Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Empowering patients to lead fully mobile lives

03.03.2005


High risk and chronically ill patients in Europe may soon find themselves able to lead independent and fully mobile lives thanks to the work of a project that has developed a Body Area Network of wireless sensors to remotely monitor vital signs.
Since this IST-funded project MobiHealth ended in February 2004, the project partners have gone on to further develop the mobile healthcare system and expect to have a commercial product on the market by early next year, potentially marking a major advancement in European healthcare with benefits for both patients and doctors.

Patient empowerment


“Patient empowerment is all about ensuring patients can be independent and can go about their daily lives in comfort, it’s about not letting a disease constrain your life, about being able to go to work safe in the knowledge that if there are complications a healthcare professional is watching over you,” explains MobiHealth coordinator Rainer Herzog at Ericsson Enterprise in Germany.

That empowerment of patients was brought a step closer to becoming reality by the MobiHealth project with the creation of a comprehensive monitoring system that is among the most advanced developed to date. “It’s highly advanced in the sense that it provides continuous, automatic data collection and transmission in real-time,” Herzog says. “Other systems generally store the data and then have to synchronise it locally with the databases of healthcare workers.”

At the heart of the MobiHealth system is what the project partners have termed a Body Area Network (BAN) comprised of wearable, non-intrusive sensors to monitor vital signs – everything from heart and breathing rates to oxygen saturation and muscular activity. “The network is very adaptable in that different sensors can be added to monitor different body functions depending on the patient’s illness,” the coordinator notes.

The sensors are connected via Bluetooth wireless technology to a Mobile Base Unit, in essence a programmable mobile phone or PDA, that then transmits the data over GPRS or UMTS to the patient’s doctor or healthcare centre.

MobiHealth on trial

Evaluation testing in 2003 showed the stability and effectiveness of the MobiHealth system as well as the feasibility of it being used in a wide range of medical fields. In trials in The Netherlands, for example, the system was used with trauma patients and pregnant women; in Sweden it was used to keep track of respiration and physical activity; in Germany to monitor cardiac patients; and in Spain it was tested in rehabilitation and homecare scenarios.

“The trials validated the feasibility of the system, not only from a technological and medical viewpoint but also in terms of acceptability,” Herzog says. “Almost everyone involved – patients and doctors – agreed that the system offered significant advantages. Patients particularly liked being monitored, with many saying that it gave them peace of mind and encouraged them to do more activities, while doctors saw that they could improve quality of care while reducing the workload.”

In an extension of the project’s original goals, the partners have also set about creating a “powerful analytical tool” to process the raw data received from the system and present it to healthcare workers in an “easy to use” format.

From the point of view of healthcare providers mobile health techniques will prove essential in the future if Europe’s overburdened national public health systems are to reduce costs while maintaining standards. By providing patients’ with remote monitoring services they do not necessarily need to take up a hospital bed or visit their doctor everyday, but will still receive the same or an even better quality of care.

That is the central premise behind the market areas being studied by the project partners for a commercial application of their system.

Towards commercialisation

“We are currently targeting the system toward four market areas that would be able to make the most out of MobiHealth initially,” Herzog notes. “People with chronic diseases, such as heart disease and asthma; people at risk, such as women with high-risk pregnancies; patients who have been hospitalised for surgery and who can be kept under observation remotely rather than keeping them in for in a hospital bed; and the pharmaceutical industry, where the system could be used to reduce the time and cost of clinical trials for drugs.”

The project coordinator also points to the potential for MobiHealth to be employed to monitor the elderly and disabled, given that the BAN can include a panic alarm and a “drop alarm” which will alert healthcare workers if a patient falls down and remains immobile. “We’ve also included a localisation system based on triangulation between mobile relay antennas to allow emergency services to locate a patient in need,” Herzog notes.

The project partners are due to perform further evaluations of MobiHealth this year in order to gain authorisation for the technology from European health authorities with the aim of having a commercial system available in the first half of 2006.

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology
07.12.2016 | Nanyang Technological University

nachricht How to turn white fat brown
07.12.2016 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>