Quantifying early detection capabilities of telecare

The University of Missouri’s (MU) seven-year research on the early disease detection capabilities of primarily behavioral monitoring (telecare) was just awarded a National Science Foundation grant to expand to another community in Iowa. The Missouri test uses bed sensors that detect restlessness, pulse and respiration; trended data in the sensor patterns can pick up functional decline. Early detection of illness from behavioral change is nothing new; for instance, QuietCare (Editor Donna’s former company) used trending and analysis of ADLs as far back as 2006 to generate analysis and alerts to community directors about individual residents. Companies like WellAWARE and GrandCare do so now. However, the quantification of ‘early’ by Missouri’s research is news–between 10 and 26 days before the older adult or someone else detects the illness, as cited by one of the researchers, Marilyn Rantz, RN. The part that gets sticky, in bringing this from university research to a real world, profitable business model, is combining care coordination in a community, or in homes, with the abundance of sensor-based data. FBQ, anyone? New Wireless Sensors Tackle Old Problems Like Pneumonia (Information Week)

More on MU research: the FierceMobileHealthcare article has links to their research on fall detection via Kinect and their smartphone app that assesses possible disease by examining the color of the tongue. Also see our article on their gait reporting/fall detection work [TA 5 Oct 2009] with a sensor-embedded carpet.