NFC kit lets patients leave hospital earlier and monitor their return to health from home
by Christopher Brown, Near Field Communications World
May 19, 2011
A new NFC solution from Gentag and The CORE Institute is designed to reduce healthcare costs by providing patients with a way to self-monitor their recovery after an operation so they can be discharged earlier from hospital.
Patients sent home after operations will be able to self-monitor their return to health thanks to a new medical grade wireless monitoring kit designed to be used with NFC-enabled mobile phones.
The kit, which checks for pressure and temperature variations that indicate swelling, will realise significant reductions in healthcare costs and improved outcomes for patients, say co-creators Gentag and The CORE Institute.
"The technology is based on an ultra-linear NFC-MEMS [Micro electro-mechanical systems] hybrid chip with 1mm mercury (Hg) precision and 0.1°C temperature accuracy developed during the past year by Gentag and its partners under the specifications and medical guidance of a team of US orthopedics surgeons, lead by Dr David Jacofsky and Dr Roy Sanders, chairman of The CORE Institute and President of Florida Orthopedic Institute respectively," the companies explain.
"The combined effort has created a completely new, minimally invasive, low cost way to measure in situ pressure and temperature in surgery areas, minimizing length of stay and decreasing complications through earlier diagnosis," they add. "The technology is covered under worldwide issued and pending patents."
Applications include compartment syndrome monitoring, post orthopaedics surgery monitoring, back pressure and bed sore monitoring as well as monitoring for excessive pressure in casts. Other medical applications are under development.
Users will be able to take readings from the monitor kit with an NFC phone. The technology is now available for limited post-surgery trials, with commercial production expected to start in 2012 with units for monitoring pressure in casts.
The announcement is the latest in a series of medical applications unveiled by Gentag, which specialises in low-cost, wireless sensor technologies based on cell phones.
Earlier this year, the company successfully demonstrated a diagnostic test platform that combines NFC and immunoassay technology to enable self-testing for pregnancy, fertility, pathogens, Aids, drugs, allergens and even certain types of cancers. In February, the company unveiled a low cost mobile phone — developed in collaboration with chip manufacturer NXP — able to handle both NFC and RFID applications.
"Gentag's work to bring the technology to low-cost cell phone markets offers great potential to the telemedicine applications," said NXP's Charles Dachs. "NFC will allow healthcare professionals to monitor their patients' health remotely, introducing over-the-counter technologies directly to consumer cell phones."