Pixie Scientific, New York, N.Y.-based startup, has launched a new type of wearable biosensor that can detect a urinary tract infection (UTI), analyze the data and contact a caregiver to take action.
The Smart Pad uses a biosensor, software with artificial intelligence algorithms and cloud-based communication platform to monitor for the presence of chemical traits associated with UTIs. The sensor’s color pattern data is then analyzed by the software and sent to a care team member via the cloud. Clinical teams can then request additional testing to confirm the findings and seek treatment in a timely manner.
Being able to detect the presence of an infection earlier can improve care and keep residents out of the hospital, both of which save providers money. More than 283,000 seniors are hospitalized for UTIs each year, with an average hospital bill of $26,000 each, notes the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
The side effects of a UTI include a higher risk of falling, dehydration, disorientation, agitation and the risk of secondary infections. Residents with advanced cognitive decline often have difficulty expressing themselves and communicating early symptoms of a UTI, and their disorientation may be misread as a dementia characteristic.
“Screening for UTIs is particularly important for older adults, especially those with latter stage Alzheimer's Disease or other dementias,” said Katy Fike, PhD, gerontologist and co-founder of Aging 2.0 , in a press release announcing the launch. “Smart Pads that enable caregivers to continuously monitor seniors have exciting potential to improve the quality of life and quality of care.”