During the COVID-19 pandemic, patients’ fears of getting infected in health care settings pushed many to use telehealth from the comfort of their own homes. That has come with some upsides. As telehealth has become more common, many providers and patients alike have appreciated the ease and convenience of doctors’ appointments from home, and it’s helped patients who have struggled to get access to healthcare—either because they live far from their provider, or due to a health condition that makes mobility difficult.
But remote appointments have made certain kinds of care and monitoring more difficult. Without touching a patient, for example, checking vital signs is more challenging.
Companies who exhibited their inventions at the 2022 tech convention CES are trying to fill that void. Their innovations are providing novel ways for patients to connect with health care providers while also gathering new sources of information about patient health. These data have the potential to give health care providers a more complete picture of their patient—and offer more personalized, and potentially better, care. Here are a few of the notable innovations at CES 2022 aiming to make telehealth more useful.
Abbott’s NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic
Abbott’s NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic app gives patients a platform where they can conduct video chats with their doctors and access treatments remotely. While a patient sits in their living room, their clinician can connect to their implanted medical device via WiFi and remotely conduct treatments for chronic pain and movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease, including spinal column stimulation, dorsal root ganglion therapy and deep brain stimulation therapy. The patient can also take their therapy into their own hands and access prescribed stimulation settings on their smartphone. The Virtual Clinic received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in March.
During Abbott’s demonstration of the tool at CES, Dr. Fiona Gupta, director of the Movement Disorders Outreach Program at Mount Sinai Health System and an assistant professor of neurology, said one of the advantages of the tool is that she can see how her patients are moving around the spaces where they’ll be the most: their own home. “They can show me how they are playing the piano, how they interact with their pets, and how they navigate their kitchens,” Gupta said. “This gives me the opportunity to personalize their deep brain stimulation and help them continue to do the things they love to do.”
EarlySense’s InSight at Home
Many new tools connecting patients with their health care providers require patients to interact with a device, but EarlySense InSight at Home only asks them to sleep in their own bed. The sensor, which is placed under a person’s mattress, collects data overnight about breathing patterns, heart rate and body movements, and flags issues like heart rate instability or respiratory rate depression. The sensor then uses algorithms and AI modeling to detect shifts in a patient’s health and uploads data into the Early Sense cloud, which can be integrated into patient care systems or dashboards. It’s expected to be broadly available during the second half of 2022.
Jasper Health digital oncology platform
Undergoing cancer treatment may never be easy, but the Jasper digital oncology platform aims to make it more organized. It enables patients to track their care regimen—by recording appointments, medications and symptoms—and connects them to support, including experts who can answer patients’ questions. Jasper can also connect patients to clinical care and case management by linking to biometric monitoring devices.
BioIntelliSense’s BioSticker and BioButton
Some wearable devices are now not only able to record patients’ vital signs but also to transmit them straight to their doctors. Two of the new tools are the BioSticker and BioButton, produced by the company BioIntelliSense. The disposable, wearable devices can record information like skin temperature, respiratory rate and body position. The devices have been utilized during the COVID-19 pandemic; for instance, when University of Colorado Health first distributed Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine to health care workers, it used the BioButton to track patients’ vital signs to detect adverse reactions. The BioSticker is FDA approved.
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Contributor: Tara Law