If there’s an underlying common denominator among the 2021 All-Stars it’s size, portability and convenience to the end user/patient. In general, this year’s All-Stars are easily accessible and stored or even … wearable, which has blossomed in popularity within the last two years or so, due in part to pandemic-related restrictions.
Wearable fitness/health trackers
Amazon, Apple, DarioHealth, Fitbit, FitsWatch, Google, Masimo, Omron, Oura
FIELD PERFORMANCE: You’d be hard-pressed to miss all of the media attention and hoopla surrounding the emergence of a growing number of personal health trackers. Last year, Healthcare Purchasing News recognized the hand-held external temperature scanner and the wearable glucose monitor. This year adds in the smartwatches tied to smartphone apps as well as the smartphone apps themselves, necklaces, pins and even a finger ring that enables the wearer to check, record and transmit various vital signs and sleep habits to clinicians for populating the electronic health record. Such data production, collection, storage and transmission can augment – but not replace or supplant – the live, in-person exam with a clinician.
IF BENCHED: You eliminate the convenient access to basic vital signs, which means reverting to making live, in-person appointments with physicians and/or physician assistants and nurses at retail clinical outlets.
HeartLogic remote heart failure diagnostic/monitor
FIELD PERFORMANCE: This is a “personalized, remote heart failure diagnostic and monitoring” device that uses “multiple physiologic sensors with high sensitivity and low-alert burden,” according to manufacturer Boston Scientific. Basically, it’s designed and validated to provide “weeks of advance notice for detecting early signs of worsening heart failure,” citing a MultiSENSE study in a clinical journal.
IF BENCHED: Little to no warning of a potential cardiac event.
At-Home OTC COVID-19 test
Quidel (QuickVue brand)
FIELD PERFORMANCE: This non-prescription product is available at many prominent and well-known retail outlets and online and promises to provide rapid results in 10 minutes. Imagine if this were available in mid-2020 as the lines formed in remote testing stations around the country.
IF BENCHED: Long lines at remote testing stations throughout 2021 and in testing queues in places of business until vaccinations become mandated on federal, state and local levels with severe financial, legal and occupational penalties for non-compliance.
HeartGuide wearable blood pressure monitor
FIELD PERFORMANCE: While this technically can be included in the wearables category, what makes this product worth singling out is its clinical accuracy and FDA clearance to provide blood pressure and pulse rates and sleep patterns.
IF BENCHED: More frequent visits to the doctor or retail clinic, if necessary, or more effort and time in using your own 2021 Hall of Famer blood pressure cuff.
Cerebrotech Visor for stroke detection
Cerebrotech Medical Systems
FIELD PERFORMANCE: This portable, wearable neurotechnology device is a non-invasive technology designed to assist in the “assessment of fluid volume asymmetry between the cerebral hemispheres” in adult patients under neurological care. It provides real-time assessment of brain fluid distribution in about 30 seconds, facilitating earlier intervention to prevent further brain damage, according to the manufacturer.
IF BENCHED: Interest in and pursuit of early stroke detection has grown during the last few years as a way to prevent serious debilitation and mortality. In a sense, for patients and clinicians to be forewarned translates to being forearmed.
Vidashield UV24 Air Purifier
FIELD PERFORMANCE: To environmentalists, LED lights may be all the rage, but during the pandemic of the last two years for clinicians and infection preventionists alike, the growing popular choice is ultraviolet (UV) light as a way to kill microorganisms, including COVID-19, on surfaces and in the air. Although numerous manufacturers and distributors of this technology have emerged and reached out to HPN’s audience, the VidaShield UV24 garnered a considerable number of readership votes during the September and October online campaign to warrant its own spotlight.
IF BENCHED: Sure, there may exist a variety of choices and options on the market, but if UV technology as an infection prevention device were unavailable then healthcare professionals would rely on other means of disinfecting, sanitizing and sterilizing surfaces and the air. This might be more time consuming and require more effort than an automated system of filtering light. How that translates to extending the duration of the pandemic is left to clinicians and scientists to discuss and validate.