The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last week that it had granted Zephyr Technology 510(k) clearance for its remote patient monitor system, which was the same technology used to monitor the Chilean miners who were trapped after a cave-in at the San José copper-gold mine in the Atacama Desert this past August. Zephyr's systems have also been used by "warfighters, first responders and academic researchers," according to the company's press release.
Zephyr describes its system as a real-time physiological and biomechanical monitoring system, which it has deployed in training and high stress operational environments. The company's "Bio Harness" tracks critical vital signs (ECG, heart rate, breathing rate, skin temperature ) and "contextualizes the information" by mashing it up with the individual’s activity level and posture via an accelerometer. Zephyr has ongoing collaborations with fire departments, NASA Ames Research Center, National Guard Civil Support Teams and multiple US Special Forces.
"This 510(k) approval affirms Zephyr's solution in the military market and opens significant opportunities with our partners in the burgeoning mHealth arena. Zephyr's OmniSense Mobile SmartPhone based solution serves a broad array of applications from remote patient monitoring to employee safety. We can now deliver the same technology used to monitor Chilean Miners here in the US to support doctors, providers and concerned family members," Brian Russell, Zephyr's CEO stated in the release.
"The technology vetted within these communities can now be used by anyone for fitness and wellness as well as acute and chronic patient care. According to the Office of the Actuary, National Health Statistics Group, 37% percent of the $2.3 Trillion spent on in-home, nursing home care; physician services and administration could be significantly reduced through the use of PSM [physiological status monitoring] technology," John Molloy, Zephyr's Senior Product Manager stated in the release.
Here's a video of Russell being interviewed about the Chilean Miners: