In the Netherlands alone, approximately 100,000 patients suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. The medical examinations are now performed manually by the rheumatologist: the inflammations and swellings are assessed by squeezing and feeling the patients’ hands. Many patients experience this as a recurrent torment. Medical device company Hemics now provides a new supportive, non-invasive and fast method for rheumatologists.
The HandScan, developed by the Philips spin-off, aims at making these painful examinations obsolete. The device is user friendly: the patient inserts his or her hands through pressure cuffs and places them on a translucent hand rest. The pressure cuffs around the lower arms are inflated for a short period of time to modify the blood flow in the hands.
At the same time, the hands are illuminated to measure the speed and magnitude of blood pooling, an indication of inflammation. The HandScan hereby supports the rheumatologist in objectively assessing the disease activity in a fast, safe and painless way.
First devices commissioned
Dutch Maxima Medical Centre in Eindhoven is the first hospital in the world to commission the device, as the MMC was closely involved in its development. In the Dutch University Hospital UMC Utrecht, a study is furthermore set up to examine the cost efficiency and the effectiveness of the HandScan.
This study is financed by the Dutch Arthritis Foundation (reumafonds) and the Top Sector Life Sciences & Health through the LSH Impulse allowance. In the coming period the HandScan is expected to become available in at least six other medical centers.
Hemics aims to broaden the use of the device. A version of the HandScan that scans the inflammation in the feet is already on the drawing board. The possibility to implement the device for other diseases, such as osteoarthritis, is also being researched.