Image courtesy of BioIntelliSense Inc.
BioIntelliSense’s BioSticker wearable sensor for monitoring patient vital signs remotely could prove useful during the COVID-19 pandemic. FDA cleared early this year to continuously monitor a patient’s respiratory rate, heart rate, and skin temperature, BioSticker can now also measure the frequency of a patient's coughing, sneezing, and vomiting, Jim Mault, CEO of BioIntelliSense, told MD+DI. In addition, “the BioIntelliSense Data Service in combination with the FDA-cleared BioSticker remote monitoring device and 5G-enabled BioHub allows for continuous health data for earlier, proactive clinical interventions,” he said.
According to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the hallmark symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath, Mault explained. “These are the signs our BioSticker can monitor,” he said. “A multitude of health systems are asking for initial sets of BioSticker and BioHub for testing.”
Mault emphasized that while the “vast majority of people who get COVID-19 will be fine,” there is “a small number of very high-risk, vulnerable patients.” He describes them as patients who are 70 years and older and also have significant chronic disease, such as heart failure and emphysema. “A lot of these patients will develop pneumonia and end up in the hospital and potentially in the intensive care unit,” he said. He also included organ transplant, chemotherapy, and immunosuppressed patients in the high-risk category.
If these vulnerable patients should become infected with COVID-19 and are in isolation, “these are the ones who are good candidates for remote monitoring to see whether they progress,” he said. “It would be prudent to actively monitor them and keep them from progressing to hospitalization and an intensive care (IC) unit. Remote patient monitoring is well suited to monitoring these patients closely, and if we see that they develop symptoms, virtual care centers can act.”
BioSticker may also help address another potential challenge during the pandemic—overwhelmed hospitals. “The big problem for all our hospitals—they don’t have the capacity for all these incoming patients,” said Mault. COVID-19 “will consume our care areas and our IC units with people who will get hit hard.”
Mault believes that BioSticker could help with early hospital discharge. “If someone does get admitted, we want to get to a point and capability to say—'OK, you’re getting better so let’s put a sticker on you to make sure you do get better and monitor you remotely at home.’ ”
Such early hospital discharges would free up capacity for new admissions, he added. “We can offload patients as they are recovering from COVID-19 and send them home a day or two early with continuous monitoring at home.”
BioSticker and BioHub are designed to be patient friendly, which could help self-isolating and self-quarantining patients apply the technology without going into a doctor’s office, he said. “There are no requirements for a healthcare professional to place BioSticker or train a patient, so it can all be done by the patient,” Mault said. “Our packaging is designed so that the product can be mailed to patients and they can place the sticker as easily as applying a Band-Aid. And BioHub automatically turns on and talks to the sticker.”
Mault said that COVID-19 is forcing health systems to perform remote patient monitoring, which will have tremendous benefits after this pandemic has passed. “Health systems will see there are capabilities to take care of patients,” he said.