Jefferson Health Tests an mHealth Wearable for Pneumonia Detection
Researchers at Jefferson Health’s Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center are studying whether an mHealth wearable used to monitor breathing in asthma patients can be adapted to detect signs of pneumonia in patients with lung cancer.
The researchers – Shivank Garg, MD, a fourth-year resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology, Maria Werner-Wasik, MD, a Professor of Radiation Oncology, and Adam Dicker, MD, PhD, a Professor and Chair of Radiation Oncology at Jefferson – are using the ADAMM (Automated Device for Asthma Monitoring and Management) patch, developed by Health Care Originals.
The three-inch, triangular patch measures respiration rate and characteristics, wheezing, heart rate and temperature, as well as the user’s activity level.
It’s part of a new wave of digital health devices that aim to enhance remote patient monitoring by giving the care team access to continuous biometric data. Along with patches and wearable monitors, healthcare providers and researchers have been studying the efficacy of tattoos, sensor-embedded bandages, clothing, even ingestibles.
Jefferson’s multi-phase study will focus on whether the ADAMM patch can also accurately detect radiation pneumonitis, an inflammation of the lungs in patients undergoing radiation treatment. Those patients who develop pneumonitis often don’t experience coughing, chest pain and congestion until weeks or even months after treatment, making it difficult for the care team to catch the condition at an early stage.
Since the project aims to collect data from patients at home, Garg, Werner-Wasik and Dicker will also be looking to determine whether the digital health patch can be worn comfortably for long periods of time.
“Can patients wear the device as often as we’d like them to?” Dicker asked in a press release issued by Jefferson. “Can they remember the proper way to charge the device, apply the device? What do they think of the device and the intervention as a whole? Is it acceptable to them, do they mind it, do they feel comfortable wearing it?”
In a later phase of the project, Dicker and his colleagues will look to determine whether the data gathered from the patch can be used to detect pneumonia before it actually sets in, enabling the care team to intervene and prevent hospitalization.
Finally, the researchers will also look to gather patient-reported observations (PRO), such as side effects to treatment that doctors might not see.
“If we’re going to compare the data we get from the device and we want to look at the quality of life, it is important that we’re using PROs as a measure to compare to because they are better correlated to how patients are actually doing,” Garg pointed out.