SYN, Health IT

Leaf Healthcare raises $3.3M to commercialize patient monitoring sensors

Although the initial indication is to prevent pressure ulcers, the company is interested in applying its technology to other aspects of healthcare such as patients posing fall risks to women in labor.

Leaf Healthcare has received an injection of capital as part of an effort to commercialize a wireless monitor to track patient position and movement. It can also alert nursing staff as to which patients need to be moved. The idea is to avoid pressure ulcers, which can be easily prevented but can lead to infections and other complications, jeopardizing the patient’s condition and jacking up healthcare costs.

The company raised $3.3 million from eight investors, according to a Form D filing from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The wireless device, which got 510(k) clearance from the FDA in 2013, goes on the patient’s upper chest beneath the clavicle or at the sternum with a medical grade adhesive, according to Leaf’s website. A display on the nurse’s side shows the patient — identified by their initials and room number. A color bar displays the state of the patient’s turn status — green is good, yellow means a need for action soon and red means action is overdue.

Although its FDA clearance focuses on preventing pressure ulcers, the company has found other applications for the wireless wearable such as a fall detector. It also makes use of mapping tech so hospital staff can track the patient’s location. For patients deemed at high risk for falls, the device can alert nurses when patients leave their beds.

In a presentation at the recent Wearable Technologies Conference, Chief Medical Officer Barrett Larson talked about an emerging application for hospitals — using the device to ensure women in the late stages of labor move around more often. That’s to speed up the time it takes to give birth and reduce the need for C-sections.

In May, Desert Valley Medical Center became the first hospital to use Leaf’s wearable devices for women in labor.