Wednesday, 23 April 2014
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Pocket-sized medical advice

Patients could self-manage chronic diseases at home using a new pocket-sized device that captures data from a user’s wireless medical devices.

The VenaHub from Cambridge Consultants, a UK technology product design and development company, uses a single chip to wirelessly capture health data so that it can integrated into a customisable online health information portal.

The device can plug into the USB port of a PC and can collect data from devices even when it is not plugged into a computer.

Cambridge Consultants is marketing the VenaHub single-chip device, which is currently only in prototype form, as a reference design for manufacturers to purchase and integrate into mobile products.

The manufacturer would also run a web interface to allow patients to create their own health management portals.

An asthmatic patient’s portal could, for example, be tailored with charts of their recent inhaler use, reminders for refilling prescriptions or doctors’ appointments or lung function data plotted against their peak flow chart — all juxtaposed against the coming week’s pollen forecast.

The VenaHub embeds both IEEE 11073, an emerging communications standard for data sharing between medical devices, and the Bluetooth Medical Device Profile, a chip-based technology that can securely transport medical data. According to Paul Williamson, head of Wireless Medical at Cambridge Consultants, previous to VenaHub, in-home monitoring technology was something that was expensive and limited to people with serious conditions to reduce their hospital visits.

‘We are well aware that this technology will move to the mobile phone, but in the interim the home PC provides a valuable piece of infrastructure,’ he said. ‘What out health hub does is allows the PC to become a management centre for your health and wellness at a price point that can be addressed to a much wider audience.’

 

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The Engineer April 2014 Online

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