I recently interviewed the co-founders of Life Patch, a non-invasive real-time temperature monitoring system for children with febrile seizures. I learned about this potential new seizure monitor now in development, and how it may be a help to people living with epilepsy.
It turns out co-founders, Aaron Goldstein and Collin Hill, heard about Living Well With Epilepsy from the Wharton School Management 100 team that helped us transition to a new site last year. Aaron and Collin were kind enough to answer a few questions about their project and how they got started.
LWWE: What is Life Patch?
A&C: Life Patch is a small, non-invasive, real-time temperature monitoring system designed for children who suffer from febrile seizures. Parents of children who experience febrile seizures must always be aware of a rise in their children’s temperature. Conventional thermometers can be difficult to use, uncomfortable for children, and most concerning, they only provide a one-time temperature reading. They cannot be used to monitor dangerous temperature spikes in children.
LWWE: How does Life Patch work?
A&C: Life Patch consists of two parts – an electronic patch or “Brain Unit,” which is attached to the child via a disposable patch, and the “Relay Unit,” which sits in the same room as the child. The Brain Unit monitors a child’s core body temperature via an infrared thermometer and transmits data real-time through a nano-bluetooth chip to the Relay Unit. The Relay Unit uses proprietary algorithms to convert the measured temperature into an accurate reading of the child’s core body temperature and sends the temperature data to Life Patch’s servers. Using a smartphone or any Internet connected device, parents can constantly monitor their child’s core body temperature in real time and even receive alerts when their child’s temperature has reached unsafe levels.
To see a demo of Life Patch, check out – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ocrit_jFybg
LWWE: What other applications do you have planned for Life Patch?
A&C: In addition to the temperature monitoring system we are creating a seizure monitoring bracelet that will alert caregivers when the patient has suffered a seizure. Our product is unique because it can be worn on the wrist and does not need to be tethered to another device.
LWWE: How did you come up with the idea?
A&C: In 2012, Collin was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a rare blood cancer. A serious issue during his healing process became clear during his chemotherapy treatments. Throughout the entire chemotherapy regimen and after when a patient leaves the hospital, it is essential for the patient to have access to medical facilities if the patient’s fever exceeds approximately 100°F.
Collin often slept through his fevers at home, and upon waking up, was rushed to the hospital with a fever of 103°F or higher. There was no solution to this issue offered by his doctors, and Collin remained frustrated with the lack of technology available to resolve the problem, and the problem of thousands of other patients.
LWWE: Why is this project important to you?
A&C: After researching other medical conditions that correlated with high fevers, the Life Patch team was first exposed to the febrile seizure market through Aaron’s cousin Caroline. Caroline had experienced febrile seizures as a young baby, and her mother had no way to remotely monitor her temperature for signs of fever. Caroline’s mother expressed her frustration to Aaron over this issue, which had caused a great deal of distress for a long period of time.
This personal connection acted as a call to action for Aaron and his team, catalyzing the rapid development of the Life Patch technology. Additionally, current seizure monitors are expensive and difficult to use. We believe that people at risk for seizures should have access to an inexpensive, easy to use monitoring system.
LWWE: What about Life Patch inspires you?
A&C:We have received tremendous feedback and words of encouragement from people all over the world who have heard about our product. In addition, our partnership with the Febrile Seizure Organization has allowed us to work directly with the parents of children who have experienced febrile seizures to ensure that we create the best possible product.
We have spoken to a large number of people with epilepsy who are dissatisfied with the current seizure monitoring systems. They have told us what they are looking for in a product, and this is the product that we are working to build.
LWWE: What do you hope Life Patch can do?
A&C: One in every twenty infants around the world experiences febrile seizures. In the United States alone, there are over 750,000 children who suffer from febrile seizures. These children would directly benefit from Life Patch, as currently there is no way to constantly monitor their temperatures for signs of fever.
In addition to children with febrile seizures, Life Patch would be beneficial to children who have been diagnosed with ailments such as Familial Mediterranean Fever, Periodic Fever Syndrome, and Dravet Syndrome.Life Patch’s customers are not limited to individuals with diseases and medical conditions that are affected by body temperature fluctuations; other potential markets include athletes who must monitor for heat stroke, women who are tracking ovulation, and soldiers in combat.
In addition, our seizure monitoring system would be useful to not only to children who experience febrile seizures, but would allow for continued expansion to new patient communities such as the epilepsy and autism population.
LWWE: Are you gathering information from potential users as part of your Beta phase?
A&C: We are. In fact, we would appreciate it if potential users of the temperature monitoring system could fill out this survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2HV5R35
LWWE: What are your next steps in developing life patch?
A&C: We are currently working on developing the beta versions of both the temperature monitoring system and the seizure monitoring system. We are looking to collect a list of potential users for our products for at home trials. In addition, we are looking to gain insight from potential users about our product.
LWWE: Where can we learn more?