Star Trek science has taken a giant step forward today with the launch of the world’s first plug and play wireless vital signs monitoring system. The Patient Status Engine, from UK company Isansys, combines a range of wireless monitors with computer, smartphone and tablet apps to deliver constant real time monitoring of a patient’s vital signs.
At the heart (!) of the kit is the Lifetouch Sensor, a disposable electronic patch which delivers heart and respiration rate monitoring as well as continual ECG verification. The remainder of the system includes a wireless pulse oximiter and blood pressure monitor, all of which upload live patient data to a secure cloud database for monitoring on demand.
The whole thing comes in an easily portable pack, which can be deployed anywhere there’s a need. The Lifetouch Sensor can continuously broadcast the data for up to 72 hours before needing to be replaced, and the beauty of the system is it can be used to remotely monitor a patient over the Internet, which having to be physically in the same building, or even country.
The developers are hoping that the platform will spur the development of a range of various apps which will tap into the power of remote monitoring, to let medical professionals access detailed information on the state of their patients from moment to moment.
Right now, from where we sit, this looks like the first step towards the development of a real live Tricorder type product, and it’s not hard to imagine a time in the near future where all of this technology will be miniaturized down to a tiny patch which will beam our vital signs to massive remote databases continuously for months, or even years, at a time.
For now it’s still early days, and so there’s still a need for some sort of human interaction, if only to replace the patches. The kit comes complete with several apps out of the box, including patient charting, early warning scores and real-time HRV plots, and there’s an API which will allow for integration into existing hospital information systems or other electronic records in the cloud. Cool stuff.