California hospital's patient safety protocols now require a wearable

By Jonah Comstock
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Leaf sensorA California hospital has begun requiring certain patients use a wearable remote patient monitoring device in order to comply with internal patient safety protocols. Chino Valley Medical Center is employing the Leaf Patient Monitoring System from Pleasanton-based Leaf Healthcare.

The sensor monitors patient movement in bed, then uses that data to calculate when the patient needs to be turned to prevent the formation of pressure ulcers. That data is uploaded wirelessly to central monitoring stations or mobile devices so clinicians can monitor the readings. The system also alerts nurses or staff when a patient needs to be turned.

A recent clinical trial showed that use of the sensor increased compliance with hospital turn procedures from a baseline 64 percent to 98 percent. Ulcers are a dangerous and painful condition which cost the US healthcare system $11 billion a year according to AHRQ, and because they're hospital-acquired, treatment is often not reimbursable by insurers.

Chino Valley Medical Center will require that any patient who scores 18 or lower on the Braden Scale for Predicting Pressure Ulcer Risk use the sensor.

"Our experience with the Leaf Patient Monitoring System showed that it offers a breakthrough in patient care and safety," Dr. James Lally, chief medical officer of Chino Valley, said in a statement. "The vigilance of our staff in regards to prevention methods has enabled Chino Valley to substantially reduce the incidence of reportable pressure ulcers at our facility.  The Leaf Patient Monitor will help us to maintain a pressure ulcer-free performance goal while significantly improving staff productivity by allowing clinicians to focus on those patients requiring turn assistance."

Since Leaf received 510(k) clearance from the FDA last November, the company has piloted its technology with a number of hospitals including El Camino Hospital and the Boise, Idaho VA Medical Center.

Leaf isn't the first company to use mobile monitoring technology to address pressure ulcers. In 2012, smart bed company Bam Labs announced its Position Change feature, which biometrically validates bed position changes through a secure, cloud-based monitoring platform.