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Remote Health Sensing for Mobile Telepresence Devices

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000236337D
Publication Date: 2014-Apr-21
Document File: 3 page(s) / 58K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

In the healthcare industry, mobile telepresence devices are beginning to emerge as powerful tools for reducing costs, improving speed of care, and maximizing the use of skilled resources. For example, in home healthcare settings, these devices (i.e. robotic nurses) are gaining attention for enhancing level of care, patient independence, and patient safety in the home. This technology is designed to be used by skilled healthcare professionals for monitoring their patients when they cannot be physically present or in areas where continuous attention to patients is required in places like waiting rooms. This idea proposes equipping these mobile telepresence devices with non-contact sensors to detect specific conditions in target patients.

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Remote Health Sensing for Mobile Telepresence Devices

In the healthcare industry, mobile telepresence devices are beginning to emerge as powerful tools for reducing costs, improving speed of care, and maximizing the use of skilled resources.  For example, in home healthcare settings, these devices (i.e. robotic nurses) are gaining attention for enhancing level of care, patient independence, and patient safety in the home.  This technology is designed to be used by skilled healthcare professionals for monitoring their patients when they cannot be physically present or in areas where continuous attention to patients is required in places like waiting rooms. This idea proposes equipping these mobile telepresence devices with non-contact sensors to detect specific conditions in target patients.

Background:

Current technologies used for monitoring vital signs and a variety of cardio-respiratory events involve contact sensors that require the individual to wear such devices constantly.  Such a requirement can lead to discomfort, psychological dependence, loss of dignity, and may even cause additional medical issues such as skin infection when sensors have to be worn for an extended period of time.  Elderly patients, infants, and those suffering from chronic medical conditions are more likely to suffer from such negative effects of continuous monitoring. Currently mobile telepresence devices are used extensively for audio/visual communication.  In the healthcare industry, however, they hold the promise of being able to collect and transmit many more types of important healthcare information.  For example, transmitting high resolution images of surgical wounds, blood test data, and human vital information (blood pressure and heart rate) are just a few of the current prospective applications being entertained by the many companies operating in this space today.  The use of an unobtrusive, non-contact, imaging based person identification and the  monitoring of various health measures can go a long way towards making telepresence devices more valuable. Non-contact means are also well suited for mobile robotic devices to alleviate some of these issues mentioned above.

Noncontact methods of extracting vital signs in the form of heart rate using video cameras and ambient light received considerable attention in recent years, but their ability to reliably solve clinical challenges has not been demonstrated yet. To date, past work assumed cooperation of the subject being monitored. In some cases, face tracking was used to extract relevant regions of interest for detection of vitals that allowed for very limited mobility of patients while directly facing the camera. However, all existing methods fail when the subject is non-cooperative. Patients waiting for attention in ERs are not expected to be cooperative. The same is true for patients being continuously monitored in hospitals and residential areas.

The idea proposed is to combine non-contact, vide...