Although vast progress has been achieved to ensure healthy lives and promote everyone’s well-being, more efforts are needed to address persistent health and recovery issues.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), “every two seconds, someone aged 30 to 70 years dies prematurely from non-communicable diseases,” such as cardiovascular disease or chronic respiratory disease. Primary care plays a core role in preventing and managing the said health problems, which are considered part of the most common worldwide.
Yet, for the past two years, healthcare systems have seen their capacities diminished and their services degraded because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The biggest impact is in the provision of primary care where continuous monitoring is crucial but cannot be assured due to the high strain on the healthcare sector.
Added to the strain on the sector, the rising costs of healthcare bring about the need to develop accessible remote monitoring techniques. In that respect —as part of the European project NextPerception— Evalan has been developing intelligent sensing technology that will allow for continuous and remote vitality monitoring of patients.
This means that after a surgical operation or episode, patients could be constantly monitored while at home through a wearable sensor. The benefits for the healthcare sector and professionals are less strain on resources, lower costs, better patient experience, and improved treatment outcomes, to name a few.
Aftercare is key to a full recovery, and changes in someone’s health condition during the recovery phase are common. Considering this, sensing technologies make it easier for healthcare providers to send patients home sooner as sensors allow them to receive real-time and reliable data. Thus, ensuring that the patient’s aftercare and recovery will not be hindered.
To this aim, Evalan is developing a wearable sensor in the form of a stretchable patch, which monitors the respiratory rate of the patient. By attaching the wireless patch on their chest, patients will be able to go through their day-to-day life comfortably while the sensor measures their respiratory rate through chest wall movements.
The technology was developed based on the respiratory rate as an early warning score parameter for two reasons: 1) it is one of the more sensitive vital signs to show physiological deterioration and different pathological conditions (e.g., pneumonia and adverse cardiac events); 2) there is a market gap for comfortable and wearable technology that can continuously measure the said vital sign.
The first development cycle of NextPerception allowed Evalan to prove the feasibility and accuracy of the innovative patch, which was developed to be unintrusive, comfortable, and discrete. Furthermore, the cycle helped to collect valuable data for further improvement.
In the second cycle, the technology will be further developed, and the patch (acting as the sensor) will be coupled with Evalan’s wearable “healthcare monitor” BACE Go. This will allow for continuous and remote monitoring, as real-time data will constantly be sent to the healthcare provider. Thus, ending the issue of distance and time for the provision of health supervisory services.
The final prototype will be piloted in September this year. This will allow Evalan to test the developed solution during real-life situations and to get insights from the patients using it.
Moreover, during the next cycle, Evalan will collaborate with diverse partners within the NextPerception project. The focus will be to create synergies that can bring about a more personalized and patient-centric model of healthcare.