Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


A virtual healthcare assistant for a healthier lifestyle


Anyone who has ever been told by their doctor to steer clear of certain foods, lower their calorie intake or cut down on salt knows just how hard it can be to avoid temptation and stay motivated. A virtual healthcare assistant is being developed to offer a guiding hand.

The personalised information system being created by the PIPS project will give users access to real-time healthcare advice anywhere at anytime over mobile and fixed-line devices, helping them to consistently make the best choices to lead a healthier lifestyle. People suffering from illnesses such as diabetes or obesity stand to benefit but so too do people considered at risk of developing so-called ‘lifestyle diseases’ or anyone simply looking to lead a healthier life.

“By giving people instant access to information that is personalised, based on their individual health, preferences and behaviour as and when they need it, they can make well-informed choices in a restaurant, at the supermarket or when out exercising,” explains Alberto Sanna, the coordinator of the IST project. “Healthcare shouldn’t have to be a list of things you should or should not do, because occasionally eating a steak rather than a salad is ok. It’s a matter of knowing when you can.”

The project partners are developing a virtual reality environment to train people to use the system and to educate them about healthy living. In forthcoming trials, questionnaires compiled with doctors asking them not just about their health but also lifestyle factors will be employed to draw up personal profiles. Medical knowledge that is specifically tailored to their profile will then be made available to them at the touch of a button.

The system can also be used to provide recommendations, such as reminders to take medications, and to feed information to doctors to create a more accurate history of the evolution of patients’ health and lifestyle changes between consultations.

“One of the benefits is that the system reduces the burden on doctors and improves their understanding of their patients’ conditions,” Sanna says. “But our system goes far beyond telemedicine in that it emulates the one-to-one relationship between a patient and their doctor in the virtual realm. It could also expand the boundaries of the traditional healthcare sector to include food and beverage producers, manufacturers of healthcare products and information providers all of whom can play a role in lifestyle decisions.”

Sanna likens the rollout of user-driven information and communication technologies in the healthcare sector to the discovery of penicillin. “The discovery of penicillin allowed many diseases to be cured, the increased healthcare awareness and monitoring provided by ICT [Information and Communication Technologies] could prevent people falling ill in the first place,” he says.

Alberto Sanna
Fondazione Centro San Raffaele del Monte Tabor
Via Olgettina 60
I-20132 Milan
Tel: +39-022-6432019

Source: Based on information from PIPS

Tara Morris | EurekAlert!
Further information:

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>