Wireless Temperature Monitoring Patch Aids in COVID-19 Care

TempTraq, a wearable device, monitors and records a patient’s body temperature for up to 72 hours, eliminating the need for sharing thermometers in medical facilities and ensuring the safety of healthcare workers and patients alike.  

 

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Image credit: Blue Spark Technologies

 

The ongoing spread of COVID-19 continues to bring new patients into the hospital, taxing essential workers and medical supplies. One of the most basic, and most critical, symptoms to monitor is a patient’s temperature because it can be an early indication of infection. Fear of transmitting the Coronavirus across patients makes sharing thermometers less appealing, and not all medical facilities have thermal scanners.

Blue Spark Technologies, of Westlake, OH, has a ready solution. The TempTraq is a thin, soft, flexible patch that adheres to the skin like a Band-Aid. Once it’s placed under the arm and activated, the patch tracks an axillary (under arm) temperature, which is converted to a more familiar oral temperature. It is powered by a proprietary thin, flexible carbon-zinc battery. The TempTraq allows clinicians to monitor temperatures remotely with little or no direct contact with the patient.  

Less Intrusive Monitoring

The single-use wireless device continuously monitors and records the wearer’s temperature for up to 72 hours. Temperature data is centrally stored on TempTraq Connect, a HIPAA-compliant cloud service. It sends real-time temperature data to an app on any Android or Apple device via Bluetooth 4.0, allowing patients, doctors, nurses, family members, and other caregivers to receive information directly.

Users download the free app and must be invited to view the patch. No patient identification information is transferred for security. The app displays the actual temperature and color-coded alerts. A normal temperature is indicated in green, and orange indicates a mild fever. If the alert is red, the temperature has reached or exceeded the threshold set by the healthcare worker, and an alert can be sent to the caregiver.

workflow of how temperature data is collected, stored, and shared

Image credit: Blue Spark Technologies

 

Data can also be sent to the TempTraq Clinician web portal or directly integrated with a healthcare provider’s electronic medical records (EMR) system. The TempTraq works for in-patient and out-patient scenarios, as long as the patient is within 40 feet of a Bluetooth device or gateway. If the patient travels out of range, the system sends a notification to the wearer. The offering is scalable to support a small physician group or a multi-hospital healthcare system.

An Ounce of Prevention

Originally designed to monitor babies’ temperatures in the hospital, the TempTraq patch is gaining popularity in hospitals as one way to monitor and protect healthcare workers tending patients with the novel Coronavirus.

University Hospitals, one of the largest healthcare systems in Ohio, has been using the patches with success in its Seidman Cancer Center since 2016, and is expanding its use of the TempTraq from patients to hospital staff. When the pandemic hit, the hospital realized it could use TempTraq to ensure the well-being of the healthcare workers, and it is providing TempTraq devices to staff members who interface with COVID-19 patients.

“If [our healthcare workers] fall ill with COVID-19 symptoms, we face losing an essential line of defense against this disease and also risk infecting others, further perpetuating the problem. By continuously monitoring our healthcare workers’ temperatures rather than intermittently, we are better positioned to intervene quickly to ensure the safety and health of our caregivers’ and our patients,” said Dr. Theodoros N. Teknos, president and scientific director UH Seidman Cancer Center. Employees who spike a fever will be immediately removed from interacting with patients and other staff members in an effort to prevent an outbreak.

In addition to the 72-hour TT-300 model, Blue Spark offers the TT-100 and TT-200, which monitor temperatures for up to 24 hours and 48 hours, respectively.