Bed pads measure pressure load. Diapers indicate when they are full.
But a closed loop does not always have to take place directly in the body.There are also bed pads with electronic sensors that measure the pressure exerted by the patient on a particular part of the bed. If the patient remains in the same position for a long time or if the pressure is badly distributed, changing the bed pad – e.g. by means of air padding – ensures that the patient does not suffer bruises or even open wounds such as pressure sores while lying in bed.
Countless possible applications are being tested at present. “In the field of minimally invasive surgery, for example, research is being carried out to create profiles of patients that evaluate how they move, what their vital parameters are and what specific characteristics they have so that the subsequent therapy can be adapted to the patient,” says Koller. And for the areas of paediatrics and geriatrics, diapers are being developed that set off an alarm when they are full.
Of course, it is also conceivable that the data collected by a sensor is transmitted directly to the clinic or doctor via the Internet. “Basically, that’s a great idea, which may well become established at some point. At the moment, however, the danger of misuse still outweighs the direct benefit for the patient,” says Koller. Consequently, there is still little willingness on the part of those concerned to consent to the transfer of personal data. In most cases, this is not necessary anyway if the entire loop is self-contained and there is no need for a control authority such as a clinic or a doctor.