Health check

A team of EU-funded researchers has succeeded in embedding sensing devices directly into a vest to help physicians keep an eye on their patients.


A team of European Union (EU)-funded researchers has succeeded in embedding sensing devices directly into a vest to help physicians keep an eye on their patients.


The so-called Healthwear system was supported with a €990,000 (£855,000) grant by the EU’s eTEN programme.


‘Remote monitoring is ideally suited to patients suffering from chronic diseases or recovering from an incident, such as a heart attack, who would otherwise have to spend longer in hospital or visit their doctor more frequently for check-ups,’ said Dr Theodore Vontetsianos, one of the lead researchers based at the e-Health Unit at ‘Sotiria’ General Chest Disease Hospital in Athens.


Until now, remote health monitoring systems depended on sensors strapped to users’ limbs or chests connected to large equipment. The Healthwear system collects all the information from the sensors on the vest into a small device that then transmits it via a secure general packet radio service (GPRS) mobile connection to a central server.


‘By embedding the sensors in a vest that patients feel comfortable wearing and requiring only a mobile-phone-sized device to gather and transmit the information, the system allows patients to be more active and independent,’ said Vontetsianos.


Doctors can access a patient’s electronic health record (which stores his or her information) via a secure TCP/IP connection, in either near real-time or offline mode.


The Healthwear consortium consists of Greece’s COSMOTE Mobile Telecom, ATKOSoft, the Sotiria General Chest Disease Hospital, Spain’s Hospital Clinic I Provincial de Barcelona (HCPB) and Italy’s Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele and Milior.


Source: ICT Results