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Adoption of a wireless vital sign monitor for COVID-19 case investigation and management

NeoGuard is a wireless vital sign monitor that measures 4 key parameters: temperature, respiration rate, oxygen saturation and pulse rate.

Photo of Assumpta Nantume
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Product description:
NeoGuard is a patient monitoring system consisting of the following components: wireless sensor devices, reusable wearable bands, and a software application that receives, displays, and stores data from the sensor devices. The sensor devices use reflectance pulse oximeter and temperature sensors to measure pulse rate, blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), respiration rate, and temperature from the patient. The neoGuard devices are attached to the patient’s body by reusable wearable bands and are battery powered. The devices transmit data using Bluetooth® Low Energy in a localized communication architecture. Data is received by a software application installed on a tablet. The software application is a central interface. The application displays digital values of pulse rate, SpO2, respiration rate, and temperature in real time. It includes a centralized patient dashboard view, patient information, patient vital sign trends, and backend data storage.

Using archived data: patient vital signs trends can be examined to guide clinical decision making, and the reporting functionality generates valuable data insights for hospital administrators, ministries of health and NGO partners.

b. Indications for Use
NeoGuard is indicated for adult, pediatric, and neonatal patients during non-motion conditions in hospitals and hospital-type facilities. The device is indicated to be worn on the forehead and is indicated to be used by trained health staff, including: physicians, nurses and community health workers.

c. Use environments and key considerations
NeoGuard will be used in non-sterile clinical environments including: hospitals and lower-level health facilities. The technology can also be used in non-clinical environments such as quarantine centers or for remote monitoring of patients by clinicians, community health workers or public health officials.

What is the need are you focusing on?

Continuous vital sign monitoring (VSM) is a basic tenet of specialized care in the developed world that is vastly underutilized in the intensive care units (ICUs) of most low-and-middle income countries. Despite the positive outcomes associated with VSM, the prohibitive costs of conventional patient monitors render it inaccessible to critically ill patients in the developing world.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, VSM equipment are needed more than ever to deliver high quality medical care to patients worldwide. The World Health Organization’s clinical guidelines for management of COVID-19 recognize VSM equipment as an essential component of patient care.

Health workers use vital sign measurement data to:
1. Identify suspected cases for further testing
2. Monitor COVID-19+ patients for early signs of clinical deterioration
3. Effectively triage high risk individuals
4. Assess effectiveness of treatment and disease progression
5. Manage supply and allocation of scarce resources

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Sharing an actual pivot your organization has already made

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

To fill the growing need for vital sign monitoring equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic, Neopenda has designed an affordable, wearable, wireless vital sign monitoring solution (neoGuard), that measures temperature, respiration rate, blood oxygen saturation and pulse rate. NeoGuard was originally designed specifically for newborns, but has been modified for use on neonatal, pediatric and adult patients alike. Neopenda is collaborating with implementing partners in the United States, Uganda and Kenya to avail this solution to hospitals, lower-level health facilities, quarantine centers and community health workers in need of technology to facilitate case investigation and management of COVID-19 patients.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Yes

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

The successful adoption of the neoGuard solution will have the following impact: 1. Improved workflow, performance and efficiency of COVID-19 response facilities 2. Enhanced and integrated patient record management systems 3. Improved quality of care to COVID-19 patients (higher intervention rates) 4. Lower rates of COVID-19 related complications (with minor or major sequelae) 5. Higher survival-to-discharge rates 6. Shorter length of stay in hospital The neoGuard solution will impact a number of beneficiaries: 1. Suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients will receive higher quality of care 2. Health workers will have access to valuable data to guide clinical decisions NeoGuard is suitable for use in dynamic clinical and non-clinical environments. Based on the current infection rate, we project that the technology will directly impact between 5,000 - 10,000 patients between June 2020 - May 2021. This will also have indirect benefits to communities affected by CO

What is the name of your business or organization?

Neopenda, PBC

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

Neopenda is a social enterprise creating innovative health technologies, primarily for emerging markets. Our first product, neoGuard, is a wireless vital sign monitor originally designed to fill the unmet need for vital sign monitoring in critically ill newborns in low-and-middle income countries - a population of ~8 million annually. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the neoGuard solution has been adapted to serve neonatal, pediatric and adult patients alike. The technology is suitable for use in both clinical and non-clinical settings and will play a dynamic role in both developed and emerging markets. NeoGuard will be piloted between June - August 2020 in Hawaii, Uganda and Kenya, with potential to scale rapidly by September 2020.

What is your profession?

Pharmacist and Research Coordinator

Where are you located (country)?

United States and Uganda

Where are you located (region)?

  • Eastern Africa

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Healthcare/Medical
  • Technology

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 0-10

How old is your business/company?

  • 2-5 years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Social Enterprise

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Funding- Loans
  • Funding- Investment
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- NGOs
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Private Sector
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Government
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Civil Society Groups
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Grassroots/Community Groups

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

Neopenda would like to connect with investors, grant agencies and implementation partners in multiple geographical regions. We specifically require funds to transition to mass production, and implementing partners from government, non-profit, academia and private sectors to lend technical support in scaling this solution and evaluating its clinical impact and cost-effectiveness.

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

1. Limited funding to optimize supply chain and mass produce devices that will fit a wide range of patient populations (neonatal, pediatric and adult) 2. Delays in completing regulatory processes and obtaining approvals from relevant stakeholders

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

Neopenda has learnt valuable lessons about stakeholder and end-user engagement and how to position our solution in the broader framework of handling the COVID-19 pandemic. While neoGuard is a not a standalone solution, it has real potential to contribute to better outcomes for both the individual and overall health system by enhancing the decision-making process as it relates to admissions, patient management and resource-allocation.

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

Yes, Neopenda is applying to multiple open source efforts and reaching out to a variety of implementing partners to explore opportunities to collaborate.

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Lotte Vandewalle

Hi Assumpta, this sounds like a great idea to be able to pre-screen potential COVID-19 patients without putting more pressure on each country's healthcare system and would be a good solution for people with less access to medical care.
Keep up the good work!

Photo of Assumpta Nantume

Thank you Lotte! We hope it will have a positive impact.