Innovation for Independence

Monitoring equipment for elderly and home care and monitoring using existing infrastructure.

Publish date:
16/01/2015 - 1:18pm
Last updated:
16/01/2015 - 1:18pm
Author:
John Woods

With the advent of Wireless Sensor Networks monitoring of vital health information of patients, home-based care has become possible. Patients are monitored for a variety of vital life signs in real time using existing infrastructure in the comfort of their home. The monitoring instruments : bathroom scales, glucose meters, pulse oximeters and panic buttons etc. transfer data remotely in realtime, log and raise the alarm as necessary. Patients can press a panic button attached to their wrist to alert health-care staff. Current offerings are disparate, proprietary and use a number of different standards. The opportunity to combine readings from diverse equipment and make conclusions is lost and may result in treatment delay. If sensing devices were networked using the same protocol and analysed on a single device, unusual conditions can be identified before harm occurs to the patient; preventative medicine. Networked sensing devices converging to a single control point form a composite monitoring instrument that can analyse and even predict conditions. Data obtained from these devices can be accessed realtime or from archives for diagnosis based on historical as well as current information. Patients and family have peace of mind and doctors do not make important decisions on a whim.

Insight & Impact

An important issue facing doctors, paramedics and other medical staff is to analyse the situation instantly, given a set of readings from disparate analytical/sensing instruments and biomedical devices. There is always an element of human error associated with any decision making when the patient finds themselves in a critical condition. Our proposed system constantly analyses the information from the instruments (blood glucose, body temperature, blood pressure, pulse rates etc.) and detects whether the patient is in a stable or unstable condition. It is by virtue of the composite device and the built in intelligence that enables the instrument to predict and reach a conclusion in a time evolving manner. The instruments communicating using the Internet Protocol can be networked to the concerned healthcare operative allowing timely decisions without the need for emergency measures. Archiving also provides an audit trail useful for post analysis and decision support system. The composite device heavily focusses on ‘preventive care rather than remedial cure’ which has been a major focus for health institutions across the globe for a number of years.