UJ develops tech health monitor

Johannesburg – Following recent research the University of Johannesburg’s Institute for Intelligent Systems (IIS) has developed a low-cost, smart toolkit that may assist healthcare practitioners monitor and diagnose illnesses.

  This was after indications of a shortage of skilled staff and budget constraints being a growing concern in the healthcare industry, with the ever-increasing number of in-patients in hospitals and elderly-care facilities.

  In light of this, the device, named e-mutakalo (tshiVenda for ‘health’) is able to remotely collect, process and analyse real-time vital signs data. The device can automatically detect problems and alert the medical staff in the event of an emergency.

The device brings together technologies of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) to make real impact in society. 

  An associate professor and researcher at the IIS Wesley Doorsamy said the device can detect problems and alert medical staff in case of an emergency. 

  “This technology allows for a more natural and unobtrusive approach to continuous monitoring and observation of patients, as it works on the principle of non-invasive monitoring. It uses wireless sensor nodes, ambient intelligence techniques to monitor the patient’s comfort and condition and it is able to detect and diagnose problems,” Doorsamy said. 

  This technology is especially needed for patients seeking medical attention while healthcare practitioners or care providers are on intervals between patients, Doorsamy pointed out. 

  “This device has in-built capability to automatically alert the responsible medical staff, treating doctor and others,” Doorsamy said. 

  He pointed out that it is envisioned that this device could be deployed for home-care purposes, allowing people or patients to stay at home rather than in expensive healthcare facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes, as it provides an efficient and cost-effective alternative to on-site clinical monitoring. 

  “Accurate recording of patient data and seamless sharing among care providers, doctors and other healthcare providers is also possible through the system,” he said.

  He added that artificial intelligence (AI) plays a major role in the delivery of health services. “AI has already transformed some areas of health and medicine towards clinical decision-making. We trust that the rollout of the wearable sensing technologies might serve as a foundation for value-based care approaches while improving outcome and efficiency of healthcare delivery,” he said.

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