Watch the Engineering TV video above for a look at the SensiumVitals System. 

A new electronic patch developed by Oxford, England-based Sensium can check a hospitalized patient’s vital signs every two minutes. Electronic Design European Editor Paul Whytock explains how the new patch works in his latest “London Calling” video segment, featured above.

Two wireless technologies were involved in creating the patch: the FDA-approved SensiumVitals System, which is designed to wirelessly monitor patient’s vital signs, and a chip that allows wireless connectivity to medical devices. The latter meets the latest IEEE 802.15.6 Medical Body Area Network Standard (MBAN) standard.

The monitoring patch, an ultra-low-power, wireless 915-MHz unit, is placed on the patient’s chest directly above the heart. From the patch, vital signs—including heart rate, respiratory rate, and auxiliary temperature—are recorded and transmitted to a box (known as the bridge) in each room (working much like a Wi-Fi router), and then passed on through the hospital network to a hospital IT infrastructure or any authorized Web-enabled device. The system supports up to 600 bridges, with each bridge able to support 16 patients.

A recent pilot study conducted in Los Angeles that monitored 170 patients revealed the clinical and economic benefits of the SensiumVitals System. Early detection of deteriorating health was seen in 12% of patients—an important statistic, considering a study in the British Medical Journal found that clinical monitoring could have prevented one-third of the 12,000 hospital deaths in England.

The monitoring patch costs approximately $60, has a five-day battery life, and allows patients to move around freely—directly reducing the risk of infection. Be sure to check out the video posted above and more like it at Engineering TV