Healthcare Technology Featured Article

October 15, 2014

Philips and Radboud University Develop Wearable Prototype to Monitor COPD Patients Continuously

Royal Philips and Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center (RUNMC) recently announced that they had developed a prototype of a wearable device that collects data on COPD patients around the clock. It will give both medical personnel more data to help with treatment and the patient will know their physical condition on a regular basis.

Koninklijke Philips N.V. is the official name of Royal Philips, a large technology corporation based in Amsterdam. Many of its consumer electronics products are sold in the U.S. under the Philips brand.

RUNMC is a university hospital affiliated with Radboud University Nijmegen, also in the Netherlands. It has research institutes for health sciences, neuroscience and molecular life and numerous departments including cardiology, dermatology, endocrine diseases and oncology.

One of the problems that COPD patients and doctors found was that regular visits to the doctor were important but not enough. All they can do is give a snapshot of the patient’s condition at the time of the visit. The wearable device would let patients know what condition their heart and lungs were at any time and medical staff would have a complete set of data between visits.

The device is roughly the size of a phonebook and can be worn on the patient’s waist or kept nearby. The patient attaches a sensor to their body, which transmits data to the device. This information is then uploaded to a cloud provided by Salesforce, making it available to doctors and staff.

The team of RUNMC and Royal Philips plan to develop devices that collect data from other chronic diseases in a similar manner. They are also working on an API library, which will allow software developers to create apps that interact with the devices.

Devices like these have the potential of becoming a breakthrough in medicine. Not only do they help chronic disease patients know current conditions and provide complete data to doctors, they could also be a valuable tool in research for diseases that currently have no cure. It’s not possible to have a doctor follow every patient around 24/7 to collect vitals and other important information, but this is the next best thing. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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