Health patch

Patch technology for long-term monitoring comfort and accuracy

Effective health management relies on accurate, long-term monitoring. With the ultrathin, fully disposable, multi-sensor health patch, Holst Centre has developed a medical device that is comfortable and reliable enough to be worn on the body for long periods of time. To accelerate new health patch applications, our researchers have successfully launched the Nightingale V2 investigational device.

Technology explained

At Holst Centre we are combining TNO’s expertise in printed electronics and bio-compatible materials, and imec’s low power miniaturised readout electronics to create body-monitoring solutions that are comfortable to wear while still delivering reliable, high-quality and multi-sensor data. With these technologies we can create devices, such as bandages, clothing or dedicated patches for use in hospitals, at-home care and telehealth programmes for remote communities. Many years of research and development with the health patch technology at Holst Centre now result in a reliable, waterproof, power-efficient patch with seven-days wear comfort.

The disposable health patch is built around MUSEIC v3: an all-in-one chip that measures vital health signs like heart rate (ECG), breathing rate (bioimpedance) and blood oxygen saturation. The collected information is pre-processed on chip. That significantly reduces the amount of data, which is then safely transmitted to a mobile phone, base station or the cloud. Combined with smart algorithms and data analysis, this makes it possible to develop tailored applications, such as pre- and postoperative monitoring of patients undergoing transaortic valve replacement, and the monitoring of patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Nightingale V2

To unlock the full potential of the health patch and develop new custom designed applications, Holst Centre has created the Nightingale V2 investigational device. This customisable multi-sensor platform allows researchers to determine the technical requirements and necessary measurements at an early stage of development. Offering the flexibility of a Swiss army-knife, Nightingale V2 can be configured to measure various bio-signals, including ECG, BioZ, PPG, motion and heart sounds simultaneously at very low power consumption. This year, Nightingale V2 was successfully deployed in a clinical study involving monitoring of tissue health. In this study, Nightingale V2 has proven to be an effective tool for clinical research with great potential to accelerate the development of health patch applications. Other clinical studies are in preparation, in which a variety of vital signs will be measured.

Societal benefits

Continuous health monitoring has a promising future. It will enable us to find new diagnostic methods, improve therapies and reduce hospital readmissions. This health patch is an ideal solution for long-term ambulatory monitoring with huge benefits for chronic patients or people recovering from surgery; they can be checked continuously at home without having to come to the hospital every day, making their lives easier and their treatments more effective.