Treatment by television

A telecommunications engineer at the Public University of Navarre has designed a system of telemedicine for interactive digital television, allowing patients to be treated and monitored in their homes.



This tele-assistance system, the first in Spain, was designed by Alejandro Fanjul Fernández. A number of companies and government bodies have already expressed interest in marketing the application.



The system, known as ATS-Interactiva, carries out a series of check-ups and opens a channel of communication between the health care professional and the patient.



ATS-Interactiva gives doctors a complete system of monitoring patients at any time, enabling them to assess patients’ progress through measures including weight, pulse, blood pressure and glucose level.



This application could help monitor patients who are convalescing in a post-operative recovery stage but who can carry out their basic functions in an independent manner. It could also be used by elderly people who require minimal control and monitoring of their state of health on a daily basis.



The system also has an application known as an ‘interactive dosifier’ that provides a personalised reminder for the administration of medicines. When the patient is due to take medication, the system sounds an alert and a nurse appears on the TV screen to remind the patient of what has to be taken, together with a complete description or written recommendation from the doctor on how it should be taken.



The system also enables communication between the patient and the doctor through interactive messages or by electronic mail, again using the TV set.



The tele-assistance does not interfere with television viewing, as the screen can be minimised or left in the background of the TV screen, the system information appearing in the foreground only when the patient has to be reminded or she or he requests information.



The ATS-Interactiva identifies the patient by means of a smart card, so it can be used in other locations where the application is available.



Fernández hopes in future to operate the system over mobile phones with DVB-H technology. Further study is also under way on the use of sensors that directly transfer data to the system with little interaction from the user.