Partners HealthCare tests Raiing's iThermonitor in small pilot

By Jonah Comstock
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iThermonitor Raiing's smartphone-connected thermometer, the FDA-cleared iThermonitor

Beijing-based Raiing is working with Boston's Partners HealthCare to pilot Raiing's smartphone-connected wireless thermometer, iThermonitor, at Massachusetts General Hospital. Partners researchers led by Dr. Kamal Jethwani will test the temperature monitoring device on 25 children and adolescents with leukemia.

"Fever and the onset of infection is a huge problem in our treatment of leukemia," Jethwani told MobiHealthNews. "We put our kids on immunosuppressants all the time and because of that their likelihood of getting infections is much higher, and as soon as they get infections we need to stop their therapy. What we’re trying to do is two things. One, we’re trying to get a better handle on early detection of onset of infection, so if there is something, we catch it really early by catching the spike in temperature really early. And the second thing is we want to see if this information is going to be useful in clinical decision making."

Rather than having a control group, researchers will equip all 25 patients with Raiing's continuously monitoring thermometer, then compare the outcomes -- like incidence of infection and percentage of readmissions -- with similar historical data from the EHR.

Raiing received FDA clearance back in November 2012, while still in stealth mode. Since then, the company has begun gearing up for a commercial launch, advertising iThermometer on its website with an eye on concerned parents, who could use the device to continually monitor the body temperature of their infants. A second use case would be as a fertility thermometer for women attempting to get pregnant. 

But Jethwani and Dr. Stephen Agboola, a research scientist on the project, said the clinical potential for reliable, continuous temperature measurement is huge, especially in cases where patients' immune systems are weakened and the risk of secondary infection is increased.

"We were initially really interested in transplant patients, because that’s the same story there," Jethwani said. "You immunosupress so the organ has some time to adjust, and then slowly wean them off, and there’s the possibility of infection... MGH is the largest transplant center in the country. Raiing was more interested in the infant population."

He added that post-surgical recovery, especially for cancer patients, is another area where early detection of infection could save lives. And while the current pilot is for patients in the hospital, the technology has the potential to be given to patients to monitor their temperature at home as well. According to Raiing's website, the device is accurate within 0.05 degrees celsius and takes readings every four seconds.

Jethwani and Agboola hope to have the results of the study early next year and expect Raiing's commercial launch around that time.