Author: Zachary Ellis
Telemedicine utilizes telecommunication technology to support non-contact, distant clinical health care. The emergence of telemonitoring technology has paved the way for improved disease management and clinical outcomes. The rapid growth in telemedicine has fueled research into portable and wearable monitoring technologies, and the emergence of these high-tech wearable technologies are changing the face of medicine. Telemedicine is enabling more efficient tracking of symptoms and monitoring of patients with chronic conditions. Blood serum analysis is the standard for determining a patient’s baseline status. Conventionally, blood serum samples are drawn via intravenous catheters from the patient’s forearm and are subjected to an array of assays for hemo-analysis. However, recent studies have demonstrated the potential use of infrared radiation (IR) for non-invasive measuring of heart rate (HR), blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), blood glucose levels (BGL), cholesterol, and blood acidity. The HealthGuard proposes coupling this non-invasive IR analysis of blood serum with a blood pressure (BP) monitor to generate a small wearable SmartWatch. The Wifi and Bluetooth equipped HealthGuard SmartWatch would allow for the continuous monitoring, recording, and transmittance of patient data providing reliable records that can be accessed easily and remotely by the treating physician. The HealthGuard SmartWatch integrates two basic technologies: light spectroscopy and sphygmomanometry. Continuous monitoring of SpO2, BGL, cholesterol, and blood acidity may potentially be measured by illuminating blood serum over a plurality of discrete wavelengths around the red and near-infrared spectrum. The intensity of the reflected or transmitted light from the blood serum will be analyzed and compared to predetermined reference points to determine the values of each criteria, while the time interval between transmittance will be indicative of the heart rate. The sphygmomanometer will provide additional measurements of arterial blood pressure at designated time intervals. The collected data from both instruments will provide an encompassing overview and record of patient's health. The built-in Wifi and Bluetooth technology further streamlines patient monitoring as the HealthGuard SmartWatch has the ability to be synced with additional wearable monitoring equipment (ECGs, electronic stethoscopes, pacemakers, etc). The HealthGuard SmartWatch may be synced with such devices as a ZIO XT or PiiX Patch to allow for the continuous monitoring and tracking of patients with chronic heart conditions with easy and comfort. The HealthGuard SmartWatch is designed to streamline patient monitoring to aid in prevention of acute onsets, while reducing cost and increasing feasibility for patients. Telemedicine is paving the way for improved chronic disease management and clinical outcomes, but the future relies on the ease of access and comfort of monitoring equipment. Small, wearable, telemonitoring technologies have the potential to amplify access to specialty health care while increasing patient comfort and access.