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Mercury Patch

Team Members:
  • Kelly Lacob
  • Sean Mattson
  • Matthew Nojoomi
  • Maddie Wilson
  • Alison Wong
  • Sam Zschack
  • Justin Sacks, MD, MBA
  • Clifford Weiss, MD
  • Bill Padula, PhD
  • Andrew Malinow, MD
  • Amanda Owens, CWOCN
  • Bill Lansinger
  • Youseph Yazdi, PhD, MBA
  • Soumyadipta Acharya, MD, PhD


Pressure ulcers are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue, usually over a bony prominence such as the sacrum, ischial tuberosities, heels, or back of the head. They occur as a result of prolonged pressure compounded by secondary factors such as shear and moisture, and can begin to form in as little as two hours—a window smaller than the length of many common surgeries or the frequency with which healthcare providers are able to regularly check on their bedbound patients. The extent of damage from prolonged pressure does not become apparent until days later, making it difficult to know where or when was the precipitating event and how to act to prevent it. Existing risk scores miss 60% of patients who go on to develop pressure ulcers and current preventative methods have a high financial and time cost, limiting widespread implementation for all patients.

Despite being classified as Never Events by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in 2008, meaning they are avoidable and therefore unacceptable, 3-6% of all patients still develop pressure ulcers while in hospital, leading to more than 1.8 million new cases in the U.S. every year. Not only are hospitals not reimbursed for the cost of treating these wounds, with an average cost of $37,000, but hospitals in the lowest performing quartile also receive cuts in overall federal reimbursements. Altogether, pressure ulcers cost the U.S. health system over 11 billion dollars annually, equivalent to 44% of total wound care spending.

Our solution, the Mercury Patch, is comprised of two main components: a wireless pressure-sensing adhesive patch, and a software user interface. The adhesive patch is approximately 4 inches in diameter and provides force-offloading, shear protection, and moisture control while collecting pressure data via a smart-sensing layer. The patch can communicate wirelessly to any device, displaying current pressure, pressure over time, how much the patient has been moving and when he or she was last repositioned. The system can also integrate with the patient’s electronic medical record, streamlining documentation.

From the data provided, doctors and nurses will have objective data on a patient’s pressure ulcer risk and be able to provide targeted interventions and care plans. By checking the pressure readings via the device, they can also be assured that patient repositioning has been effective. Since the Mercury Patch is low-cost and integrates into existing workflow, it can be used preventatively for all patients. Not only will this improve the quality of patient care and save hospitals money, but by providing a record of movement it will help ensure that patients are getting the necessary activity toavoid other serious complications. The Mercury Patch is the only option on the market that empowers healthcare providers to provide their patients with proactive, informed, and personalized pressure ulcer prevention and care.

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