Sensiotec Reconfigures Data Collection with Cross-Platform Sensor Solution

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Atlanta, Ga., has evolved into a hub of innovation for medical-device start-ups, thanks in part to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and its flagship program, ATDC Select, which serves as one of the top incubators for high-potential startups in the United States.

In 2013, ATDC Select recruited Sensiotec, a leading innovator in biosensor and digital-health technology, for the program. Founded by Robert Arkin, chief executive officer, Sensiotec received the Start-Up Company of the Year Award at the 2014 Health IT Summit and the 2015 SSA Impact Award for Emerging Mega Trends from TAG/Southeastern Software Association.

“Sensiotec is reinventing patient monitoring with a medical-grade, mHealth monitoring solution that is focused primarily on post-care clinical care,” Arkin said. “We are the first company that’s developed a viable patient-monitoring solution for nursing homes and assisted living facilities that has received FDA 510(K) Class II medical device clearance.”

Pioneering the non-contact sensor panel solution

Sensiotec’s solution consists of a non-contact sensor panel that is placed unobtrusively under a patient’s bed or chair at the point of care, enabling a completely passive patient-monitoring experience. The panel transmits and receives ultra-low-powered radio signals that reflect off the patient’s internal organs, torso, and limbs. These signals are processed onboard the sensor panel at the edge of the network.

The signals are then converted into biometric data, encrypted, and relayed continuously to a HIPAA-compliant web server, which catches the large data sets being generated over long periods of time.

In addition, the web service hosts Sensiotec-developed proprietary web applications that utilize this data to monitor patient presence, patient agitation, patient positioning, heart rate, and respiration rate.

Arkin explained that this information is available in real time from any smart mobile device.

“The web app identifies variations from the patient’s baseline,” he said. “We present the data in different ways for different types of users. Medical professionals have the ability to dive down beneath the easy-to-understand and intuitive user interface to get more detailed information.

“On one hand, we have spot data and trend data, which provides great detail about the condition of a patient at a single point in time and over a longer period of time, but we also include very simple, visual graphics that use red/yellow/green-type traffic-light icons to indicate degrees of severity.”

Providing patient monitoring from anywhere

Tech developers envision a time when all software, sensors, and electronics–the Internet of Things (IoT)–will have the ability to interact seamlessly with each other while retaining their unique identification.

For example, Apple’s Nest Learning Thermostat is still a traditional household thermostat designed to regulate temperature and environment. However, it breaks with tradition in that it can be controlled from anywhere via one’s iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Sensiotec is busy applying the IoT concept to medical devices, Arkin said. The sensor panel functions as an IoT appliance, delivering data to the cloud. That data is then available to people who need it for patient monitoring.

“Only in our case, instead of monitoring temperature, we’re monitoring what’s going on inside the body by measuring the micromovement of the internal organs, as well as torso and limb movement,” he said.

It’s easy to assume that Sensiotec is actively applying this technology within hospital ICUs, but Arkin said the patient-to-caregiver ratio in ICUs is usually one caregiver for every two patients.

Sensiotec is focused on the areas of the care continuum where the ratio is wider, such as on the general floor where you have one caregiver for every five to seven patients, or in post-acute settings like a skilled-nursing facility or an assisted-living facility where one caregiver is providing for every 10 to 15 patients. In the future, Sensiotec plans on expanding to home-care monitoring, where a caregiver is only present a few times each week.

“The relationship between the ICU and our technology solution is inverse. The further away the patient gets from the ICU, the bigger the benefit to the patient,” Arkin said. “We believe our value proposition for nursing homes and assisted living facilities is particularly strong. With our solution, we believe these facilities can improve the quality of the care they deliver. We also believe we can help them increase lengths of stay, reduce readmissions to hospitals, and increase overall occupancy rates. This, of course, has a direct bearing on revenue and profitability.”

Producing a continuous data stream

Sensiotec’s non-contact sensor-panel solution also gives the provider a continuous stream of manageable data.

“In the med/surg unit of a hospital, a patient may have his or her vitals measured every four to six hours. This might represent 30 biometric data points per day,” Arkin said. “In our case, the data stream is continuous. As long as the patient is in the bed or in a chair, our system is going to be generating 400,000 biometric data points per hour.”

The future of healthcare is in prevention, and Sensiotec is creating granular databases that will support the development of algorithms for generating predictive healthcare analytics on chronically ill and acute patients.

“We’re actually acquiring data every few nanoseconds, compiling that medical information derived from the data neatly in a data packet, and then sending it to the server every second or two,” Arkin said.

Remarkably, the footprint produced by this data collection is light, only generating about 3.5 bytes of data per second.

Currently, Sensiotec has formed a strategic partnership with three high-profile players, including WellStar Health System in Georgia, and is open to exploring other partnerships.

Beyond these partnerships, however, Arkin said Sensiotec would like to break down the silos that exist between tech companies, emphasizing communication over competition.

“Part of the effort is to open up the established companies to what’s going on with the emerging companies in the area and to be able to create a more cohesive ecosystem in which the companies are supporting each other.”

by Pete Fernbaugh

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