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Could a Wearable Help Prevent Pressure Injuries?

A study explored the use of a wearable designed to monitor patient position and movement.

Image courtesy of Leaf Healthcare

Researchers at Stanford Health Care looked at whether a wearable patient sensor could improve patient outcomes. Published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, the study, "Effect of a wearable patient sensor on care delivery for preventing pressure injuries in acutely ill adults: A pragmatic randomized clinical trial (LS-HAPI study)," found that patients randomized to be treated by Leaf Healthcare’s sensor were 73% less likely to develop a pressure injury.

Leaf Healthcare’s wearable sensor is worn on the upper torso, and it transmits patient position and orientation information wirelessly through small Leaf antennas plugged into electrical outlets in patient rooms, Annemari Cooley, VP, market development for Leaf Healthcare, told MD+DI. “The sensor detects all patient position changes in bed, in chair, and when ambulating and lets caregivers know via visual cues when a patient has been immobile for too long,” she said.

Such detection and transmission take place “every 10 seconds,” explained Mark Smith, VP, business development. Data on a specific patient’s position, movement, and activity are gathered in a database and displayed on “a dashboard (computer display) at the nurses’ station so they always know remotely what position the patient is in, how long they have been in that position, and if the patient is not moving enough on their own, it visually prompts staff to assist in turning that patient,” he said. “The Leaf sensor also measures the magnitude of a patient turn and the time patients remain off a compressed body side, [both of which] help ensure the proper patient offloading necessary to avoid pressure injuries.”

The system also builds a historical record. “This is electronically measured position and movement data that has never been collected before,” Smith said. “From this data, the Leaf system automatically provides daily reports that measure adherence to patient turning protocols by hospital, nursing unit, and staff shift, and monthly reports that dive deeper into a facility’s patient-turning behavior. Additionally, the ability to run a single-patient report, detailing every movement that patient makes while in the hospital, provides an invaluable tool to help with root-cause analysis of any immobility-related condition.”

Cooley added that “a full record of patient turn/mobility history can be attached to the electronic medical record.”

The Stanford Health Care study involved more than 1200 patients and over 100,000 hours of data. Patients were randomized to either a treatment or control group, and in the treatment group the Leaf sensor was used to help ensure that patients were repositioned with sufficient frequency and quality, Leaf reported in a news release. “This large, randomized, controlled trial confirms what has been demonstrated in smaller studies and is consistent with real-world customer experience," stated Leaf Healthcare CEO and co-founder Barrett Larson in the release. "This study is an important step towards redefining the standard of care for pressure injury prevention."

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At the upcoming Medical Design & Manufacturing West 2018 conference, don't miss this compelling session:

"Design for Demand" The Wearable Artifical Kidney Story," by Jonathan Himmelfarb, MD (Director, Kidney Research Institute), on Tuesday, February 6, at 9:30am - 10:00am. Dr.  Himmelfarb will explain the "creation of a wearable alternative to conventional dialysis treatment and the explosion of interest and support." The session is part of the conference track on Product Development Best Practices. Click here to learn more about the show and view the full conference schedule.


Daphne Allen

Daphne Allen is editor-in-chief of MD+DI. She previously served as executive editor of Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News, which serves as the pharmaceutical and medical device channel of Packaging Digest. Daphne has covered medical device manufacturing, packaging, labeling, and regulatory issues as well as pharmaceutical packaging and labeling for more than 20 years. She is also a member of the Institute of Packaging Professionals's Medical Device Packaging Technical Committee. Follow her on Twitter at @daphneallen.


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