Personalised health goes mobile

Personalised health goes mobile

September 3, 2008

The future of healthcare technology has no wires. Researchers at Norut and TTL have proven that point by creating a wireless system for personalised health care.

The research project MyHealthStation was started in 2005 to develop personalised health care for patients with chronic illnesses. Originally it was built as a stationary solution, where patients with COPD could watch training videos, monitor oxygen levels, maintain a personal health diary and keep in contact with physiotherapists, trained nurses and doctors to stay fitter.

In the follow-up project MyHealthService, researchers have added mobility to the solution. Health data can now be collected by wireless sensors, read on the go by ultra-mobile computers, and synchronised with the home base through the internet.

Health diary in your hand

This is what master student Juan Manuel Cruz from the University of Sevilla has been working on for the past seven months. With the eagerness of a young researcher, he has explored the possibilities of using mobile devices for wireless sensor data acquisition and visualisation, health diary functionality, and training and educational videos.

"Now we can use a small wireless sensor that measures your pulse and oxygen levels, put it on your finger and let it automatically transmit the measured values to the Nokia ultra-mobile computer that we are using now," Cruz explains.

In other words, the system can now be used on the go and will keep track of all new measurements and synchronising them with the stationary computer back home, as soon as the tiny portable computer can find an Internet connection.

Testing the system next year

The data is then available for the patient both at home and on the move, enabling him or her to keep a track of their own health situation wherever they need to. This way, keeping an eye on for example oxygen levels are that much easier for COPD patients.

"We have now demonstrated that the technology itself is viable, and we have started the process of improving the user interface of the system and integrate the functionality even better," says research director Lars K. Vognild at Norut Tromsø.

"We believe the solution can be used by several patients groups, and we are preparing it for user-trials in 2009," he says in closing.

Contact person

Research director at Norut, Lars K. Vognild.

Project facts The goal of MyHealthService is to make it possible for chronic patients to stay at home, manage their own health better, and to have easier access to healthcare professionals. Healthcare professionals will also be able to reach their patients and provide help and follow-up as needed. The project started in January 2007 and will continue until the end of 2011. It is a TTL-cooperation between The Norwegian Centre for Telemedicine, Norut, the Norwegian Health Net, and the University Hospital of North Norway.