Vital signs digital device offers NHS ‘huge potential’

A digital wearable vital signs monitoring system, being trialled by St James’ University Hospital, Leeds, has been praised by UK life science minister, George Freeman.

The British-made SensiumVitals system is based on a lightweight wireless patch with sensors which measure patients’ heart rate, respiration and temperature. The system takes vital signs readings every two minutes and sends the data wirelessly to hospital IT systems. If the readings exceed pre-set thresholds, alerts are issued to nurses on their handheld devices.

These early warnings enable staff to respond more quickly to deteriorations in a patient’s condition – improving patient safety, reducing the need for more expensive treatments and shortening hospital stays.

The trial is being led by professor David Jayne, professor of surgery at St James’ and will investigate the clinical benefits of the system, its health economic impact and the patients’ perspective.

SensiumVitals is being deployed in two colorectal surgery wards focusing on post-operative patients – a vulnerable group at significant risk of deterioration. The trial involves approximately 100 patients and is expected to last six months.

The trial is being conducted by researchers funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the research arm of the NHS, which funds £1 billion of health research a year.

George Freeman, minister for life sciences, said: “This latest trial has the potential to bring huge benefits to patients and staff and highlights why the NHS is the ideal place to test new digital technologies. We are committed to supporting new medical innovations which is why we invest £1 billion a year in the National Institute for Health Research, helping to introduce the latest innovations into the healthcare system as quickly as possible.”

Professor David Jayne, professor of surgery and clinical director for the NIHR-funded Colorectal Therapies Healthcare Technologies Cooperative (HTC), St James’ University Hospital, said: “Post-surgery, patients’ health can deteriorate rapidly. In these circumstances, it is important that clinicians are able to intervene as quickly as possible. The SensiumVitals wireless monitoring system has the potential to play an important role in improving patient care in this area.

“During the evaluation, the system will be compared with standard hospital monitoring to determine if it allows earlier detection of post-operative complications. If successful, the project will inform larger studies involving the technology throughout the NHS.”

Anthony Sethill, Sensium Healthcare ceo, said: “This trial with St James’, one of the UK’s most highly regarded hospitals, is an important step forward for SensiumVitals. Working with the hospital, our aim is to demonstrate that the system delivers on its promise to improve patient care, shorten hospital stays and significantly reduce healthcare costs across the NHS.”

Dave is the Editor of Med-Tech Innovation magazine. He also holds the position of Deputy Group Editor for the Rapid Life Sciences portfolio. You can reach Dave via his email -

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