Smart Bandaid: #SafeHealthcare

The recent outbreak of Ebola and the fight against it has been a complex and taxing one for the human race.

With no vaccine or medicines developed yet, the fatality rates have been as high as 90%, and more cases are being reported every day.

The ones most at risk are the doctors and caregivers who work at dangerously close proximities to the patients. One of the challenges the international health community faces is safeguarding the health of the caregivers of Ebola-stricken individuals.

As of April 2015, as many as 864 caregivers have been infected in the African countries, with 503 deaths.

This challenge may just have a solution soon.

At South by Southwest (SXSW) this year,The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) unveiled a Multisense Memory wearable – one that can help doctors monitor Ebola patients from a safe distance.

Smart Bandaid

Dubbed the ‘Smart Bandaid’, this wearable could be a game-changer in the treatment of Ebola.

While working with Ebola-affected patients, doctors note that using medical tools like stethoscopes becomes a challenge, because they bring caregivers in closer proximity to the patients.

Caring with Safety

A flexible, sensor-rich rubber patch, the Smart Bandaid can be attached to a patient’s sternum to take a baseline vital rating of heart rate, temperature and oxygen levels, and makes it possible for doctors to eliminate the use of a stethoscope.

This helps caregivers to track patient progress and even administer treatment, all from outside the area of risk. At the moment, the beta version uses a USB cable to transmit data, but the final version is slated to be Bluetooth-compatible. The readings can then be done on a screen in a room that’s at a safe distance from the affected patients.

In addition to the specially-constructed suits that Ebola caregivers use, this invention can significantly improve safety of the caregivers. Eliminating the risk of infection puts doctors and other caregivers in a better position to fighting the disease in the long run.

The Smart Bandaid is a testament to how far wearable technology has come – from personal style statements to being aides in fighting deadly diseases that plague mankind. And this, is only the beginning.

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This post is a part of our monthly People’s Insights brief for April – Part 2: The Mobile & Wearable Web

Melanie Joe

Melanie Joe

Melanie is Consultant - Research and Insights at MSLGROUP, based in Mumbai. She tracks inspiring initiatives in the digital space for People's Insights.

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