Last summer, we wrote about the HealthPatch from Vital Connect. I got a chance to meet representatives from the company and see the product firsthand at the ShowStoppers press event at CES 2015. HealthPatch MD is a wearable sensor package that is not aimed at consumers, but rather at healthcare and medical organizations. It is designed to monitor a patient’s vital signs wirelessly over extended periods of time, both in a clinical setting and at home.
The device has been approved by the FDA for eight different metrics: single-lead ECG, heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, skin temperature, activity (including step count), posture, and even fall detection. According to the company, this is the first device cleared for fall detection, which can be a critical event for elderly patients. The HealthPatch MD has two components. The disposable patch has a single-use adhesive that sticks to the patient’s skin. The reusable sensor module can run for up to three days on a single charge. It communicates wirelessly using a Bluetooth LE connection to connect with a smartphone or other device, which then forwards the data to the company’s VitalCloud service for analysis and monitoring. The device can also store data for later syncing if it is out of range.
These devices provide far more information than simply taking a patient’s vital signs every few hours (or days). This added detail can be very helpful to companies conducting drug trials.. Hospitals and healthcare systems will also find this capability useful as they work to reduce the number discharged patients who are later readmitted. Remote monitoring of the patients after they have gone home can help identify complications — such as fever — so that they can be treated before it turns into a bigger problem.