FISHERS, Ind. – Mayo Clinic is collaborating with medical device company Recovery Force to develop wearable digital health garments. The Recovery Force platform embeds shape-changing fibers into garments and footwear to create lightweight wearable active compressions, providing users with improved circulation and the mobility necessary for a quicker recovery. The collaboration provides Mayo Clinic access to Recovery Force’s intellectual property, while providing Recovery Force with access to Mayo Clinic’s research, development and organizational resources. The two organizations will work together on developing future products, integrating the company’s technology to optimize clinical workflow and developing best practices for improved patient outcomes. “We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the progressive thinking team at Mayo Clinic on the development, assessment, and validation of our technology,” said Matthew Wyatt, founder and CEO of Recovery Force, in a statement.
LOS ANGELES — Proof is lacking that wearable biosensors are improving patient outcomes like blood pressure and weight, according to a study by researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
The study was published in a recent issue of the new Nature Partner Journal, npj Digital Medicine.
“As of now, we don’t have enough evidence that they consistently change clinical outcomes in a meaningful way,” said Dr. Brennan Spiegel, senior author of the study and director of health services research at Cedars-Sinai, said in a statement. “But that doesn’t mean they can’t.”
The study found that remote patient monitoring with biosensors had no statistically significant impact on any of six clinical outcomes studied: body mass index, weight, waist circumference, body fat percentage, systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The analysis found that these devices did show early promise in improving outcomes for certain conditions, including obstructive pulmonary disease, Parkinson’s disease, hypertension and low back pain.
“There is a big difference between using these sensors to track sleep for self-betterment and using them make medical decisions,” said Michelle Keller, co-author and a clinical research specialist at the Cedars-Sinai Center for Outcomes Research and Education, in a statement.
Investigators did a statistical analysis and in-depth literature review of 27 studies from 13 countries published between January 2000 and October 2016. Each study examined the effects of remote patient monitoring using wearable biosensors including physical activity trackers, blood pressure monitors, electrocardiograms, electronic weight scales, accelerometers and pulse oximeters. The interventions targeted patients who were overweight or suffering from heart disease, lung disease, chronic pain, stroke, or Parkinson’s.
A statistical analysis of the relevant literature revealed that remote patient monitoring resulted in no significant impact on any of the reported clinical outcomes.
MINNETONKA, Minn. – UnitedHealthcare and Qualcomm Life have integrated wearable devices from Samsung and Garmin into UnitedHealthcare Motion, a national wellness program that provides eligible plan participants access to activity trackers and enables them to earn more than $1,000 per year by meeting certain daily walking goals. The Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro and Gear Sport, and the Garmin vívosmart 3, have been integrated with Qualcomm Life’s 2net platform and customized to enable users to see on their wrists how they are tracking against the program’s three daily F.I.T. goals. Among eligible employees, 66% registered their devices, with more than two-thirds of those staying active with the program for more than one year. “We are expanding the portfolio of available devices to make UnitedHealthcare Motion more flexible, convenient and consumer friendly,” said Dr. Sam Ho, chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare, in a statement. Qualcomm Life’s 2net platform enables the bring-your-own-device model to allow the integration of more activity trackers. “This program highlights the value of combing UnitedHealthcare’s pro-consumer benefit designs with Qualcomm Life’s expertise in providing seamless connectivity across a growing ecosystem of wearable devices to help people pursue their health and wellness goals,” said Dr. James Mault, vice president and chief medical officer of Qualcomm Life, in a statement.
SAN FRANCISCO and ANTWERP, Belgium – Wearable health startup Byteflies has launched a kit of wearable sensors for pharmaceutical companies, startups and research groups involved in clinical studies or the development of their own wearable health applications. The Byteflies Exploration Kit features a set of five programmable, high-precision sensors that continuously and remotely monitor any vital sign, sending the data gathered to Byteflies’ data processing platform. “The unprecedented level of detail offered by the Byteflies Exploration Kit forms the basis for a more powerful and personalized patient care,” said Hans Danneels, CEO and co-founder of Byteflies, in a statement. The sensors are programmable to specific use cases and can measure vital signs ranging from blood flow to electro-dermal activity, electrocardiogram, motion, respiration and electromyogram. “We seek to transform the entire health care system through our technology, leading to wearables with tangible medical relevance,” said Danneels.
REDMOND, Wash. – Sensoria, a provider of smart garments and wearable technologies, has partnered with Genesis Rehab Services for a new post-acute care digital innovation-focused effort.
Sensoria Health will leverage its intellectual property and Genesis Rehab Services’ clinical knowledge to form a new company, “Sensoria Health powered by Genesis Rehab Services.” Specifically, the new company will leverage Sensoria’s technology platform, Sensoria Core.
“We all recognize the need for smart wearable and telehealth solutions that are geared toward the elderly and see the health care vertical as very promising,” said Davide Vigano, co-founder and CEO of Sensoria, in a statement. “We are thrilled to partner with Genesis Rehab Services, a leader in this industry, to provide the new company guidance and clinical validation to our solutions.”
Genesis Rehab Services is a subsidiary of Genesis Healthcare, providing physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, respiratory therapy and wellness services, primarily for older adults
The goal of Sensoria Health is to accelerate the development of rehab, fall prevention and detection predictive analytics solutions, said Vigano.
“GRS is excited to start building with Sensoria a new digital innovation engine to serve the needs of this large and underserved patient population,” said Sarah Thomas, head of global innovation for Genesis Rehab Services.
Through the partnership, Sensoria Health aims to enable higher quality of care, improved clinical and operational outcomes in the post-acute care environment, as well as a broader reach to the home and community with a direct-to-consumer model, Vigano said.
WATERTOWN, Mass. – Wearable sensor developer BioSensics has received $2.5 million in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health to develop a wearable monitor for patients with Huntington’s disease.
“HD patients often have to travel long distances to be seen by knowledgeable HD clinicians,” said Dr. George Yohrling, senior director of mission and scientific affairs of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, in a statement. “The development and eventual integration of wearable biosensors into a HD clinic would allow for remote monitoring of a patient’s motor symptoms and could alleviate this unnecessary burden on the entire HD family.”
The device, called HDWear, is powered by BioSensics’ PAMSys sensor technology and enables continuous remote monitoring of Huntington’s disease motor symptoms.
The two-year project will build on pilot work performed in collaboration with the University of Rochester Medical Center and Teva Pharmaceuticals, and published in the Journal of Huntington’s Disease in 2016. The study demonstrated a wearable sensor solution for remotely monitoring the severity of upper extremity chorea in Huntington’s disease.
HDWear will provide real-time, remote access to quantitative motor symptom scores like the Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale, previously only possible through in-clinic assessments.
As a part of the project, BioSensics and the University of Rochester Medical Center will conduct a clinical study to evaluate HDWear for detecting pharmacological response to anti-chorea medication or subtle motor abnormalities in the premanifest stage of Huntington’s disease.
“We are excited to be working with BioSensics on evaluating wearable sensors to obtain objective, high frequency, and potentially sensitive assessments of individuals with Huntington’s disease, both inside and outside the clinic,” said Dr. Ray Dorsey, director of the Center for Health & Technology at University of Rochester Medical Center, in a statement.
“We look forward to creating a comprehensive telecare solution for Huntington’s disease to facilitate clinical research and new drug development, and ultimately to improve and revolutionize HD care and care coordination,” said Dr. Joseph Gwin, vice president of research and development at BioSensics.
By Brian VanHook
It’s a common misconception that individuals over the age of 60 are less interested in technology than those of other generations. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, America’s senior population is engaging with new technology every day and companies around the globe are increasingly enthusiastic about their presence in the marketplace, including the home health industry.
According to a Pew Research Center report, the number of people age 65 and older is projected to triple by mid-century, from 531 million in 2010 to 1.5 billion in 2050. A separate Pew study found that seniors own smart phones and regularly spend time online and engage with social media. Of those seniors who are online, three quarters of them go online daily—sometimes several times a day.
Do these statistics paint a picture of a stereotypical frail granny hobbling past a computer with minimal interest? No. Instead, we see a readily engaged senior interested in connecting to society through technology. There’s a real and valid reason why home health companies are innovating new products, reimagining exiting ones and creating unique services to help seniors age well.
Home health devices, for example, are incorporating wearable technology that uses voice activation to assist with senior safety. When individuals wearing the technology fall below a certain height, the device registers it as a fall and a live operator speaks directly to the individual. Other companies have developed automated, verbal reminders for medications. What’s more is that doctors around the nation are encouraging patients to use technology through online portals. A member of my own family was able to take a trip shortly after experiencing a heart attack all because of a WiFi device communicating with his heart. There’s no need to stay in town when a doctor can monitor a patient remotely, right? A deep dive into a senior’s involvement with technology reveals that, to them, technology equals freedom.
But what tech-based solutions exist when an individual does become home-bound or requires some level of assistance in the home? As we watch America’s massive Baby Boomer population age, a large percentage wants to retain that freedom. They hope to age in place and want—or need—to gain control of their own health care.
People, like technology, are ever-changing—always presenting new challenges, exposing their glitches and reinventing what once was the standard.
Brian VanHook is the co-founder and CEO of Home Care Assist, a compatibility matching service for in-home care. The online service connects care seekers with in-home based on personality and skill sets for mutual compatibility.
NEW YORK – Pfizer has launched a video game and wearable to help people living with hemophilia.
“These new digital innovations can be integrated into everyday routines to help empower people with hemophilia to learn about and track different aspects relevant to their disease so that they can have informed conversations with their health care providers,” said Dr. Kevin W. Williams, chief medical officer, Pfizer Rare Disease, in a statement.
Hemocraft is a modification of the Minecraft video game created in partnership with the Entrepreneurial Game Studio at Drexel University and representatives from the hemophilia community. The game aims to help individuals with hemophilia ages 8-16 learn the importance of integrating treatment into their routine in an educational and fun gaming environment.
Hemocraft players learn how to stick to their treatment plan, stay prepared and understand how treatment works. Throughout the game, players are challenged to monitor factor levels and self-infuse to help control bleeding, if needed.
“We are excited to see fun and educational tools that help people with a bleeding disorder, but equally as important, their friends and family to better understand the concept of factor levels in being able to stay active and stay in the game,” said Kate Nammacher, senior director of education, National Hemophilia Foundation, in a statement.
The HemMobile Striiv wearable offers an easy-to-use, comprehensive tool to track activity. The device, which can be worn on the wrist, includes features such as daily activity tracking and heart rate monitoring. The wristband integrates with Pfizer’s existing HemMobile app, which allows users to log bleeds and infusions, monitor their factor supply and set appointment reminders.
The data captured from the device generate personalized reports to provide a user’s health care team with insights that can help guide the discussion between a physician and their patient.
The HemMobile Striiv Wearable is available at no charge to anyone diagnosed with hemophilia in the U.S., regardless of what treatment they use.
“Ongoing innovation, coupled with our research, and support programs, continue to allow Pfizer to positively impact patients’ lives and pioneer a new era in hemophilia—today, and in the future,” said Williams.
SAN FRANCISCO – Wearable health startup Byteflies is partnering with biopharmaceutical company UCB to monitor seizures experienced by people with epilepsy. As part of a consortium, which includes UCB, the University of Leuven in Belgium, the Leuven University Hospital and product developer PiliPili, Byteflies is providing its SensorDot customizable wearable to monitor seizures in a test group of patients. “In partnership with Byteflies, UCB is excited to be at the forefront of next generation wearables, collaborating to evaluate the benefits of measuring patient symptoms and experiences which, in the future, could support individually tailored care approaches” said Erik Janssen, vice president and head of innovative solutions, Neurology Patient Value Unit, at UCB, in a statement. Byteflies recently raised $600,000 in capital from a group of private investors and plans to launch a wearable health toolkit later this year.
‘Wearables could make treatment significantly easier and less stigmatic for patients’
SAN FRANCISCO –WT/Wearables Technologies Group has been watching the growth of wearable devices and their advance into the health care space. Christian Stammel, founder and CEO, believes wearables are much more than fitness trackers—they are essential to the digitization of health care. Here are some of his thoughts on the transformative power of wearable devices.
HHTN: How are wearable devices impacting the delivery of health care?
Stammel: They are impacting new treatment methods and are actually creating new methods of diagnosis monitoring and medication across all aspects of medical care—from prevention and inpatient/outpatient care to rehabilitation. The spectrum ranges from intelligent band-aids for measuring blood sugar levels to patches that deliver the individually required quantity of drugs to intelligent pills that are able to monitor the correct drug administration. Wearables have become an everyday item and are available for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and asthma, and make life much easier for patients and provide physicians with a lot more information about their conditions than conventional methods.
HHTN: What makes wearable technology so transformative?
Stammel: The monitoring of vital data is central to helping people who are suffering from chronic and acute illnesses. This is where wearables can deliver optimum solutions for monitoring almost any type of complaint at home or in clinics. Precisely tailored wearables are also available for specific diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, asthma, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, and are becoming new options for monitoring newborns and pregnant women.
HHTN: Is the growth of the wearables market keeping pace with the booming growth of other health care technologies?
Stammel: There is certainly an indication of the continuously growing demand for wearables. More than 150 million wearable products were sold across the world last year, making it a market that will have doubled by 2020. Initial forecasts estimate that 400 million wearables will be sold in 2020, and a good 50% of this figure will be medical wearables. The market for smart patches, in particular, will probably make up a very high share of this market.
HHTN: What do you expect to see in the future for wearable technology?
Stammel: Advancing miniaturization technology is going to deliver solutions for medical monitoring that are increasingly small and more pleasant for patients to use. Medical wearables are being increasingly developed in the form of smart patches that will enable patients to use long-term monitoring products and even receive medication in such a way that is almost invisible to others. This means that wearables could make treatment significantly easier and less stigmatic for patients.