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NatureInterface > No.14 > P018-019 [Japanese]

Case study: The Latest Health Care Network System -- Masafumi Mori

case studyˇ§

The next generation health care information system.

Health care network system up-to-date.


Text by Masafumi Mori (our staff reporter)

Foreign Project Edition:

International Healthcare Projects in Progress: AMON project in, @Home Project, an E- Health Edmonton Project

Why is Helthcare Network System necessary?

If healthy state is checked regularly, and if early treatment to the abnormality found by the check is done, then, people will not suffer serious illness, and can enjoy good life.

This is not only good for a individual, but also good for the society as a whole, since medical cost can be prevented to grow.

People usually goes to doctors or to trailer clinics regularly for medical check-up, but still it is awkward, and the time interval between check-ups tends to become longer than it should be.

Now it becoming possible, thanks to the development of the information and communication technology, to be diagnosed remotely by medical specialists at a medical institute, without going to such institute, by sending data successively of various kinds of information of the body collected at home.

By the current technology with manual operation included in the process, the health care network system can be built, and since the effect of the system is big, various systems are put in practical use and thrive in Japan and abroad.

But considerable work burdens persons involved since at the input and output of information flow, measurement and diagnosis must be done manually, thus the system application is limited to a person whose need is high, such as to a serious patient receiving treatment at home or a person who lives at a distant place.

And because the frequency of measurements depends on diligence of the person using the system, the precious System may not be fully made use of.

So such a system is hoped for as having a sensor always wore and without manual operation monitors biological information in real time and sends the information to the center, where information is managed centrally and a doctor is called upon when need arise.

In such a health care network, the key developments are the biological information sensor part always wore, and the information processing part which processes successively and accurately enormous data produced from many people, and judgement by doctors and medical specialist can be done efficiently.

In the following, not only these technologies, but case studies of the developmental projects which aim at the construction of the total system will be discussed.

*

AMON project [1] was a project lasted for more than 2 years from the beginning in 2000 to develop the wearable personal health system with a sensor to monitor living body information and to confirm the effectiveness of the system.

AMON is an abbreviated form of Advanced care and alert portable telemedical monitor.

For example, by the Wrist mounted Monitoring Device (WMD) attached to the arm, heartbeat, electrocardiogram, blood pressure, oxygen saturation degree, sweat degree, a temperature, and so on are measured, and after preliminary analysis is done, data is transmitted through the Global System for Mobile Communications(GSM), such as the cellular phone, to a remote medical center, and if necessity arises, it will provide emergency procedures.

It is an international project that many organizations and companies specialized in the radio communication system, the semiconductor, the sensor, and the data handling participate from Switzerland, Italy, Israel, United Kingdom, France, and so on.

@ HOME project "2" is a project in which Fraunhofer Research Institute of Germany is one of main members..

Using sensors (for electrocardiogram, oxygen saturation in blood, movement of the body), real time living body information of a discharged patient or a patient treated at home is sent to a remote controller by short distance radio (Bluetooth is used) and furthermore sent to the center where a medical care expert stations by the third generation cellular phone line ( where UMTS is used) and if necessary fed back to families who is taking care of the patient.

A lot of companies from United Kingdom, Portugal, Greece, Italy participate in this project.

E-Health Edmonton project "3", is lead by the University of Alberta of Canada, and Japanese companies participate in the project to develop the system, and many local companies evaluate the system or cooperate to develop the system. The system is the health management system by living body information monitoring.

The project started from autumn, last year and will last for one year and six month .

New generation Wireless Wearable Physiological Monitor(WWPM) is developed in this project.

WWPM does monitoring of a state of a patient for 24 hours, and healthy data are sent through a server in home to a server of the center.

Usually a periodical report is sent back on the basis of saved data, but when an abnormal value is detected, an alarm signal is sent to site of an operator promptly and an appropriate action will be taken.

As described many projects that have an international expanse exist.

It is expected that many good and concrete results come out in future.

If the scope is limited to the real time living body information monitoring, NASA of the USA has the project called Biosensor Network which aims at health care of astronauts and the University of California Berclay has the project called Coach's Companion by which a coach can grasp conditions of a player in exercise.

[1] http://www.wearableethz.ch/projects/research/amon.html

[2] http://www.@-home-medic.net/

[3] http://www.wd.gc.ca/eng/mediacentre/2002/sept0602b.html

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