Philips has unveiled a prototype system, consisting of a wearable sensor and connected software suite, to monitor patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Philips worked with Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands to develop the system.
The sensor used to demo the prototype was the FDA-cleared HealthPatch sensor from Vital Connect, a peel and stick device that measures physical activity and inactivity, respiratory indicators, sleep apnea or sleep disturbance, sleep quality, heart rhythm and heart rate variability.
“The use case is more appropriate for patients who have left the hospital recently,” Manu Varma, Philips' vice president of marketing and strategy, told MobiHealthNews. “So it may not be something people wear forever, but it’s especially important for the situation where someone who is going from an environment where they get a lot of good care and attention to a place where they are probably by themselves or have a family member helping them, but certainly no one who is a doctor or nurse on hand to watch over them.”
The system works with two Philips apps that received FDA clearance earlier this year: eCareCompanion, a patient-facing mobile app that helps patients at home keep their providers updated through data uploads, surveys, and, in some cases, video calling capabilities; and eCareCoordinator, a physician-facing software that integrates with Salesforce and allows doctors to track and aggregate the data being sent in by all their various patients.
“The broader strategy is about bringing digital technology to healthcare, which means a lot of different things,” Varma said. “It means bringing in not just transactional software, EMRs that are used in the four walls of the health system, but also extending that well beyond into patients lives and homes, and actually making it much more meaningful by capturing patients’ clinical information.”
The three biggest populations of chronically ill patients includes those with COPD, diabetes, and congestive heart failure, according to Varma. He hopes projects like this one will begin to address those patients' needs better.
"Here in the United States if you have a heart attack, in three minutes an ambulance will show up," he said. "Within 60 minutes you will be in a cath lab getting a stent. So we’re really good with those sorts of things, in the mature economies at least. But we haven’t really done a whole bunch for our people who are gradually declining from chronic illnesses. They’re not in super acute situations on a day to day basis, and when they get into those we take care of them. But we’re not able to take care of them so that you could avoid the acute situation in the first place. Managing the health of the chronically ill is a big agenda for everyone in healthcare today. What we are doing is we’re talking about how do we bring the right technology to enable new models of care that can help providers do that."
The system will be built on Philip’s HealthSuite platform, which the company plans to open up to third party developers via an API soon. Once developers start working on their own apps and sensors for the platform, Varma says COPD is just the beginning.
“COPD is an example proposition of hopefully tens and hundreds of new use cases that you will see come from Philips, and hopefully from third party developers, in the coming quarters and years,” he said.