Sotera Wireless Prepares to Take Pulse of Market for Vital-Signs Device

5/11/10

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an invasive device commonly used to measure arterial pressure in most hospital ICUs. The study showed “that for long periods of time the product was accurate and able to read blood pressure without any meaningful drift,” Watlington said.

Sotera is preparing to test the ViSi later this year at five hospitals in San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties. Like the previous study, this 46-patient trial will pit ViSi against the invasive method of monitoring blood pressure. If the ViSi works, Sotera will submit its study results to the FDA in late summer or early fall. Watlington expects the company to begin marketing the device during the first quarter of 2011.

When it comes to new equipment purchases, cost is always a consideration. Watlington believes Sotera can make a strong economic case to hospitals, however. Nurses spend about one-third of their time taking measurements and documenting them; because it is automated, the ViSi will reduce the amount of time nurses must devote to taking patients’ vital signs, Watlington says.

Through early detection of changes in temperature, blood pressure and other vital signs, ViSi may help reduce or lessen the severity of adverse events that Medicare and other insurers are reluctant to pay for, like hospital-acquired infections or heart attacks suffered in the hospital, Watlington says.

And sending patients home with a ViSi could reduce the need for costly readmissions, Watlington argues. Medicare generally won’t reimburse hospitals for re-hospitalizations related to the initial condition that occur 30-45 days after patients are sent home.

“If you send patients home with the device and monitor them for a short time, you have the ability to detect when bad things are … Next Page »

Denise Gellene is a former Los Angeles Times science writer and regular contributor to Xconomy. You can reach her at dgellene@xconomy.com Follow @

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