VITELE: vital signs transmission

Following the research line of other initiatives at European and international level, the basque company VICOMTech and Fraunhofer IGD are working together in the development of a VITAL compliant platform for representation, storage and communication of vital signs. The platform will be flexible enough to be used in multiple platforms (PDA, PC, etc.), following the manager-agent architecture of the standard, with an open representation schema and extension possibilities. As a proof of the validity of the platform, it will be tested and integrated in several ongoing projects of the division Medical Applications of Fraunhofer IGD, such as the @HOME – Remote home monitoring of patients.

Current Results and Future Work

An initial successful prototype has been tested in July during a saty of 2 weeks of a VICOMTech researcher in Fraunhofer IGD, for representing and transmitting data from an ECG connected to a pocket computer, to a central server. Improvements and extensions include total automation of signal acquisition and transmission, as well as testing in other existing telemedicine platforms.

The VITAL standard

Telemedicine platforms offer a good solution in areas of difficult geographical access or with lack of proper infrastructure, as well as in the unobtrusive monitoring of patients during their normal, everyday life. In the last years, a number of international research projects have focused in exploring the telemedicine possibilities in various contexts.

However, in the real world the uses of telemedicine are still restricted and not available in a widespread and not available and accepted fashion. One of the reasons for this is the lack of standards for the representation and transmission of vital signs. Therefore, the isolated efforts of the research community have serious difficulties of integration, and commercial products based on proprietary representation formats are not compatible with each other, impairing the fast development of telemedicine solutions.

For these reasons European Committee of Normalization (CEN) has defined a standard called VITAL (Vital Signs Information and Representation), which defines the way in which human vital signs can be represented, stored and communicated. It has been only recently approved, and is still ongoing several adaptations and changes. A challenging research issue is to integrate this new standard in existing and new telemedicine platforms to verify, extend and improve it.

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