One of the trends from the 2012 MHealth Summit I briefly touched on last week was the growing number of bluetooth and wifi enabled wearable medical devices. I think this trend will become extremely important over the next few years.
Body Area Sensor Networks combine pervasive wireless networks, small non-invasive sensors and ultra-low power consumption chips to enable the continuous collection of physiology data from ambulatory patients.
VitaLink, a project we recently worked on with Insight Product Development and our client VGBio, illustrates the potential power of combining body area sensor networks with mobile apps, cloud computing and machine learning based predictive analytics.
The Vitalink remote patient monitoring solution consists of:
- Wearable bio sensors that collect ECG, respiratory bioimpedance, 2-wavelenght pulse oximetry, temperature and 3-axis accelerometers
- An off the shelf Android based smartphone that collects these physiological signals from the bio sensors via bluetooth and transmits them via the Verizon Private Data Network
- A cloud-based analytics server which uses predictive analytics to identify significant medical abnormalities earlier than current systems are able to do.
This technology enables the daily monitoring of patients with chronic diseases and provides early notification to clinicians of a negative change.
We've only scratched the surface of where we can go with mobile, wearable sensors and big data.
In the future I can see the data this proactive monitoring system collects can also be combined with data from other sensors like activity monitors, intake monitors, weight and sleep monitors, as well as information on prescribed medications to help provide feedback on the effectiveness of different approaches to improving outcomes.