New Smart Socks Help Prevent Patient Falls

Pup smart socks

Palarum LLC., a Lebanon, Ohio-based startup has developed smart socks that can reduce the chance of patients falling. PUP (Patient is Up) is the most technologically advanced, nurse-centric, patient mobility system in healthcare. The company has raised $3.8 million in a Series A round of funding.

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Medical errors are the third leading cause of hospital deaths today. A patient falls in a U.S. hospital every 2 minutes. There are approximately 1 million patient falls in the U.S. hospitals every year. Injuries from patient falls cost acute care hospitals across the U.S. millions of dollars each year.

As chief nursing officer at West Chester Hospital in 2014, Patrick Baker urgently sought a viable solution for a critical hospital problem: patient falls.

“So patient falls and patient safety are big issues in the U.S. hospitals,” Baker said. “I’ve been a nurse for over 30 years, worked at hospitals my whole career and I see the impact patient safety and patient falls have. So what we wanted, we said Ok, patients get a sock because of the non-skid tiles floors, so why not have a smart sock so when the patient hits the floor, it lets the nursing staff know that there’s a real-time safety event occurring and we can respond and help that patient before they have a fall.”

Baker decided to do something about it. To pursue his idea for a smart patient sock, in 2016 Baker cofounded Palarum LLC, headquartered in Lebanon, Ohio.

Created by research and development team at Palarum, PUP smart sock uses the latest eTextile wearable technology, plus advanced robotics, processing power, and an unprecedented nurse notification system.

Pup smart socks

Here’s how PUP works

The bottom of the sock is made of e-textile material. There are 3 sensors on the bottom of the sock and these are actually fiber woven into the sock, and it carries the message through the sock up to the sensor to communicate to the hospital staff.

When the patient gets out of bed, an alert goes out to the nursing staff, then it’ll search and find the three closest nursing staff in real-time. The system is smart enough to know which nurses are on duty, what nurses are in the cafeteria and the three closest nurses will be notified. And then when the nurse walks in the room, it clears the alert by proximity, because the system is smart enough to know that the nurse is in the room it sends a message to the other two that a nurse has already visited the patient.

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Baker said this technology can be deployed in hospitals, nursing homes, physical therapy, rehab, at home and more. All you need is a Wi-Fi and the sock will send notifications to the selected nurses.

“We’re getting ready to launch a 9-month study at Ohio State University Wexler Medical Center, we’re gonna enroll 2,500 patients. We’re also embracing Christian villages community in Mason doing physical therapy and rehab applications, and then we also have a weight-bearing application that we’re looking for sports orthopedic medicine. So, if the doctor tells you ‘hey we want you to be 10% weight bearing on that foot because you had hip or knee surgery,’ this sock can actually measure in real-time the weight-bearing application piece,” he said.