Toumaz Ltd., a British maker of wearable medical sensors, has begun the first U.S. pilot of its SensiumVitals disposable “digital plaster” at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., in conjunction with Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong’s California Capital Equity.
Working through Toumaz US, a joint venture backed by UCLA surgeon and billionaire investor Soon-Shiong, Toumaz is testing the continuous monitoring capabilities of SensiumVitals for capturing heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature of patients in general hospital wards. Without the disposable plaster sensors, St. John’s clinicians have to record vitals manually every six to eight hours.
SensiumVitals, which gained FDA 510(k) clearance in July 2011, picks up changes in the patient’s condition as they happen, allowing physicians and nurses to respond more quickly. This, according to the company, helps reduce costly hospital admissions, readmissions and transfers to intensive care.
This, of course, has become more important to hospitals now that Medicare is no longer reimbursing for preventable readmissions within 30 days of discharge from inpatient treatment of heart attacks, congestive heart failure and pneumonia. Hospitals and health systems also are increasingly financially responsible for keeping patients out of high-acuity units as private and public payers demand more accountable care.
“Early feedback from patients and hospital staff at St John’s has been very positive, with the device detecting deterioration in patients’ conditions instantaneously, enabling intervention much sooner than normal,” Toumaz CEO Anthony Sethill says in a company statement. “SensiumVitals represents a breakthrough in how patient care is delivered, setting a new, cost effective standard for hospitals and also benefiting patients’ recovery.”
Through California Capital Equity, Soon-Shiong purchased an 80 percent stake in the Toumaz US joint venture last year and pledged to infuse $25 million over two years. Los Angeles-based Soon-Shiong has since moved all of his healthcare investments under the NantHealth and NantWorks umbrella.
“At NantWorks, we believe continuous patient monitoring in the hospital will one day be standard practice and this will be enabled by foundational technology like SensiumVitals, delivered by Toumaz US. Continuously streamed patient data automatically flowing into hospital information systems will drive the right care at the right time and in the right place,” NantHealth CTO Michael Trevino said.