By Katie Wike, contributing writer
An integrated patient monitoring system being developed by researchers at University of Missouri will be capable of streaming live data between patients’ homes and hospitals.
University of Missouri researchers are developing an integrated patient monitoring system they say could help providers monitor patient conditions even when they aren’t at the hospital. This is different from other patient monitoring because the information can be streamed live for healthcare professionals to review.
“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,” said Marjorie Skubic, a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the MU College of Engineering in a press release. “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.”
According to iHealth Beat, the sensors also monitor how often a patient uses the bathroom and potentially diagnose a urinary tract infection. They measure patient pulse, respiration rate, and even provide guidance on avoiding future accidents.
“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,” Skubic said. “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.”
And according to the research team, patient safety isn’t the only benefit; significant cost savings are expected with the implementation of this system as well.
“These ‘smart home’ systems have the potential to create tremendous cost savings for individuals and health care systems, especially if used throughout the country,” Skubic said. “The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimates that the United States spends $31 billion annually for preventable hospitalizations among adults, and many hospitalizations could be avoided through better integration and coordination of medical care. By streamlining the healthcare operation into a cohesive system, we will save costs, provide better care, and achieve improved health outcomes.”