In these times of pandemic, the demand for remote patient monitoring devices has been particularly stimulated. The need to monitor our heart rate, breathing rate and body temperature has become indispensable. Alcimed looks back on 3 medical devices unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which took place virtually last January. So should we follow or not?
Nearly a year after the start of the pandemic and with COVID-19 symptoms not always easy to detect, connected health is more than ever in the news. Even if a smartphone will not be able to replace a doctor, new technologies have enabled considerable progress in remote patient monitoring of vital parameters.
In the range of tech gadgets presented at the CES, several body data sensors, in different forms, have come to the forefront this year.
Among these medical devices, three in particular caught our attention. While some are already available on the market, others are still under development. We take stock of a small selection of these devices for the future of remote patient monitoring.
1. The BioIntelliSense patch BioButton™
The health monitoring and clinical intelligence company BioIntelliSense has developed a small portable medical device called BioButton™. This patch of about 3 centimetres in diameter sticks to the skin on the chest and allows a permanent remote patient monitoring of the state of health. The sensor enables continuous monitoring of body temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate at rest to enable early detection of undesirable signs. The multi-parameter technology employed even allows sleep phases to be detected!
This device is also useful for the detection of symptoms such as those of COVID-19. Its commercial launch, combined with vaccination monitoring, seems to be “timely to meet the growing challenge of safe return to work, school, travel, conferences and entertainment,” said James Mault, MD, CEO of BioIntelliSense. It is already being used to monitor the symptoms of COVID-19 patients or reactions of vaccinated patients at several U.S. research centres and hospitals. The FDA has also given its approval for home use by individuals.
BioButton™ won the CES 2021 Innovation awards!
2. The Breathings Bulo Inhaler
Developed by three former Samsung engineers, Bulo is the first inhaler that allows anyone to accurately measure their lung capacity and thus estimate the state of health of their lungs. Its name means “don’t get old” in Korean, and its appearance is similar to the inhalers used by asthma sufferers. It is simple to use, as you simply inhale and then exhale directly into the device for 6 seconds. Measurements of age, capacity and lung strength are then available on a mobile application. Depending on the results displayed, the application offers breathing exercises tailored to the user to help improve the health of the lungs.
This device can detect or monitor lungs that could be damaged by smoking, pollution or even COVID-19, even if the extent of the after-effects is unknown. It can also be useful for sportsmen and women and musicians who wish to assess their lung capacity.
At the CSE, Bulo was awarded an innovation prize in the “health and well-being” category.
3. The HealthyU device by HD Medical
HD Medical, a specialist in digital health solutions, is offering a new HelthyU™ device integrating several sub-modules and enabling systematic remote patient monitoring of numerous cardiac parameters. The device includes a seven-channel ECG, a temperature sensor, a pulse oximeter, microphones to record heart and lung sounds, a heart rate monitor (with breath analysis) and respiratory monitor, and a blood pressure trend sensor (without cuff). Simply hold the device against your chest and place your thumb and forefinger on the front sensors to record various vital parameters.
This data can then be shared with healthcare professionals via HD technology Steth™ (intelligent stethoscope), developed by HD Medical, and approved by the FDA in July 2020 for the electronic stethoscope, phonocardiograph and electrocardiograph.
HealthyU™ is currently intended for investigational use only, and is expected to be commercially available in the United States by the third quarter of 2021, subject to FDA approval.
Even if these devices for remote patient monitoring seem relatively technical, the demand expected from individuals seems significant, particularly because of their ease of use, the simplicity of reading the results and sharing them with health professionals. According to the medical world, e-health is proving to be a significant potential benefit for public health. Today, doctors still play an active role in the patient’s care pathway, but patients are gaining more and more autonomy in monitoring their health status thanks to connected objects and applications.
About the authors
Alice, Consultant and Christelle, Project Manager in Alcimed’s Healthcare team in France
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