In recent times, we’ve seen a growing number of hospitals and health systems deploy machine learning and other isotopes of AI to identify patients at risk for decline. The results have been powerful, with hospitals saving millions, increasing efficiency and improving patient care using these tools.
Now, in what may be a first, the FDA has approved a device which brings some of the power of machine learning to work on remote monitoring data to the home.
In February, the agency cleared the Current device, which is made by Edinburgh, Scotland-based vendor Current Health, for use in hospitals as an on-body hub. Providers including Mount Sinai, Banner Health and parts of the UK National Health Service now use the Current, an “all-in-one” wearable which is designed to track vital signs with an ICU-level degree of accuracy.
The use of the device in a hospital setting is probably a good thing, but not revolutionary. However, the recent clearance of the device for use in patient homes could potentially a much bigger deal.
Now, providers can discharge patients to home with the Current device, which continues to track signs such as respiration rate, pulse ox, pulse rate, skin temperature and activity levels. It also integrates with and collects data from third-party devices tracking metrics such as glucose and blood pressure levels, weight and core temperature.
In addition to monitoring objective metrics, Current also collects feedback from patients via a chatbot, whose questions are governed where possible by defined disease pathways.
The piece de resistance comes after all of the data is collected, though. In addition to tracking patient vitals remotely and interacting with them using the chatbot, the system runs machine learning routines and analyzes this information.
When it identifies signs that provide an early warning that a patient’s health is slipping, the Current kicks out a relevant alert to the provider. In addition to notifying the provider that something might be amiss with their patient, it closes the loop, making attempts to connect the two using secure text messaging and video visits as needed.
I haven’t field-tested the device (though given my status as a chronically-ill patient I probably should). However, if it delivers as promised the Current could be evolving in a very positive direction.
If the device can be taken home from the hospital, and patient monitoring continued on a similar basis, it could potentially provide a level of continuity between in- and outpatient care which is unlike that available in most such transitions. This could be powerful.
Not only that, I’m intrigued by the notion that physicians could track patients in both the hospital and the home using the same dataset. There’s a cleanness to this approach which I really, really like, as there are few things we can do to coordinate across the spectrum of care than by playing from the same deck.
That’s it. I’m definitely going to reach out to Current Health and see if I can get my hands on a test model of their device. There’s a lot to look at here.