Smartphone app to prevent life-threatening, expensive emergencies

A professor from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., who recently secured a grant from the National Science Foundation, is developing a smartphone-enabled app that has the potential to control healthcare costs by proactively improving health and preventing life-threatening, expensive emergencies. If the system proves viable in the field, it could be ready for collaboration with the medical or insurance industry in as little as a year or two.

Working with graduate students, Dr. Yingying Chen, an associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of Stevens' Data Analysis and Information Security lab, developed a new method of utilizing smartphones' multiple sensors in concert with easy-to-wear wristbands that passively monitor heart rate, activity and body temperature. The system Chen's team is developing, SENSCOPS (smartphone-enabled social and physical compass system), reports the patient's vitals wirelessly to central servers at regular intervals via a mobile phone app. 

Software on the server side could be built by the healthcare industry to analyze this data and send regular updates to medical professionals, collecting and confirming routine medical information (vital signs, emotional and physiological response to medications, activity patterns) while also flagging potential emergencies in the making. A report from the app of a lack of patient motion for an unusually long period of time, for example, might signal SENSCOPS to automatically text-message a nurse, who could call or visit the patient immediately to learn more. Announcement