Wearables and smart clothing are having a ‘moment’ in the tracking of COVID symptoms and spread. After TTA noted Nanowear’s clinical trial with two major New York metro health systems last week, both POLITICO and Mobihealthnews catalogued additional trials and uses of innovative clothing and devices for detection:
- Apple watches and Fitbits
- Oura rings (!) by the NBA to detect temperature and heart rate–at about $300 and up
- Northwestern University and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab have developed a sensor that adheres in the visible dip at the base of the throat to monitor respiratory symptoms
- Tufts University’s sweat sensor embedded in clothing, to analyze elements in perspiration such as electrolytes (sodium and ammonium ions), metabolites (lactate) and acidity (pH). NPJ Flexible Electronics
- Paris-based Chronolife, which debuted the Nexkin smart T-shirt in December. It monitors heart rate, abdominal and thoracic breathing, body temperature, physical activity, and pulmonary impedance.
Part of the problem of wearable adoption is that without a specific ‘reason why’, wearables haven’t been all that compelling for the mainstream market beyond the trendy and pricey Apple Watch. Wearables have tried corporate wellness programs that almost give away the devices with the promise of lowering health costs long term. Venture funding (see the POLITICO chart) has been flowing into these companies for a decade. But in the eyes of many, wearables are a solution without a clear and compelling problem. COVID may resolve that.
[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Northwestern-stroke-patch.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Is stroke avoidable?
We know it is an expensive medical event at $20-23,000 for hospitalization alone (NIH)
, which does not count rehabilitation or the devastation to individuals and their families, including loss of ability and work. NHS England
is testing two devices, the Kardia Mobile
and Watch BP
, with an eye to preventing stroke in those vulnerable to it. 6,000 devices are being distributed to GP practices in England in a program through 15 NHS and care innovation bodies known as Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs)
. The Alivecor
‘s Kardia Mobile is a smartphone add-on clip that captures a medical-grade ECG in 30 seconds, stores, and sends readings to physicians. The application to stroke is primarily in atrial fibrillation (AF) and irregular heart rhythms, which according to statistics, more than 420,000 people across England have. Watch BP is a blood pressure cuff device which is also equipped with an AF detection system. The goal of the project is to identify 130,000 new cases of AF over two years, to prevent at least 3,650 strokes and potentially save 900 lives. Savings to NHS are being estimated at £81 million annually. Digital Health News
Post-stroke rehabilitation treatment is also being boosted by a new device developed at Northwestern University and being tested at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, a Chicago research hospital. It is a Band-Aid® like device which can be applied to key areas such as the throat (left above, credit AbilityLab), chest, or limbs to send back information to doctors on how a patient in treatment post-discharge, especially at home, progresses. The sensors and platform measure heart activity, muscle movement, sleep quality, swallowing ability, and patterns of speech. Especially revolutionary is the monitoring of speech communication and swallowing, which are often impaired in stroke patients but hard to track once the patient is out of a facility. The team’s research was presented last week at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting. New Atlas. Hat tip to Toni Bunting.