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Monitoring vital signs using patch technology

Project Lead
David Jayne, Clinical Director, NIHR Colorectal Therapies Healthcare Technology Co-operative

The technology

The SensiumVitals® system, developed by medical technology company, Sensium Healthcare Ltd, consists of a wireless patch  that is worn on the patient’s chest and monitors  heart rate, respiration rate and temperature. It collects data continuously and  sends it wirelessly to a desktop computer, phone or tablet every two minutes, alerting clinicians to significant changes in a patient’s vital signs.

The system is designed to address the challenge of monitoring patients in general medical and surgical wards. In these environments, patients’ vital signs might only be monitored every four to eight hours, so any deterioration in their condition could become serious before it is detected. By improving the response time, the Sensium system could improve outcomes for patients, as well as reduce treatment costs.

Patients are free to walk about, helping them to become mobile soon after surgery, which has been proven to reduce their recovery time. By reducing the overall length of stay in hospital, the technology could reduce care costs further, as well as freeing up resources such as hospital beds.

Our role

Sensium approached the NIHR Colorectal Therapies HTC to see if the technology could be evaluated for use in patients recovering from colorectal surgery, who are typically at very high risk of complications such as infection.

A small-scale pilot study, led by Miss Candice Downey, NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow in General Surgery, was carried out at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust over 12 months.  This showed promising results and led to a second phase, funded by the Health Foundation, which is currently underway.  The results of the initial study also enabled Sensium to carry out important adjustments to the system.

Next steps

A third study, also in Leeds and involving the HTC, has been funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). It will include 120 patients in a feasibility randomised controlled trial to formally evaluate the technology, and will also include a qualitative investigation into the usability of the system for both clinicians and patients.