Researchers at the Sotiria e-Health Unit in Greece are working on a project that uses ICT solutions to give independence to chronically ill patients and the elderly.

Dubbed NEXES, the project was borne out of the EU-funded HealthWear project, which created garments that have the ability to monitor people's respiration, pulse rate, blood oxygen and skin temperature.

Hospital outpatients could be issued with these 'smart clothes' to monitor their compliance with exercise programmes or check for cases of sleep apnea.
A Portable Patient Unit (PPU) is used to collect the data, which is sent via a mobile connection to alert health professionals of deterioration in a patient's health.

Alexis Milsis, a research engineer at the Sotiria e-Health Unit, said that the NEXES programme is far more ambitious in its outlook: 'While HealthWear was limited in evaluating the deployment possibilities of using wearable devices for a specific programme, in the case of NEXES we plan to use an umbrella of ICT solutions to support programmes.

'The aim is to use "smart clothes" to allow doctors to monitor patients' compliance with prescribed outdoor activity, exercise programmes, as well as remote monitoring of sleep oxygen desaturation episodes.

'So in our effort to support the personalised care plan prescribed for each patient, we will also try to provide a personalised version of a system more appropriate for their individual needs.'

The team is currently seeking business partners to roll out a commercial version of the system in the near future.