached to the patient’s chest and takes readings every two minutes. The data is transmitted wirelessly to the nurse’s station and a handheld device. According to the company, notifications can be sent to nurses in cases where the readings exceed specific pre-set limits.

The patch is disposable and its battery life is five days which is sufficient for a typical stay in hospital.

The patch has been successfully tested and has been on trial since the end of May at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan.

It has received positive initial reactions in the UK and in excess of 50 patients based at Spire Healthcare’s Montefiore Hospital in Brighton have used them since the end of May. Nurses believe it to be a method of delivering effective care.

The Matron at Montefiore Hospital, Lynette Awdry, said the main benefit of the system is the frequency of the data transmission as it keeps nurses up to date with their patients, which allows them to manage their workload in an effective manner. This gives them time to spend with patients who require more urgent attention, however they know that if there was a sudden change in the vital signs of another patient wearing the patch, they will receive notification and can respond accordingly.

The patch also offers potential for patients to be cared for in their own home, as they could be observed remotely, rather than remaining in a hospital bed.

A consultant in emergency medicine at Leicester Royal Infirmary, Professor Timothy Coats, said that there are limitations with the current model and more information will be added to later models, such as oxygen and blood pressure levels.

Image Credit: Michael Coghlan

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