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This small device helps health workers detect potential effects of COVID-19 vaccine

UCHealth is having its staff and providers wear a BioButton, developed by a Golden company, as part of its post-vaccine monitoring program.

DENVER — As medical workers begin to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, a local hospital system is deploying a wearable device made by a Golden company to monitor their health.

Some recipients of of the vaccine at UCHealth will be wearing a BioButton, a medical device the size of a coin that does continuous monitoring of the wearer's vital signs, such as temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate, UCHealth said.

The BioButton is the brainchild of Golden-based BioIntelliSense, the company that created the device and monitors its data.

Dr. James Mault, CEO of BioIntelliSense, said his company developed the device prior to the pandemic to monitor some patients, such as those at risk of infection or those receiving chemotherapy, after they leave the hospital.

"When COVID came along, we essentially had a sticker, a little Band-Aid-sized device, that could monitor for fever and infection and literally all the signs and symptoms of a COVID infection," Mault said. "They started being used by UCHealth and other hospitals for taking care of COVID patients, but now obviously this is relevant to people receiving the vaccine."

UCHealth, which began vaccinations Thursday at University of Colorado Hospital, said staff members and providers will wear the BioButton for two days before getting a vaccine dose and for seven days after.

“The participation of our frontline health-care workers in this vaccine monitoring program serves as an important operational milestone in scaling the program for the larger population, particularly with vulnerable patient populations and seniors in long-term care environments,” said Dr. Richard Zane, UCHealth chief innovation officer, in a press release.

“We work closely with partners like BioIntelliSense to not only navigate the ever-changing landscape of health care but collaboratively develop the innovative tools that are transforming the way patients receive care," said Zane, who is also a professor and chairman of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Mault said the BioButton's original intent was to help doctors and nurses to keep their patients safe, and the UCHealth program is a test of its potential to provide more data on recipients' reactions to COVID-19 vaccines.

"Working with UCHealth has allowed us to be able to do an operational test, show that it works, and to be able to look at the data and see where will this deliver benefit," Mault said. "And then, yes, it should be more widely available for the appropriate clinical scenarios over the next weeks and months."

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