Pilot Test of a New Personal Health System Integrating Environmental and Wearable Sensors for Telemonitoring and Care of Elderly People at Home (SMARTA Project)

Lucia Pigini, Gabriele Bovi, Claudia Panzarino, Valerio Gower, Maurizio Ferratini, Giuseppe Andreoni, Roberto Sassi, Massimo W. Rivolta, Maurizio Ferrarin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The increase in life expectancy is accompanied by a growing number of elderly subjects affected by chronic comorbidities, a health issue which also implies important socioeconomic consequences. Shifting from hospital or community dwelling care towards a home personalized healthcare paradigm would promote active aging with a better quality of life, along with a reduction in healthcare-related costs. Objective: The aim of the SMARTA project was to develop and test an innovative personal health system integrating standard sensors as well as innovative wearable and environmental sensors to allow home telemonitoring of vital parameters and detection of anomalies in daily activities, thus supporting active aging through remote healthcare. Methods: A first phase of the project consisted in the definition of the health and environmental parameters to be monitored (electrocardiography and actigraphy, blood pressure and oxygen saturation, weight, ear temperature, glycemia, home interaction monitoring - water tap, refrigerator, and dishwasher), the feedbacks for the clinicians, and the reminders for the patients. It was followed by a technical feasibility analysis leading to an iterative process of prototype development, sensor integration, and testing. Once the prototype had reached an advanced stage of development, a group of 32 volunteers - including 15 healthy adult subjects, 13 elderly people with cardiac diseases, and 4 clinical operators - was recruited to test the system in a real home setting, in order to evaluate both technical reliability and user perception of the system in terms of effectiveness, usability, acceptance, and attractiveness. Results: The testing in a real home setting showed a good perception of the SMARTA system and its functionalities both by the patients and by the clinicians, who appreciated the user interface and the clinical governance system. The moderate system reliability of 65-70% evidenced some technical issues, mainly related to sensor integration, while the patient's user interface showed excellent reliability (100%). Conclusions: Both elderly people and clinical operators considered the SMARTA system a promising and attractive tool for improving patients' healthcare while reducing related costs and preserving quality of life. However, the moderate reliability of the system should prompt further technical developments in terms of sensor integration and usability of the clinical operator's user interface.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGerontology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jan 19 2017

Keywords

  • Active aging
  • Personal health systems
  • Reliability
  • Smart home
  • Telemonitoring
  • Usability
  • Wearable sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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