Validation of a Portable, Deployable System for Continuous Vital Sign Monitoring Using a Multiparametric Wearable Sensor and Personalised Analytics in an Ebola Treatment Centre

The recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa strained existing healthcare systems well beyond their capacities due to the extreme volume and severity of illness of the patients. The implementation of innovative digital technologies within available care centers could potentially improve patient care as well as healthcare worker safety and effectiveness. We developed a Modular Wireless Patient Monitoring System (MWPMS) and conducted a proof of concept study in an Ebola treatment center (ETC) in Makeni, Sierra Leone. The system was built around a wireless, multiparametric ‘band-aid’ patch sensor for continuous vital sign monitoring and transmission, plus sophisticated data analytics. Results were used to develop personalized analytics to support automated alerting of early changes in patient status. During the 3-week study period, all eligible patients (n=26) admitted to the ETC were enrolled in the study, generating a total of 1838 hours of continuous vital sign data (mean of 67.8 hours/patient), including heart rate, heart rate variability, activity, respiratory rate, pulse transit time (inversely related to blood pressure), uncalibrated skin temperature and posture. All patients tolerated the patch sensor without problems. Manually determined and automated vital signs were well correlated. Algorithm-generated Multivariate Change Index, pulse transit time and arrhythmia burden demonstrated encouraging preliminary findings of important physiological changes, as did ECG waveform changes. In this proof-of-concept study, we were able to demonstrate that a portable, deployable system for continuous vital sign monitoring via a wireless, wearable sensor supported by a sophisticated, personalized analytics platform can provide high-acuity monitoring with a continuous, objective measure of physiological status of all patients that is achievable in virtually any healthcare setting, anywhere in the world.

Start Date:2015

End Date:2016

Partners: Brown University
Scripps Translational Science Institute

Donors: United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Grand Ebola Challenge
National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

Publications: BMJ Global Health