AT A GLANCE: PR push for plaster-sized vital signs monitor

Plaster-sized? Are they like nicotine patches then?
Yes. These are so-called ‘digital plasters’, which can be worn on the body by patients. They contain a low-power battery and a microchip which can sense information from the wearer such as heart rate, temperature or limb movement and transmit it from the plaster to whoever needs to see it.

But wouldn’t that be too late in an emergency?
Indeed it would, which is why they won’t be used for acute illnesses. Instead, they are aimed at patients who need to be monitored at home, perhaps because they have heart problems or some other chronic condition.

Who’s handling PR?
EvokedSet, which launched last year. In addition to handling media and analyst relations for the client, Toumaz Technology, the web specialist manages Toumaz’s website and produces online investor and internal newsletters. Coverage has included features in The Economist, on BBC World Service radio programme Digital Planet and on BBC Online. The agency’s co-founders Lloyd Pople and Nicky Davis lead the account.

And what key selling points are in its programme?
Because of their dimensions, the plasters are less intrusive for the patient than the larger, paperback-book sized monitors which are currently in use. Since they can transmit to patients’ mobile phones or PDAs, and from there to medical professionals, they also offer real-time, easy access to patient information.

Won’t that ease of transmission create information overload?
The clever thing is that they don’t transmit all the time. The chip can be programmed to show only the unusual data from the patient – such as an irregular heartbeat.

Cost sounds like it could be a problem?
Apparently not. The technology is cheap: the manufacturer is talking about getting the price down to £5. Effectively this would make them disposable – and therefore potentially popular with the NHS. The first chips are now shipping to Toumaz’s development partners such as medical device companies to continue trials.

Do the plasters have other applications?
Outside of healthcare, with the Beijing and London Olympics looming, they are also being thought of as a means of monitoring elite athletes as they prepare for competition in training.

For further information visit www.toumaz.com

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