Deadline: 2020-03-19 Award: $150,000 CAD Open to: Canadian entities*
Temperature, SpO2, BP and pulse rate are used to assess a patient's health. With some exceptions (e.g. in an ICU), these measurements are not performed continuously in a healthcare facility nor at home. This has consequences: sudden changes that signify rapid deterioration of a patient's health may not be caught in time; subtle trends that are important indicators of health changes may not be found until an egregious impact occurs. There are several reasons such monitoring is not done; most involve cost. The service life of most monitors is quite long, meaning that many were developed when the practice was to measure a single parameter and record by hand. Replacing such units will be prohibitively expensive, unless a low cost solution is devised. Adapting rather than replacing these units, besides being costly, would severely restrict the movement and behaviour of an ambulatory patient, resulting in skewed measurements. For BP, the obtrusive nature of commonly available monitors can actually affect the measurement (viz., cuff inflation hypertension).
Advances in materials science and micro- and printed electronics have resulted in sensors and electronics capable of unobtrusively measuring the four parameters. One such sensor was able to non-invasively measure carotid BP over a period of several weeks. While impressive individually, a low cost integrated solution that allows patients to return home and resume a quasi-normal life while still being monitored is yet to be developed.