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An advanced non-contact approach to vital signs monitoring

How best to recognise if the condition of patients unexpectedly deteriorates and empower staff to initiate a timely medical response is a growing concern in hospitals today. Emfit anticipated this challenge some years ago and its technology provides easy and automatic non-contact vital signs monitoring for use on general wards and elsewhere.

Emfit’s latest non-contact solution enables the vitals signs of patients on general hospital wards to be monitored remotely and automatically, and alerts staff as and when changes in their condition occur. Utilising standard LAN or WLAN networks, Emfit’s solution integrates non-contact vital signs monitoring, bed exit alarms, and nurse call functions.

Emfit’s patented flexible sensors installed under patients’ mattresses – based on highly sensitive, ferroelectret thin film technology – lie at the heart of the system; and are combined with advanced digital signal processing monitor devices and Emfit’s DVM Suite software.

Nurse calls, alarms, and data on the condition of patients are delivered to nurses by pagers, corridor loudspeakers, or DECT phones.

Emfit’s unique solution is lightweight and inexpensive, and can be installed in existing buildings easily and discretely. The fact that it uses existing standard cabling, used for carrying data, telecommunications, security, video, and entertainment services, keeps installation costs low and makes it easy to expand coverage as needed.

The scalability, flexibility, and reliability of the system makes for low costs long-term as well, while the ability to manage and monitor all the beds on a network remotely helps simplify hospital routines and enhance patient care.

Highly scalable and flexible

Developed to assist and help nurses working on general wards recognise any possible deterioration in the condition of their patients more effectively than traditional methods, while at the same time reducing their overall workload, Emfit’s technology offers multiple benefits.

Without any sensors attached to patients, it can deliver data on their heart and respiratory rates, high/low heart and respiratory rate alarms, bed exit alarms, and patient nurse calls.

Heart and respiratory rates are measured with a sensor located under the mattress. Alarms are passed to personnel via pagers, corridor loudspeakers, or DECT phones. Data and alerts are stored in an SQL database for reporting purposes.

By eliminating many of the routine checks that nurses normally have to carry out during the night, which can often interrupt patients’ sleep, the system also helps provide better rest for patients. Eliminating the need for electrodes, leads, cuffs, or a cannula is also a plus for patients.

Emfit’s technology can be easily customised to cover anything from a single ward to entire buildings or groups of buildings, thanks to Internet connectivity. Hospital care facilities for the mentally and/or physically disabled, and psychiatric care units can all benefit.

A special version of the software is also available for elderly care facilities and old people living alone at home. The location of a system’s main software and database is very flexible, and large systems embracing thousands of homes connected via the Internet are possible.

> Heikki Räisänen
(Published in HighTech Finland 2011)