Passive sensors in patient care

Average Ratings Feasibility


Meet Ann R. She is 65 and has congestive heart failure and diabetes. Ann is able to live safely at home thanks to sensors that monitor changes in her health without the need for frequent visits to the doctor. The data from the sensors signal her care team (clinicians and family members) when support is needed.

Let’s take a look at how these sensors assist Ann without her needing to do anything:
1. As Ann steps out of bed, her weight is recorded by a Wi-Fi-enabled sensor under her floorboards.

2. As she brushes her teeth, sensors in the bathroom floor mat monitor pressure points in her feet to detect early signs of ulcers.

3. A patch on her arm monitors important signals such as:
• Heart rate
• Blood-oxygen level
• Blood pressure
• Glucose level

4. Sensors in the floor and along the wall register her gait to assess risk of falling.

5. Her diuretic medication contains a tiny sensor that signals her arm patch that she has ingested the pill.

6. The signals detected by all sensors are automatically transmitted via
a secure wireless connection and stored in Ann’s personal health record. She can see the data and allow others to access it.
“Hi Ann, Please increase your diuretic dose and remember to limit your salt intake.”

If any of the health measurement signals fall outside of a pre-determined normal range for Ann, the data are transmitted to her doctor and her daughter.

*This scenario will be achievable by 2030.*

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9 Responses to “Passive sensors in patient care”

  1. There will be a higher rate on patients with chronic diseases in the next years. So I think it is important to have a system like that. There are a lot of positive things, for example patients haven’t to go in a hospital so often because the system will check the vital signs and will be able to do something before it is too late. It is also a positive thing that the medical system haven’t so much costs with the patients.

    But there exists a systen like that in Austria, so I think it can be able a little bit earlier than 2030.

  2. Dear Denise, thanks for your comment. Would you have further information about the system in place in Austria, a link or similar?

    Do you see the system/service could become mainstream and what would be the next steps to be taken for that?

    The chronic diseases is a good application area, indeed. What do you think, could this type of monitoring system be interesting also for other type of illnesses, or even for healthy?

    • The system would be a great idea to monitor people with serious diseases or elderly people with no relatives. But only if they also want to be monitored to that extent (knowing there are sensors everywhere, wearing an arm patch, permanently giving away sensitive data). Otherwise they will find a lot of ways to fool the system.

      I don’t think this will become mainstream in the next years because there are enough unanswered questions:

      *Who will finance the system?

      *How exactly will be determined whether a certain person should be monitored using this system? What if this person doesn’t want to be?

      *Where will these sensitive data be stored? What about data security?

      I would not want to be monitored like that all day and night if I had i.g. an severe heart disease. It would make me feel even more sick to know that there could be an alarm signal any moment (which also might be a false alarm). Being permanently reminded of my disease would stress me (and my diseased heart) a lot more than measuring some vital parameters twice a day and sometimes visiting the GP.

      I also would not use the system as a healthy person. I would not want to be observed and my sensitive data possibly being used to find out in which advertising I might be interested in or to increase my insurance contribution.

      Of course for people who want to have the feeling that there is always someone watching over them and therefore are feeling better it is a good option.

  4. “Lot of peaple are working on this scenario right now. I hope we arrive to this solution before 2030 as expected. Tecnology are available, but lot of problems need to be solve and make easy for all to use.
    I’m working on system for in house monitor dementia care peaple, lot of peaple ask me to solve their assistance indoor problems with this patients.”

    Maurizio Brignoli at LinkedIn Group: AALIANCE – The European Ambient Assisted Living Innovation…

  5. “It should be possible to do a lot more than this particularly with predictive biochemical sensors and within 10-15 years.”

    Dr. David C. Chilvers at LinkedIn Group: Telemedicine & E-Health

    • “David, items 3 and 4 are achievable today – with technology from AFrame Digital. And changes in gait (and falls ) are not detected through passive sensors, but through active, real-time monitoring device that looks like a watch. Passive sensors can be useless in some situations and infer wrong state of the patient in others. If you have some specific care flow to improve, I’d be delighted to chat.”

      Zina Raye at LinkedIn Group: Telemedicine & E-Health


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