Topiramate – also known by its generic name, Topamax – can be a wonder drug for children over the age of two with Epilepsy. But one of the drug’s side effects is an increase in body temperature. The best way to manage this side effect is by measuring the child’s body temperature in an ongoing, continuous way.
That’s where the Raiing iThermonitor can come in handy, says Jared Hawkins, co-founder and scientific advisor at Raiing Medical Inc., a Beijing, China-based company that has its U.S. headquarters at the Harvard Innovation Launch Lab here in Boston. “Our approach is continuous measurement. That data can be used when managing a fever or treatment at home and in the inpatient or outpatient clinical setting,” Hawkins says. This same continuous capture of temperature can also be valuable for patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Here’s how it works: Once the iThermonitor patch is attached to the child’s armpit, the battery-powered device records the child’s temperature every four seconds and sends that information to a downloaded app on a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. Once parents have downloaded an app on a second smart device, they can monitor their child’s temperature in real time via the company’s cloud service – whether they’re in a bedroom across the hallway from their child or at work miles away.
“Parents’ greatest worry is how their child will be overnight,” says Hawkins. With readings from iThermonitor, which received FDA approval in 2012 for use with children aged 2 and up, parents can have alerts pushed to them when their child’s temperature spikes above a certain threshold.
Continuous monitoring of a child’s temperature is also helpful for reassurance that a treatment plan is actually working. With its continuous monitoring, iThermonitor can help confirm that the cold bath or the Ibuprofen is actually causing the child’s temperature to drop, and that the child is getting better. While the team at Raiing isn’t trying to replace the role of physicians in managing patient care, Hawkins notes that about a third of all children’s visits to a doctor’s office are for a fever – and his company’s solution can help put an end to those types of visits. “You go to the doctor’s office, you pay your co-pay, and all the doctor can say is ‘Treat the fever with Ibuprofen or an ice bath,’” he said. With iThermonitor, parents can monitor their child’s temperature in real time and find out immediately if the temperature gets dangerously high, which would require a doctor’s visit.
iThermonitor is available for purchase for $99, but you can also win up to ten devices by applying to Medstro’s 2015 Wearables in Healthcare Pilot Challenge, which Raiing is sponsoring. The challenge offers physicians a chance to suggest uses for existing wearables like the iThermonitor – and the opportunity to win the wearables, seed money and mentorship needed to actually implement the device in their practice. If you have a use case in mind for the iThermonitor, apply now.
Where is the iThermonitor headed? Rong Xia, a co-founder at Raiing, is excited about a small pilot of iThermonitor with single parents, who are often their families’ only wage earners. The company is also partnering with Massachusetts General Hospital on a research project with pediatric chemotherapy patients. The results of that research are expected this spring.
To learn more about the iThermonitor, watch the below video:
Aine (“ONya”) Cryts is an on-staff contributing writer for MedTech Boston. She's a political scientist by education, a writer and marketer by trade. She has written for various healthcare technology publications and also served as marketing director at several healthcare software companies in the Boston area. Cryts is an avid volunteer, pet lover and long-distance runner. Story ideas are always welcome.
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