The first contact-free sensing system in a chair that monitors vital signs has been approved by FDA. The Chair Sensor from EarlySense (Waltham, MA), which continuously monitors a patient's heart rate, respiratory function, and movement, received high marks from clinicians and users at the Coffee Regional Medical Center (Douglas, GA), where it was evaluated prior to receiving market clearance.
The system is based on the combination of a patented electromechanical sensing element and advanced digital signal processing algorithms. "The sensing element has a polycarbonate plate that acts as a passive mechanical antenna, which focuses the mechanical energy on a piezo-electric ceramic element embedded within," explains EarlySense CEO Avner Halperin. "The exact shape of the plate is what allows the sensor to detect the minute motions of the heart and lungs through a mattress or a pillow on which the patient is sitting. The engineers at EarlySense had to go through several generations of sensor and algorithm design in order to achieve FDA cleared medical-grade accuracies for the first time ever with a passive mechanical antenna detector," Halperin told PlasticsToday.
While the EarlySense system has been used in hospital beds for some years, this is the first time the technology has been approved by FDA for use in chairs. Moving patients from bed to chair accelerates healing and is especially beneficial shortly after an operation, when it can help to improve lung function and reduce pulmonary complications, according to EarlySense.
In addition to continuing to monitor vital signs without encumbering the patient, the Chair Sensor sends the data in real time to a monitor and to the nursing station. It sounds an alert if conditions deteriorate or if the patient attempts to get out of the chair.
"The EarlySense system allowed the medical staff to recognize potential adverse events prior to them becoming acute events," said SueLane Hughes, Director, Medical/OPU Unit, Coffee Regional Medical Center. "The chair sensor is another tool to assist us in preventing patient falls. Since we started using the chair sensor, we have had zero patient falls from chairs," Hughes is quoted as saying in a press release distributed by EarlySense.
In addition to its own products, the company offers OEM solutions for companies that want to integrate contact-free, continuous sensing capabilities into their products.