Stanford taps VivaLNK's new Vital Scout for stress study

The adhesive, wearable device monitors ECG, heart rate variability, respiration, and more.
By Jonah Comstock
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Stanford University is using VivaLNK’s Vital Scout, an adhesive wearable that can track ECG, heart rate variability, respiratory rates, activity, and sleep, in a study on the links between depression and stress. VivaLNK has lent 50 devices to the Stanford research team.

“It is known that stress is an underlying cause for various types of health issues," CEO Jiang Li told MobiHealthNews. "Until now, quantifying stress has been difficult, and historically, has been gathered through qualitative participant interviews. Stanford is hoping the the objective data provided by capturing Heart Rate Variability (HRV), an established algorithm to quantify stress, will help them scientifically validate its link to this important health issue. They found this device to be very simple for that study because we can offer very detailed and very accurate stress level information.”

Devices like Vital Scout fill a previously unfilled niche in monitoring, Li said, which is especially helpful in a study like the one Stanford is conducting. It’s more accurate than a wrist-worn tracker, but it can be worn comfortably for three days at a time, which makes it a better fit for longterm monitoring than a chest strap.

Vital Scout went on sale on the company’s website in August. It’s not yet FDA-cleared, so it is currently being sold as a wellness tracking device. It integrates with a user-friendly mobile app.

In addition to Stanford, the device is being used in a variety of different trials, Li said.

“For example, we’re working with a hospital they’re trying to use this device to monitor the stress level of their nursing staff,” he said. “It’s difficult work, it’s very stressful so they’re trying to ensure their employees achieve a very good mental health level. We’re working with another company to use this product for sleep quality management. So there’s definitely different ways to use this device.”

Vital Scout is VivaLNK’s follow up to its Fever Scout temperature-monitoring patch. Li says that, in addition to hoping for FDA clearance and launch next year for VivaLNK, the company has a lot invested in developing devices to track additional vital signs.

“This is one step of our overall vision,” he said. “VivaLNK’s overall vision is that we want to gradually establish an easy to use medical-grade platform that will encompass all human vitals. So we have body temperature, we’re adding heart rate, respiration rate, stress level, and we also have other capabilities in the pipeline. We’ll be introducing more products next year so we’re well on the path to creating a comprehensive monitor of all the basic human vitals.”