According to a study published by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), more than 2.5 million people in the U.S. develop pressure ulcers each year. Pressure ulcers — also called bedsores — occur often with patients in hospitals but can trouble people anywhere who are immobile: typically confined to a bed or wheelchair. Pressure ulcers can be extremely painful, can often result in prolonged hospital stays, and can increase patient fatality rates. The ARHQ estimated the cost of pressure ulcers in hospitals from $9.1 to 11.6 billion per year.

In early 2015, we wrote about researchers at the University of California Berkeley who were developing an electronic sensor in an intelligent bandage that detected bedsores. Leaf Healthcare developed the Leaf wearable to prevent bedsores by monitoring patient movements. 

Pittsburgh-based Rubitection‘s Rubitect Assessment System consists of a hand held probe and a software platform developed to monitor and detect incremental changes in skin health. The platform is designed for use in hospitals, nursing homes, or patient homes. The system includes remote patient monitoring (RPM) and telehealth features. The platform analyzes data from the probe. The system’s can predict the risk of pressure ulcers, evaluate the progression of healing or degradation, and recommend customized care. The Rubitect system requires minimal training, according to Rubitection, and is easy and safe to use on any site on the body.

When a caregiver places the Rubitect probe on the patient’s skin, the device senses signs of inflammation (typically redness). The results display on the device and on a mobile app. The Rubitect Assessment System stores and analyzes the skin data which also can be transmitted Via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to the patient’s doctor with the telehealth feature. The Rubitect System is not yet available for sale, but the company is currently recruiting beta testers and partners. According to Rubitection, the platform is in pre-FDA submission stage. The company aims to make the system available both through medical professionals and over-the-counter without a prescription.

Technology that can improve early detection of pressure ulcers is welcome at any time. If the Rubitect Assessment System is as easy to use and as accurate as the company claims, the RPM-aspect is especially important during the pandemic.