Market Insight

Stitches may hurt, but at least they are getting smarter

August 08, 2016

Roeen Roashan Roeen Roashan Senior Analyst, Healthcare Technology
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The world of digital health is constantly expanding, with both major and minor innovations that are improving the state of medicine and the quality of healthcare. Getting stitches, a medical procedure dreaded by most people, is bound to become digitized. Tufts University, in Medford, Massachusetts, has opened the door to smart stitches, by applying conductive ink and hydrophilic coating to threads, and enabling a number of features, including measuring pressure, pH values, and chemical composition. Measuring glucose concentration and skin temperature are also possible through smart stitches. Wireless connectivity is enabled through a module, to which the smart stitches send data. 

The value in such an innovation lies mainly in analyzing tissue health. Through the different metrics, such as pH values and chemical composition, doctors can monitor if a wound is recovering according to plan, allowing them to assess the risk of a potential bacterial infection. It is important to draw a distinction between smart bandages and smart stitches, as smart stitches are invasive and therefore allow for more precise monitoring.

Tufts University’s efforts in smart stitches are still in its early stages, and an actual marketable product may be three to five years from introduction.

For questions or inquiries, please contact Roeen Roashan, Roeen.Roashan@ihsmarkit.com.

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Healthcare Technology
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