Innovative patch may soon be used to monitor coronavirus patients remotely 24/7
Together with six medical and technological companies, Quad Industries has developed an innovative smart health patch that allows continuous, remote, wireless monitoring of the respiration, heart rate and soon also temperature of coronavirus patients. The concept was initially developed for patients with heart failure and epilepsy, but clearly has potential for the follow-up of coronavirus patients. The first clinical trials are starting in Q2/2020 and we are aiming for a wider roll-out in a the second half of the year. We hope that this will allow more and better patient follow-up at home and in care homes in the event of a possible new coronavirus surge in the autumn of 2020.
During the development of the ‘COVID-19 smart patch’, each partner in the consortium – Belgian companies Byteflies, Melexis, Quad Industries, Televic and Z-Plus and the Belgian departments of multinationals Henkel and Nitto – provided expertise and a technology component to create this innovative, comprehensive solution. The result is an adhesive patch that is about 15 cm long. The patch is applied to the left side of the chest. It has been developed especially for skin-friendly, medical use and contains high-tech electrodes and conductive inks to register vital signs. A mini temperature sensor will also be integrated soon. A ‘sensor dot’ located in the centre of the patch collects the patient’s vital signs and sends all the data to the cloud wirelessly. The healthcare centre’s nurses and the patient’s general practitioner or specialist can then access this cloud data on a user-friendly platform. This results in improved patient follow-up at home and reduces time and effort for medical staff in data management.
Quad Industries, as a leading solution provider in printed electronics, serves as a manufacturer of the disposable patch part. The skin patch is built on our stretchable electronics platform. It is the result of many development efforts in which we’ve selected the most suitable materials that allow such a patch to be soft and comfortable, not least due to the selection of stretchable, conductive, screen-printed circuits. Quad Industries uses state of the art electrodes and conductive inks to obtain optimal performance and through the usage of latest generation skin-friendly adhesives, the patch can even be worn for five days.
With the latest investments in R2R screen-printing equipment, Quad Industries will be ready to scale the skin patch production to volumes. As such we hope to help ease the healthcare burden in case of a new outbreak.
Oost-Limburg Hospital to start first clinical tests
The Oost-Limburg Hospital, Belgium will be the first medical institution to start clinical trials with the ‘COVID-19 smart patch’. The hospital will start testing the patch for about 20 of their patients in the next weeks. Based on this test, the partners aim to roll out the system more widely in other hospitals and care homes within the upcoming months.
Healthcare of the future
All parties truly believe in the consortium. It is the perfect combination of technology and healthcare. “This is the healthcare of the future,” Hans Danneels of Byteflies says. “We can ease the workload of our healthcare staff significantly with digitalisation and smart systems: all-in-one solutions that are easy and quick to implement. We can only do that by collaborating with specialists and by combining our expertise and innovative solutions. This is a prime example of such collaboration, of which we are very proud.”