One California hospital has begun to use wearable remote patient monitoring devices in order to comply with patient safety requirements, according to mobihealthnews.com. The hospital, Chino Valley Medical Center, is relying on a product designed by Leaf Healthcare, known as the Leaf Patient Monitoring system to help reduce the risk of pressure ulcers in bed bound patients.
According to the Leaf Healthcare website, the device is a single use sensor that adheres to a patient’s chest, recognizes when it is attached, and monitors patient movement so that health care providers are alerted when a caregiver assisted turn is necessary. The device is attached to the upper chest, beneath a clavicle or at the sternum and remains fixed due to a “medical grade adhesive.” The sensor remotely provides information about the identity of a patient, when they need to be turned and whether they are in an upright or prone position. The wireless network that the sensors use is based upon a series of Leaf antennas that are plugged into outlets. Leaf Healthcare describes the network as “highly redundant to ensure data integrity.” The product’s user interface can be viewed on desktop computers, tablets or smartphones. The Leaf Healthcare website provides a technical overview of the manner in which the sensor and interface functions.
According to mobihealthnews.com, a recent clinical trial revealed that when the sensor was in use, compliance with hospital turn procedures jumped from 64 percent—the baseline—to 94 percent. The success of the product is significant because ulcers are a painful and costly condition. The U.S. health care system spends $11 billion a year treating ulcers, according to the HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Leaf Healthcare’s own analysis of the cost of ulcers found that the average pressure ulcer costs $8,700 to treat, with stage four pressure ulcers costing as much as $21,400 to treat.
The hospital is currently using the sensors for any patient that scores 18 or lower on the Braden Scale for predicting pressure ulcers. Since receiving 510(k) clearance for the device from the FDA in November 2013, Leaf Healthcare has been running pilot programs with hospitals like Chino Valley and the Boise, Idaho VA Medical Center. Although Leaf Healthcare wasn’t the first to come up with the idea—according to mobihealthnews.com., Bam Laps earned that title with its “smart bed” system in 2012—the mobile sensor promises to be an effective means of limiting the occurrence, pain, and cost of unnecessary pressure ulcers.