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Pilot system could connect home to hospital

July 24, 2014
by Richard R. Rogoski
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Researchers at the University of Missouri are developing an in-home monitoring and alert system for seniors that would stream their health information directly from their home to their local hospital.

The system uses sensors that typically monitor vital signs as well as walking patterns, falls and the number of times an individual uses the bathroom, according to a press release.  But what is unique about this system is that all of the information picked up by these sensors would be relayed directly to the hospital for review by the individual's physician.

"In the system we’re developing, the home and hospital devices would be interconnected, which would allow more coordinated care with lower risk of complications," said Marjorie Skubic, a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the University of Missouri College of Engineering. "As patients transfer between care units, sensor data are automatically delivered to their bedsides by the integrated healthcare platform. When patients return home, the system continues to track their activity, behaviors and vital signs and send alerts if health changes are detected,"she said.

"Consider an elderly man who lives alone and falls and breaks his shoulder; when he falls, the system of sensors detects his fall and sends for help immediately,” Skubic continued. "Additionally, the physicians could evaluate video of the fall captured by the sensors to determine how the man fell or what led to the fall. The fall data also helps medical professionals educate the patient on how to prevent similar falls in the future."