Wearable sensor shown effective in preventing bedsores

Leaf Healthcare Wearable Sensor System--Courtesy of Leaf Healthcare

A new wireless, disposable sensor can help long-term care and hospital administrators prevent bedsores. Also known as pressure ulcers, these are a pernicious problem for the U.S. healthcare system--an estimated 2.5 million patients in the U.S. get the painful sores that can result in further complications but are preventable with proper care.

The Leaf Healthcare Wearable Sensor System can help ensure that healthcare workers are complying with patient turn protocols, which prevent bedsores. Compliance with hospital turn protocols increased to 98% from a baseline of 64% at the start of the three-month trial. Results of the study were presented this week at the American Nurses Credential Center National Magnet Conference in Dallas, TX.

"Nurses and hospitals are searching for innovative ways to reduce pressure ulcers and this presentation provides valuable insights into how that can be accomplished," Leaf VP of Sales and Marketing Mark Smith said in a statement.

The system includes a small, wireless, disposable sensor that is worn on a patient's upper chest and attached via an adhesive backing. Once applied, the sensors transmit to remote antennas that are plugged into standard electrical outlets. A series of antennas creates a wireless network; an individual sensor will transmit with the antenna that has the highest signal strength to improve data transmission.

Leaf Turn Management Software

The antenna sends the data to the Leaf User Interface that can be used on computers, tablets or smartphones. The interface stores and analyzes patient turn data, prioritizing and providing actionable items for healthcare workers. Data for current or discharged patients is stored on a server in order to ensure accountability and documentation. Administrators can generate reports on turning activity that is organized by several factors including admission status, a particular time period, for an individual patient, as well as by a particular shift, ward or floor.

Pressure ulcers are estimated to cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $11 billion, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

FDA cleared the Leaf system in November. The Pleasanton, CA-based startup is backed by investors including SDL Ventures. The firm also backs laser and light based beauty company Tria Beauty. Leaf CEO Mark Weckwerth joined the company in 2011; he was previously a co-founder and VP at Tria.

- here is the release

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