Wireless monitoring could allow for greater patient movement


A wireless monitoring system for people with debilitating conditions, such asParkinson’s disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), could allow healthcare workers to assess a patient’s health and the development of their disease without hindering their movements, according to an article in the May edition of theInternational Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology.

Pallikonda Rajasekaran, PhD candidate at Kalasalingam University in Tamil Nadu, India, and colleagues said that assessment of a patient’s disease state under the normal conditions of their everyday lives is becoming increasingly important in improving treatment and following the progression of many conditions as well as keeping costs down by avoiding unnecessary medical call outs and hospital visits.

So-called ambulatory investigations are also providing important clues to researchers about a range of health problems associated with the likes of PD and COPD, Rajasekaran said.

Rajasekaran and colleagues developed a real-time monitoring system for patients consisting of vital-signs sensors, a sensor network, EMRs and web portal technologythat calls on medical personnel when life-threatening events occur.

According to the research team, recent advances in sensor technology, low-power integrated circuits and wireless communications have facilitated the design of low-cost, miniature and lightweight sensors, such as movement, temperature, blood pressure and heart-rate sensors. The devices can monitor various signals, process the data from them and seamlessly integrate with wireless networks for health monitoring, the authors stated.

The team demonstrated efficacy with their integrated wireless system in terms of wireless connectivity and monitoring of vital signs of rehabilitating patients with PD and COPD, the researchers asserted.

The system was programmed so that the sensors sent out alert signals above a certain unhealthy body temperature, below a specific heart rate, or if blood pressure changes by more than 10 percent. The system itself hinges on standard wireless networking technology with a 750-meter range and hooks into a previously available web-based information portal.

Rajasekaran concluded that the system provides an effective emergency response information system to support the need for multiple parties to share information about patients’ status and locations.