Maryland startup Rhemisphere, LLC has licensed a unique, "all-in-one" patient monitoring system invented by clinical researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).
Henry R. Rossell, Jr., CEO of the startup firm, signed an agreement with UMB for the right to commercialize the system, which is called "Blink". The system is an invention based on software that constantly updates and displays up-to-the-minute analytical data from laboratory tests on a patient.
Rossell is pictured above (right) with UMB officials Nancy Cowger, PhD, licensing officer, and James L. Hughes, MBA, vice president for research and development.
"Rhemisphere and our Blink product uniquely fill a critical need that has gone unaddressed for as long as anyone can remember" says Rossell. He said Rhemisphere wants to improve the ability of teams of doctors to monitor conditions at any time.
"Hospitals can now have a software solution that takes the lab information and provides it to clinicians in any critical care environment in a manner that is clear and up to the minute, avoiding repetitive logon sessions or phone calls to get the latest lab information," says Rossell. "We fundamentally believe that our technology addresses the inherent disconnect between the hospital's laboratory and its physicians.
The technology, titled "Real-Time Patient Vital Data Monitor", was co-invented by Marcelo Cardarelli, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, School of Medicine at UMB, and his colleagues Yan Xiao, Ph.D., and Vinay Vaidya, M.D., who now work at Baylor Health Care System and Phoenix Children's Hospital, respectively. Cardarelli said, "We were reluctant to start up a company because the need for something like this was so obvious, I was sure someone out there had done it before."
Cardarelli's team developed the prototype after results of a study showed a surprising amount of time and logistics it took them to make their rounds in intensive care units. A glaring problem, he said, was that the laboratory data of blood and other body fluid tests often doesn't lend itself to the quick assessment needed during an emergency. "In the ICU, you need rapid access to the data," he said. "That data consists of a very large amount of values collected in the electronic medical record, which were originally developed to be used in the outpatient setting."
In a typical hospital setting, patient data is compiled in three ways: results from a physical exam, monitoring from instruments reading a patient's vital signs, and laboratory data.
The new technology allows all the specialist physicians to see streamlined data at both the patient's bed and on monitors in their offices. They get first-hand information, says Rossell, and thus can meet virtually with other members of the healthcare team anytime to respond quickly to changes in the prognoses.
Cardarelli explains, "We usually don't come in at 5 a.m. to collect the data needed to make rounds. Meanwhile residents are there, harvesting all the data and spending anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes per patient to log in to get to that data. Added to that, is the fact that perhaps the data is given to you when the residents or nurses are tired. It could lead to clerical errors. This saves time and potentially avoids some errors inherent in paper based systems."
Rossell says a number of hospitals in the Baltimore/Washington area have an interest in testing the invention. "We feel our product enhances the productivity and technology used in the hospital laboratory by creating a user friendly interface for the acute care setting. Our goal is to make our Blink product the standard of care for viewing lab results in the critical care setting."
Rossell is a 16-year veteran of the medical device field. He says that many new ideas to improve patient care in hospitals germinate from doctors and nurses seeing a need and finding a solution with a new device. Rossell joined Rhemisphere on a part-time basis in March, 2009 to begin work on commercialization of Blink technology. He began his career at American Hospital Supply Corporation/Baxter Healthcare in 1977. He has played leadership roles in a number of corporate turn-arounds.
With the new monitoring system in place, each specialist will arrive at the bedside and be able to read 48 hours of lab data translated into the current status of the patient, he says. "Essentially, Blink is a potential game changer in the way patients are cared for in the critical care environment."