Supervise Triage & Organize Patients' care with Covid-19
According to scientific reports, the main and most common Covid-19 symptoms are fever and shortness of breath, which directly lead to temperature and blood oxygen saturation monitoring as well as assessing respiratory system functionality. Our team has designed and developed a wrist-worn wearable device that continuously monitoring vitals signs related to the aforementioned conditions, in order to prioritize and triage Covid-19 patients.
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In order to limit the spread of Covid-19 it is essential that certain measures are needed to alleviate the burden from public health structures, including reference hospitals. The most significant one is to reduce Emergency Department overcrowding, minimizing waiting time of suspicious incidents and increase in-hospital safety of healthcare staff. Fever and shortness of breath are considered as two of the main symptoms of patients infected by Covid-19. Both symptoms can be objectively tracked by measuring vital signs, such as body temperature, breathing rate and/or oxygen saturation levels. Continuous monitoring of those vitals is not currently considered as an option offered by EDs at the moment, unless a patient is admitted to the ICU. Instead sporadic checks may occur depending on the availability of human resources (usually limited and under huge pressure). In addition, commercial medical devices might be used, however they are quite expensive and not easily portable, while more than one device is needed to provide the full spectrum of required vital signs.
From the above, it is quite apparent that there is a need for easy-to-use, unobtrusive and low-cost devices that may be used at scale from ED units to perform efficient triage and in-hospital monitoring of their visitors.
S.T.O.P. Covid-19 team has designed and developed a wrist-wearable device, which is using advanced digital signal processing algorithms on PPG (Photoplethysmogram) to continuously extract heart rate, blood oxygen saturation levels and body temperature. The wearable device has been already interconnected with Vida24 platform owned by Vidavo, which is an integrated care solution, already in use by thousands of EU citizens. Vida24 is a certified CE0653 Class IIa medical software according to the EU Medical Devices Regulation (MDR 2017/745) and GPDR compliant. The wrist-wearable device supports common communication protocols, such as BLE and Wi-Fi, thus being able to transfer processed data to other third-party systems and apps through an API.
Our intention is to connect the wearable device with a user-friendly mobile app for healthcare workers in the EDs, through Vida24 platform back-end. This mobile app will enable the continuous monitoring of vital signs and receipt of real-time notifications in case of patient adverse events (i.e. abnormal values or trends of one or more vital signs for a specific time window). Finally, it will allow the real-time tracking of patients within the ED spaces of interest using a real-time location system (RTLS) based on Wi-Fi fingerprinting. The main scenario of using our solution is the EDs of reference hospitals for Covid-19, enabling continuous monitoring of vital signs and the real-time notification of ED staff in case of health deterioration. Real-time detection of health deterioration will enable highlighting the most critical cases, thus reducing clinical decision-making and patient waiting time and allowing for more efficient triage. Finally, recorded vital signs might act as a complementary source of information to the results of the clinical examination to make a final diagnosis of patients.
We are expecting that our solution will increase the pool of tools that medical experts can use and depend on, in order to enhance and digitize their means against Covid-19 outbreak. Additionally, S.T.O.P. Covid-19 will produce a new generation of usable ICT tool enriched with a set of innovative and added value features which can transform the way that medical experts assess Covid-19 patients. More specifically, we believe that our approach is going to fill the current gap in the ICT market related to triage Covid-19 incidents, by including not only more novel and automated ways for assessment but simultaneously by providing the professionals with the means for continuous monitoring of valuable vital signs without the use of expensive and bulky equipment.
More specifically these are the main impacts we anticipate for our solution to have in clinical practice:
- Reduce waiting times of Covid-19 patients in the ED
- Minimize burden of healthcare staff from the need of frequently monitor patients waiting in the ED
- Shorten clinical decision-making times by highligthing urgent Covid-19 cases
- Easy-to-use and easy-to-scale across several healthcare settings
Triage Use Case
So far, the wearable device has been finalized in terms of hardware and industrial designing. In our pitch presentation you may see the final product design and casing. Additionally, digital signal processing algorithms of PPG signal have been developed in order to extract heart rate, blood oxygen saturation levels and temperature. A service for uploading those measurements through WiFi network is already in place as well. Moreover, the network infrastructure is used to implement the real-time location system. Wearable device autonomous function may last up to ten (10) hours of continuous data communication, while current hardware version supports in addition inductive charging. Applying specific vital signs thresholds in order to send data only when exceeding them, will extend battery life more than 24 hours. Size of the device is 55mm X 46mm X 17mm and weights 90g, including battery and wrist strap.
During the weekend...
During the hackathon we make great progress on optimizing the triage use case that the wearable is going to be used. Through brainstoriming activities and mentor advices we managed to go a step further our solution by enhacing it with new futures, continue with development and plan for the next steps. The overall progress we made can be summirazed on the following bullet points:
- Design physician's mobile application mockups
- Design and build a webpage with further information about S.T.O.P. Covid-19
- Introduce new feature: Real Time Location System based on WiFi network
- Creation of video pitch
- Creation of a prelimenary business exploitation plan
Below are presented a few mockups. The rest are uploaded with the rest project data.
Business exploitation & next steps
The immediate actions is team are going to take are the following:
- Mobile application development and interaction with the wearable device
- Embedded implementation of breathing rate algorithm. The breathing rate algorithm is already validated in simulation eviroment based on static PPG dataset.
- Wearable device CE certification. All individual hardware components including sensor, microprocessor and external casing are already CE certified, which in fact enables overall shorter certification time for the device.
Vidavo is structured in order to focus into capitalizing the research experience and exploit research outcomes turning them into successful commercial products. The past 17 years, Vidavo have consistently invested in scientifically proved, market focused products. Market access is a complex and protracted process that biotech companies have to go through in order to ensure that their products, medical devices and digital health services can be made available in as many countries as possible and most importantly that these can be reimbursed and available to patients who need them. To this end, we are going to depend on Vidavo's Business Development department in order to exploit the solution through their valuable business channels. It is obvious that the target customers are Public hospitals and clinics accepting Covid-19 patients and applying triage procedures. Furthermore, our solution can be used for triage and patient prioritization in any Emergency department given the fact that the monitored vital signs are valueble indications for a wider variety of medical conditions than Covid-19. Finally, our wearable device is designed in a way that can be integrated to other systems in order third party vendors to design and develop solutions based on the wearable device.
Our team consists of members from Vidavo S.A. and Lab of Medical Psysics, School of Medicine, AUTH including clinical and embedded systems engineers and full stack developers.