PORTLAND, Ore. -- As medical sensors monitoring both people and their environment proliferate, Freescale Semiconductor aims to reintegrate them with a Home Health Hub (HHH) reference design that handles all popular wired and wireless protocols -- a kind of universal router for connecting cloud computers to home health care.
At the MEDICA conference (Dusseldorf, Germany, Nov. 16-19, 2011) Freescale will describe how its HHH integrates WiFi, Ethernet, USB, Bluetooth and ZigBee into a single router that connects medical sensors (inputs), to tablet displays (outputs), to medical analytics in the clouds (processing) and to doctors advise online.
The HHH aggregates medical monitoring devices -- such as blood pressure monitors, blood glucometers, weight scales, pulse oximeters and similar--for cloud computers which can store the data for display to doctors, as well as run analytics the results of which can be displayed directly on the patient's on their tablet display, such as advising an insulin injection to a diabetic from a glucose reading. The HHH's intelligent iMX-28 processor--based on an ARM-9 core--can also communicate sensor readings directly to tablets for display as well as securely share health data with service providers.
"The World Health Organization claims there are hundreds of millions of chronic disease patents worldwide--over 75 percent of our healthcare spending," said Steven Dean, Freescale’s Global Healthcare segment leader. "Remote patient monitoring devices based on Freescale's Home Health Hub can cut health care costs by allowing patients to remain at home, as well as provide peace of mind for family members."
The HHH is compatible with Continua medical devices including blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters and weight scales. It is also compatible with Microsoft's HealthVault cloud computer service which can log medical data to secure online repositories that lets users organize, store and share health information with their doctors. The HHH also includes a "panic button" capability that uses a sub-1 GHz radio to activate a personal emergency response system (PERS) with the HHH.
The HHH is software is compatible with Android, Linux, Windows Embeded Compact 7, and QNX's Neutrino realtime operating system (RTOS) on the i.MX-53 Sabre tablet platform.
It will not be surprising if insurance companies mandate that their policyholders have some form of home monitoring system like this in the future to ensure that they get the medical attention they need in time.
Chris - http://americanvisitorinsurance.com
Regarding medical grade technologies, safety should be a major concern. No doubt. Freescale has introduced the home health hub reference platform as just that - a reference platform. This is an important clarification. Freescale has not introduced this as a medical end product. As designed and intended, enabled by our i.MX28 processor and wireless technologies, the Home Health Hub Reference Platform is a tool to assist and speed medical device development for our current and potential customers. This platform as released has 4 radios included for example. We really expect our customers to BOM optimize the system for their use, potentially employing one or maybe two radios within the actual end product. Likewise, we would expect our customers to employ appropriate functionality and safeguards as they normally would in any medical or healthcare application. Freescale is not a medical OEM, but a semiconductor supplier providing additional value well beyond supplying ICs.
Global Healthcare Segment Lead
"Dirty data" is especially dangerous without contextual information. Zero heartbeat, blood pressure, or respiration is cause for immediate alarm - unless the patient is still standing and talking to you. In that case, perhaps the sensor wire disconnected or the battery failed. As a minimum, there should be a means for the patient to override a false alarm. [The same issues apply to false alarms from security alarms on buildings and stock trading algorithms that take action on every data glitch in the data feed.]
My concern is an assumption of medical grade reliability from non-medical grade technologies, leading to patient incidents. Our organization has deployed som health hubs and have experienced two major failures, one of which left a patient unconcious with no access to emergency services.
Medical is a great market to be in for the future as us baby boomers age. It just makes me wonder if all these advancements will increase or decrease the cost of care. It's obvious that we can't afford the price tag.
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