Testing of wearable monitors in a real-world hospital environment: What lessons can be learnt?
Bonnici T., Orphanidou C., Vallance D., Darrell A., Tarassenko L.
If wearable sensors are to play a significant role in monitoring the vital signs of hospitalised patients they need to be accepted by doctors and other healthcare workers. To gain this acceptance, evidence of their effectiveness needs to be demonstrated in clinical trials. In this pragmatic feasibility study four commercially-available, CE-marked sensors were combined into three monitoring systems and used to record the electrocardiograms (ECGs) and photoplethysmograms (PPGs) of 31 hospitalised patients, to determine whether the sensors could collect vital sign data reliably enough for use in larger clinical trials. Patients were asked to wear the sensors for 24 hours. Out of the 31 studies, on only 3 occasions did any of the monitoring systems manage to record both ECG and PPG data for the full 24-hour duration. The causes for the failure of sensors to record data from in-hospital patients consistently are discussed and a clinical perspective is given on the design features needed for a sensor to be usable in a hospital setting. © 2012 IEEE.