TelemediCare applies artificially intelligent bio-sensoring for distant patient monitoring

Trondheim 23 April 2001Eight partners from Norway, Sweden, Greece, and Lithuania are working together in a 30-month project, started in January 2000 and funded by the European Commission, to introduce a new concept for tele-supported home care patient monitoring, utilising open platform telemedicine solutions. This TelemediCare initiative will apply the latest generation of intelligent bio-sensors, called Medical Net Instruments (MNI), that are able to communicate through a PC with professional health care providers. The MNIs will provide several kinds of real time monitoring services 24 hours a day to collect high-resolution medical data, crucial to both the surveillance and analysis of the home-based patient's condition.

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TelemediCare aims at developing the technological infrastructure to bring the hospital to the patient. Since it is much more comfortable for an individual to remain at home and enjoy the daily freedom of flexible mobility in the familiar environment, 4 tiny non-intrusive sensors have been designed to be worn on the body to measure electrocardiogram (ECG), blood pressure, oxymetry, and temperature data in real time. The information is stored in the Local Patient Record via a wireless communication module, called Bluetooth, which links the four sensors and the Local Patient Computer (LPC). The LPC uses pre-defined procedures to process and analyse the various patient data.

At regular intervals and whenever a critical need occurs, the LPC, equipped with an artificial intelligence system, triggers alerts and accompanying data to the health care provider's Control Centre (CC), based on the assessment of single or multiple elements in the patient's medical status. The LPC is able to establish an automatic two-way communication over the Internet via a secure Web-based interface. The control centre will immediately provide the necessary follow-up by sending an ambulant team of remote "arrive-on-call" health care providers. Medical experts and practitioners from Karolinska Hospital in Sweden and municipal health care providers in rural areas of Norway and Greece will participate in the testing, validation, as well as evaluation of the TelemediCare system.

The project team will develop innovative methods of Patient Record storing, in order to integrate the data provided by the miniaturised bio-sensors with standardised Hospital Information Systems. The improvement will be based on storing the measured data for monitoring in a dynamic and structured way with contextual information about how the collected data is related to each other. Case Based Reasoning (CBR) and the induction of decision trees supported by information quantity will be applied to develop new algorithms for the evaluation of data, detected by the bio-sensors. A Medical Verification Database will control the statements which the artificial intelligence system produces according to the information delivered by a combination of medical modalities.

The TelemediCare open platform infrastructure can prove its efficiency and usefulness in a variety of health care settings, not only in advanced home and hospital hotel care, but equally in mobile, primary, and personal care. Especially the hospital hotels constitute a new trend in Scandinavia. They cover a need for patients who are not ill enough to remain in the hospital but who are too weak to stay at home. The nearness of the hospital makes the patients more safe and secure, whereas they have the opportunity to share the hotel with relatives without disturbing other people. TelemediCare can support the need for continuous or interval monitoring, with the distance to an emergency care unit being short enough, should something occur. More details on the project are available at the TelemediCare Web site.


Leslie Versweyveld

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