Elderly monitoring system would link home, hospital

University of Missouri researchers are developing a sensor network between home and hospital to provide integrated care for the elderly.

The system differs from others in its ability to streamline information-sharing and optimally provide better care to patients, according to an announcement.

Using this system, if an elderly man falls and breaks his shoulder, the system would call for help immediately. Physicians could review video of the fall to determine its cause and perhaps help the man prevent falls in the future.

The system would provide information to the hospital bedside, and would continue to monitor the patient when he returns home.

Marjorie Skubic, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, and her colleagues have installed sensor technology in assisted-care facilities that monitor walking patterns, falls and other problems.

She hopes to help the elderly live independently for as long as possible, and provide them and their caregivers peace of mind by providing alerts to potential problems. Timely and effective care can save money for patients and for hospital systems as well.

These medical advances, including near-constant monitoring, save the lives of patients who would have died in years past, but do cause an uptick in readmissions and hospital costs.  

The growing elderly population will help boost the global market for patient-monitoring devices to more than $22 billion by 2018, according to a report from MarketsandMarkets.

With the proliferation of monitoring devices, healthcare systems face the challenge of engaging patients enough to see the benefits of telehealth in managing their chronic conditions.

To learn more:
- find the announcement