BACKGROUND IMAGE: stock.adobe.com
AlacrityCare, using connected health devices from VivaLnk, is developing a product that records a patient's vital...
information and allows clinicians to monitor oncology patients at home. The goal is to help lower hospitalization rates among cancer patients.
AlacrityCare CEO Shawn Zhou said roughly 20 patients are using the product in a feasibility trial. The product, a tablet device, syncs with two VivaLnk sensors, Fever Scout and ECG Recorder.
Zhou said along with syncing to the sensors and recording information, patients are able to report additional side effects, symptoms and other relevant activities they might experience throughout the day on the tablet, which runs a dedicated AlacrityCare system. The short-term goal, Zhou said, is to be able to predict ahead of time when a patient's condition begins to deteriorate. The long-term goal, he said, is to reduce hospitalizations.
"There's an extremely high number of hospitalizations among cancer patients who undergo treatment and there's a belief among the medical community that a significant percentage of those patients, of those hospitalizations, could be prevented with better monitoring and notifications," Zhou said.
Using connected health devices to gather data
Zhou said the organization worked with VivaLnk's developer program to use remote patient monitoring sensors as a way to gather data and maintain a connection between patients and clinicians. VivaLnk currently offers three wearable RPM devices: Fever Scout, Vital Scout and ECG Recorder. The three sensors are medical-grade wireless soft patches that are rechargeable and reusable and they can be worn continuously.
Zhou said AlacrityCare is using the Fever Scout sensor, which monitors body temperature, because it's common for cancer patients to have fevers or infections that may spike fevers. AlacrityCare is also using the ECG Recorder, which records the heart's electrical activity, to detect variable heart conditions and respiration rates.
"Being able to see ECG signals and extract heart rate and respiration rates, heart rate variability, those tend to be leading indicators of a decline in health conditions," Zhou said.
In addition to monitoring health risks such as a fever, Zhou said the product is being designed to predict ahead of time if a patient seems to be heading toward a deteriorating state. In the current trial period, Zhou said AlacrityCare has observed early warning signs up to 17 hours ahead of when a patient potentially needed to be hospitalized or receive another form of intervention.
Zhou said the feasibility trial aims to demonstrate patient acceptance of the system and ensure "everyone understands and is comfortable with how things work" before moving on to further stages of development.
Connecting patients to providers
Zhou said the company aims to "be able to provide clinicians and care providers with a predictive analytics system by which they can monitor and be alerted to their patients' conditions when they're at home and recovering from their treatments."
Shawn ZhouCEO, AlacrityCare
"Obviously the sensors are critical in being able to provide the vital sign information that they need," Zhou said. "Having these sensors capture real-time information about patients is a critical, missing component of patient care. It's been a missing thing for cancer; it's been a missing thing for a lot of other conditions out there, so we're trying to fill that gap with the help of VivaLnk solutions."
Zhou said the company's goal in using the VivaLnk-connected health devices is to give patients "better peace of mind" while recovering at home by being able to monitor their vitals and communicate with their clinicians about the data.
VivaLnk CEO Jiang Li said while there are currently only three sensors in VivaLnk's developer program, other sensors are being developed with the goal of "being able to cover all human vitals in our sensor portfolio."
"We want to allow doctors to fully understand what's going on with the patients' bodies remotely and assist the doctor to be able to make an assessment about what's happening with the patient," Li said.