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Can We Provide Hospital Care Through an Adhesive Patch?

December 14, 2016
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What if there was a way for patients to be taken care of in the comfort of their own home, instead of a hospital bed? Todd Coleman, a bioengineering professor at the University of California San Diego, wants to find that alternative. “As I began to think about stories like this… I began to ask myself and imagine: Is there an alternative?" Coleman asked, "Is there a way we could have the benefits of a high-fidelity monitoring that we get with our trusted partners in the hospital while someone is at home living their daily life?” Coleman assembled a research group to brainstorm ways to provide the same hospital care at home. In the end, they formed an idea: an electronic patch, similar to a Band-Aid, used to measure factors like body temperature and heart rate. While the idea of patches seem simple to execute, Coleman’s team hit a variety of roadblocks along the way. Nurses pointed out that the product must cooperate with existing medical adhesives. Another issue stemmed from patients’ fears of data privacy: is the patch easy to hack into? “This has been a long learning process for us,” Coleman said, “This iterative process of breaking through and attacking one problem and not feeling totally comfortable, and identifying the next problem, has helped us.” Coleman is optimistic about the future of his invention, and hopes that it will change the lives of those who need it most. "We have to remember that human beings are using this technology, and we have to be mindful that these human beings -- they have a face, they have a name and a life," Coleman added. Here more about Coleman’s innovations in his November 2015 TED Talk: [embed][/embed]
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