EarlySense, a device placed under mattresses in an Israeli hospital is helping to ensure that patients’ vital signs are monitored accurately, but unobtrusively. The bed sensor is proving to be an effective and more reliable alternative to conventional patient monitoring technology.
Anat Margel, a nurse at the Dorot Geriatric Hospital, says EarlySense has been a lifesaver.
“Two and a half years ago, before we started working with the system, we unfortunately had two incidents of patients that were found dead in their beds. Ever since we’ve been using the system and we monitor the patients, we identify the difficult condition of those patients. We had at least three of four incidents of ventricular fibrillation that the crew literally saved patients’ lives.”
EarlySense’s CEO, Avner Halperin says the sensor is an effective and safer alternative to conventional monitors which require the attachment of wires to a patient’s skin. It’s based on a sensor, which is placed under the mattress of a bed and monitors the patient continuously without ever touching his body, heart, respiration and motion. It gives alerts when the earliest warning signs of deterioration are present which makes the nurses and doctors much more effective in intervening early and keeping them out of trouble.
Halperin also says EarlySense is much less prone than conventional systems to send out false alarms, which over time can desensitise carers to the possibility of a real emergency. Connected to a bedside computer, the device monitors breathing, heart rate and heavy body movement.
“These three signals go through the mattress, are collected by this passive plaque which is like a passive antenna, digitized and then algorithms that we developed over ten years make that into very accurate vital signs that then are analysed and based on that, when something begins to go wrong, an alert is indicated to the nurse and physicians.”
EarlySense costs around $7,000 U.S. dollars and is used in about two dozen hospitals in America. A sensor for home use is also being developed and Halperin says he’s confident that these devices will significantly reduce patient emergencies, and save lives.