eHealth innovation at ThalesLab: IoT applied to the permanent monitoring of patients with a coronary condition

Based on a requirement for health care services, a device that uses IoT to monitor patients with a coronary condition has been recently created.  The new system, called Galeno Sys, resorts to the Internet of Things to enable de cardiac diagnosis and monitoring of patients undergoing medical treatment. 

This innovative solution, analogic at first, went digital thanks to the institutional support of ThalesLab and BID_Lab, and to the funding of Uruguay’s National Research and Innovation Agency (ANII – “Agencia Nacional de Investigación e Innovación”)

Within the context of the pandemic -and in consideration of those who require quality health care services and are also high-risk patients in relation to COVID-19-, the Galeno Sys device was digitally transformed, by resorting to the Internet of Things, in order to provide remote coverage of the studies and monitoring necessary. 

This telemedicine solution controls the quality of patient follow-up outside ICU (Intensive Care Units), while it solves significant difficulties encountered in the diagnosis of conditions that appear sporadically, such as arrhythmia or syncope.

Specifically, the type of arrhythmia known as auricular fibrillation -found in 10-15% of individuals over 65 years of age- is hard to detect, for it implies no symptoms in 50% of all cases, while it is also the cause of 30% of CVAs, which are among the main causes of death worldwide,” explained Hugo Articardi, the creator of Galeno Sys, as he stressed the significance of the timely diagnosis of fibrillations. 

Additionally, when an individual needs to regularly monitor certain parameters and indices related to his/her health (like, blood pressure, cardiac rhythm, and blood sugar level, among others), it is common for the patient to go to a health center periodically, to carry out the monitoring or the exams. Sometimes small surgeries are performed in order to implant devices that continuously register data that is later analyzed with the patient present in person.  

Today, instead of going through the surgical insertion, we have the option of using wearable devices that are now part of telemedicine methods. They are based on IoT, with sensors connected to the Internet that forward data to a server in the cloud. If necessary, they trigger an alarm for the patient to be looked after immediately. The fact that these new devices are non-invasive enables an increased quality of life for patients, allowing for their care to be done regardless of their location in the world.  

Estimations indicate that the present smart health-care market has the potential for a USD 224.86 billion growth for the period 2020-2024, and a significant part of it will relate to the remote monitoring of patients. The fact is that, these days, online care and the need to carry out certain studies that cannot be postponed is a priority issue, particularly for patients whose conditions imply a higher risk in relation to COVID-19. Such is the case of patients with heart disease conditions who require frequent electrocardiograms and the regular monitoring of their cardiovascular functions.

Galeno_Sys operates as a wearable medical device (that needs not to be implanted). Based on the IoT, and using a reading plate for ECG (Electrocardiogram), it is connected to software in the cloud to allow the record of up to six derivations by means of disposable electrodes used on the patient’s chest. 

The records are forwarded, through a cordless method, to a server in the cloud where the app analyzes the data in real time, generating alerts in the event of arrhythmia or any cardiac rhythm abnormality detected. The data is transferred regardless of the patient’s location, and independently from the action that he/she is carrying out at the time.  

The basics of this app, which resulted from joint work with the technological partner GeneXus Consulting, include a backend for the management of devices and overall setups for detecting signals. Its main function is to produce graphs that indicate abnormal values and to generate alerts leading to patients being cared for. The solution was developed by applying K2BTool patterns to integrate data accessibility and security. In the near future, it will also be included in Artificial Intelligence projects for identifying other types of arrhythmia, in addition to other projects that relate to the research on the data generated.  

Another valuable use for this device would be during home medical care services -a care system that is undergoing permanent growth-, so as to cover the increasing demand for tools to provide quality health services.

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