Monday, November 8, 2010

Sense4Baby: non-invasive wireless fetal and maternal monitoring

West Wireless Health Institute Announces Development of Its First Engineering Prototype

Today, the West Wireless Health Institute (WWHI) announced the development of its first engineering prototype, Sense4BabyTM, a non-invasive wireless device designed to make fetal and maternal monitoring more readily available to expectant mothers anywhere in the world, wherever cellular or Internet service exists.

Such capabilities could significantly increase access to fetal and maternal monitoring via low-cost wireless technologies and reduce the burden of care associated with high risk pregnancy. According to UNICEF, 80 percent of maternal deaths could be prevented if women had access to essential obstetric and basic health care services, including monitoring technology.

"Sense4BabyTM has the potential to transform the way many high-risk pregnancies are monitored, almost anywhere in the world, by leveraging low-cost and proven wireless technologies," said WWHI Chairman and Founder Gary West. "Our focus on low-cost solutions gives us the opportunity to impact many, many more lives and reach expectant mothers who may not otherwise have access to care."

WWHI, founded in March 2009 by the Gary and Mary West Foundation, is one of the world's first research organizations dedicated to lowering health care costs by innovating, validating, advocating for, investing in and commercializing wireless technologies to transform medicine. The Gary and Mary Foundation has committed nearly $100 million to WWHI to date, with $55 million earmarked for internal engineering research and development.

"Maternal mortality remains a persistent and preventable global health challenge in many parts of the world," said Don Casey, WWHI's CEO. "The Institute recognizes the need and the opportunity to address this challenge with a uniquely engineered solution that leverages low-cost technologies. The ability to monitor both maternal and fetal wellbeing – at home, at work, wherever a patient may be during the course of the day – creates a far more complete picture of their condition. Ultimately, we want to help this population stay healthy and avert a preventable crisis."

Women with high-risk pregnancies require monitoring several times each week during the last months of pregnancy, and must often alter job and family responsibilities for repeated visits to a provider. In many areas of the world, the burden is exacerbated by long distances to the nearest clinical facility. Sense4BabyTM is designed to create ease and convenience for the patient, while improving the provider's ability to access data anywhere the patient resides.

"Sense4BabyTM is an evolution in standard cardiotocography, which typically requires patients to be tethered to a hospital or clinic bed or making frequent trips to a doctor's office," said Dr. Joseph Smith, Chief Medical and Science Officer, WWHI. "Our engineering team integrated proven and low-cost technologies into a wireless prototype that could potentially be applied in home, hospital, or ambulatory settings. Timely transmission and interpretation of fetal and maternal health data could significantly ease many of the burdens faced by high-risk patients."

Cardiotocography is standard technology for measuring fetal heart rate and uterine contractions, and is typically administered in a clinical setting for 20-30 minutes per visit. WWHI's Sense4BabyTM prototype integrates the functionality of traditional cardiotocography and meets existing standards of care. Its advantages include:

* Ease of use (portability, ease of gathering data)
* Ability to view data anywhere cellular or Internet service exists (via smart phone, web portal, etc.)
* Ability to store data electronically and interface with electronic medical records, where available
* Significantly lower cost to the end-user

Sense4BabyTM is an engineered prototype investigational device and is not available for commercial distribution or professional use. WWHI is exploring feasibility studies and trial opportunities in the U.S. and globally.

For more information about WWHI, please visit


The West Wireless Health Institute ( is one of the first medical research organizations in the world supporting the exploration and application of wireless technologies to advance infrastructure independent health care. Founded in March 2009 by the Gary and Mary West Foundation, the nonprofit Institute is dedicated to innovating, validating, advocating for, investing in and commercializing wireless technologies to transform medicine. Its mission is to lower health care costs by accelerating the availability of wireless medical technology. The Institute is based in San Diego, California, the global center for health care innovation.

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