Rising life expectancy and declining birth rates are ageing the population of most developed countries all over the world. As a result, in a few years there will be a large portion of senior citizens in our society, therefore, it is more important than ever to figure out ways to improve their well-being and quality of life.
Unfortunately, older adults require health care services more than other adults, meaning they need to be monitored more often by their doctor. Most of the time, the measurement of a couple values is enough, but the patient is forced to make long trips to the hospital or to pay expensive medical appointments, which in the end, compels the elderly to not have the appropriate treatment. Besides, if a problem is not detected in time, serious problems can arise, resulting in a longer and more difficult treatment.
Recent improvements in sensor technology, specifically on the ANT+, whose main advantage is to work more than one year only on a small battery. This technology can be compared with Bluetooth 4.0, being designed for the collection and transfer of sensor data.
These sensors can be used with several devices — heart rate monitors, speed sensors, blood pressure monitors, foot pods, among others —, but their standalone use is quite limited. However, combining those sensors with a smart-phone, creates an independent solution that without any more requirements has an enormous potential. The advanced computing power and connectivity features available on a standard smart-phone, allow an almost endless number of possibilities, whereas current applications are only scratching the surface.
This thesis describes the research made on current mobile health monitoring systems, targeting the elderly and the development of an elderly-oriented solution, serving as a proof-of-concept of the research done. It provides a scientific contribution, by specifying a system whose components and characteristics were never combined before, when applied to the health monitoring of older adults; also, by developing a prototype for that system and evaluating its success with end users, the elderly.
The proof of concept solution allows the patient to measure himself with ANT+ sensors connected to his Android smart-phone. The measured data is stored on the mobile device for later reading and sent through the network, to a medical entity. This entity can, whenever desired, analyse that information and give an appropriate feedback to the patient through a web application.
Author: Ricardo Lagido
Type: MSc thesis
Partner: Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto