engineers have forged a partnership with experts in
to develop their mobile phone health monitoring system. The device, which was first unveiled in 2005, uses a mobile phone to transmit a person's vital signs, including the complex electrocardiogram (ECG) heart signal, to a hospital or clinic anywhere in the world.
Created by Prof. Bryan Woodward and Dr Fadlee Rasid from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, the system enables a doctor to observe remotely up to four different medical signals from a freely moving patient. Signals that can be transmitted include the ECG, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and blood glucose level.
Now the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) has awarded Woodward a grant, enabling him to join forces with experts in India on the project. Working with the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi), the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University and London's Kingston University, he is hoping to miniaturise the system, designing smart sensors and mini-processors that are small enough to be carried by patients and able to acquire biomedical data from them.
The network of sensors will be linked via a modem to mobile networks and the internet, and to a hospital computer. The device would then be used by doctors to remotely monitor patients suffering from chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, which affect millions of people across the world.
‘Such a mobile disease management system is long overdue,’ said Woodward, ‘especially in view of the proliferation of applications in mobile data communications. It is also achievable in a three-year time frame and should provide a step-change in improving the quality of life of patients needing expert diagnoses, and for those with pre-diagnosed conditions or undergoing post-operative care.
‘In the UK, the project will allow a more patient-driven health service, as promoted by the government to improve the efficiency of health care delivery. In India, the project will link clinics and regional hospitals in remote areas to centres of excellence. As in the UK, the Indian Government is encouraging the integration of new and existing networks; much needed because of a large population spread over a vast area.
‘I am delighted to have gained the support of the UKIERI to take this life-enhancing research to the next level, and tap in to the knowledge of experts in India.’
Clinical trials of the system will take place in the UK and India over the next three years.