Recently, Bluetooth SIG China held their annual online seminar which brought together industry leaders from around the world to share their knowledge and expertise on Bluetooth technology as well as present the new trends, opportunities and potential growth areas for Bluetooth solutions. Among this year’s speakers was Cassia Networks’ CEO Felix Zhao, who presented the application of Bluetooth technology for digital health IoT as well as discussing the importance of continuous vital sign monitoring in hospitals, clinics, homes, and many other places.
What is the importance of continuous vital sign monitoring for hospitals, telehealth and other digital health applications such as sports training?
Vital sign monitoring is a critical component of patient care. For years, physicians and medical staff have relied on vital sign monitoring to detect and monitor a patient’s health condition. Taking one’s vitals is incredibly useful for both immediate and future health care because they help to identify the potential for any underlying diseases or conditions.
However, the importance of vital sign monitoring extends beyond hospital use. We have begun to see an increased demand for smart medical devices for use in-home and even athletic training to easily measure one’s key vital signs such as blood glucose, body temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate and respiration rate. The benefits for hospitals and clinics are reduced costs and improved operational efficiencies. For many, the benefits of smart fitness wearables and devices allow us proactively manage our health and wellness which can provide us with a better quality of life.
“For hospitals and clinics, medical staff rely on continuous vital sign monitoring as a means to obtain accurate information regarding a patient’s health, whether it’s a 911 emergency or a chronic condition. Access to real-time data regarding a patient’s vitals can be the difference between the improvement or deterioration of their condition,” said Zhao. “Moving patients and monitoring solutions from room to room is challenging and puts an additional strain on the medical staff. By equipping patients with smart medical devices, medical staff can easily monitor their vitals and be alerted in the event their condition begins to deteriorate. What’s more, by taking a proactive approach to patient care, not only is patient satisfaction improved but the strain on medical staff is significantly reduced.” stated Zhao.
Why Bluetooth for Digital Health?
One important fact to note is that the vast majority, more than 90%, of these fitness wearables and wireless medical devices are using Bluetooth technology because of its low power, low cost, and universal compatibility. Also, because of the significant improvements in wireless technology, today’s smart medical devices and wearable devices are now more affordable and accessible. This allows for a reduction in costs for both patients and hospitals.
What Digital Health applications is Cassia Networks supporting?
Zhao introduced Cassia’s Bluetooth gateways and IoT Access Controller (AC) for digital health and how Cassia is working with today’s leading medical device manufacturers and healthcare solution providers to provide today’s customers with Bluetooth IoT products and solutions that are uniquely designed for digital health solutions such as continuous vital sign monitoring.
Among Cassia’s full product suite of enterprise-grade Bluetooth gateways are the E1000 gateways. This advanced edge gateway allows the end-user to pair and connect up to 40 BLE devices simultaneously while providing long-range (up to 1 km in open space) connectivity. In addition, the E1000 gateway supports powerful edge computing capabilities with end-to-end security to safeguard sensitive data at all times.
Cassia’s IoT AC, a powerful network management solution, provides the seamless deployment and management of thousands of BLE gateways and allows the end-user to remotely monitor thousands of connected devices from one easy-to-use interface. Furthermore, the IoT AC comes equipped with a patented Bluetooth Roaming technology as well as locationing for personnel and asset tracking applications.
Data security is a critical component for digital health applications. Companies need to protect confidential patient information and comply with strict health data regulations. Cassia’s Bluetooth IoT products and solutions support advanced end-to-end security to protect data at all times and to mitigate the risks of any cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
To date, Cassia is supporting several major digital health applications: in-hospital, telehealth, and sports facilities such as gyms and stadiums. During the presentation, Zhao presented an in-hospital use case featuring global leader Medtronic. Medtronic is currently deploying Cassia’s S2000 Bluetooth Gateways and IoT AC in hospitals to manage multiple Medtronic blood glucose monitors worn by patients. This is the first large-scale deployment of a continuous real-time blood glucose monitoring solution in hospitals. What’s more, this is also the first commercial deployment of a secure and seamless Bluetooth roaming solution for use inside a hospital environment which allows patients to move freely inside the hospital without losing data or connectivity. Similarly, Cassia Networks is working with Philips to provide continuous respiratory rate and heart rate monitoring in hospitals.
For telehealth applications, Cassia is working with several partners like Chipmunk Health to support their vital sign monitoring solutions for in-home use. Cassia Networks is also working with dozens of Smart Campuses in China to enable continuous vital sign monitoring for indoor and outdoor athletic sports training programs and physical education classes.
The Future of Continuous Vital Sign Monitoring
The continued trend and importance of continuous vital sign monitoring in clinical practice is indisputable, but how to best monitor them and how frequently has always been a challenge. Now, with recent advancements in technologies and the increased use of wireless medical devices, physicians are better equipped to accurately treat a patient’s condition promptly resulting in improved quality of patient care at a much lower cost.
In the era of digital health, it is now easier and more affordable than ever for people to monitor their vital signs at home. Fitness centers, indoor/outdoor sports stadiums and even schools are benefitting from the use of smart wearables such as smart bands, smart watches and smart clothing that automatically detect key vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure and skin temperature.
In the years to come, we can expect to see new and exciting developments in medical IoT technology that will drive new digital health innovations to make healthcare more equitable, affordable and accessible for all.
“The future of digital health looks very promising and with continued advancements in Bluetooth IoT technology, we can expect to see Bluetooth IoT technology at the forefront of many healthcare IoT applications, especially for continuous vital sign monitoring. We are looking forward to working with and supporting customers and partners worldwide to help scale their Digital Health IoT initiatives” concluded Zhao.