UP and DOST-developed RxBox vital signs monitor for COVID-19 patients now in use at Philippine General Hospital

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COVID-19 RxBox
DOST delivered 106 units of the RxBox to the UP PGH, a referral hospital for COVID-19 patients. Photo from Secretary Fortunato de la Peña Facebook.

Filipino innovation RxBox biomedical monitoring devices are now in use at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), a referral hospital for COVID-19 patients.

The RxBox was developed by a team of researchers from the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila and Diliman campuses with support from the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD).

DOST delivered 106 units of RxBox monitoring device to the UP-PGH last March 31, 2020, reported Secretary Fortunato de la Peña in a Facebook post on April 1.

RxBox is a portable bedside vital signs monitoring device that can help the hospital in providing more beds with continuous vital signs monitoring and proper care for critically ill COVID-19 patients, especially now that limited beds in the ICUs are being filled up as more and more patients are expected to require special care in the coming days.

The RxBox will be an essential tool to help in bedside monitoring of the vital signs, oxygen saturation, and electrocardiogram readings of patients diagnosed with COVID-19, especially those whose cases are severe and very ill and need continuous monitoring.

The RxBox will also lower the risk for frontline health workers as it reduces physical contact between patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

The RxBox set. Photo from Secretary Fortunato de la Peña Facebook.

RxBox provides an efficient and easier way for healthcare workers to monitor multiple patients at once. Its features include:

  1. Pulse Oximeter – measures the level of oxygen in the patient’s blood and can help detect lung and cardiovascular problems
  2. Blood Pressure Monitor – measures the patient’s blood pressure to detect cardiovascular problems especially hypertension
  3. Temperature Sensor – measures a patient’s body temperature. It can help detect fever, a common medical sign of infection and other disease conditions.
  4. Electrocardiogram – monitors the heart’s movement to pump blood throughout the body, helpful for those with acute and chronic heart problems
  5. Fetal Heart Monitor – measures the baby’s heart rate while in the womb
  6. Maternal Tocometer – measures the strength of a mother’s uterine contractions during labor and delivery

The RxBox device is one of the 20 Filipino science and technology innovations set for commercial release in 2020. The biomedical device was originally created to provide efficient and smarter medical care in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas in far-flung communities and barangays of the Philippines.

The RxBox device was developed in 2017 by the UP team to help rural doctors collect and transmit audio recordings of heart, lungs and abdominal sounds to experts to diagnose and assess the status of patients in the rural areas. The portable device remotely captures medical signals and transmits information to hospitals. It is funded by DOST and developed by researchers at the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute, and the U.P. National Institute of Physics from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, and the National Telehealth Center.

The collaboration between the University of the Philippines and DOST has brought forth several innovations that are being used in the fight against COVID-19. among them is the newly released GenAmplify COVID-19 Rapid Detection Kit and the Ginhawa (ReliefVent), a cost-efficient ventilator that can be used for both children and adults.

The UP PGH has opened its COVID-19 Hotline 155-200 inquiries from patients, donors, and volunteers.

SEND CHEERS to UP and DOST for collaborating to provide much-needed devices to help in the fight against COVID-19!

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Eldan Sambatyon
Eldan is an experienced online content writer who finds fulfillment in sharing the good side of the news to Filipinos.