"The relationships we have developed will lead to a lifetime of mutual cooperation and personal friendships for all involved."
David Mulvaney, Principal Investigator – Loughborough University
The project established that mobile and internet technology can be effectively used towards detecting these diseases at an early stage. The UKIERI-funded research has developed a technology that allows the transmission of data representing vital signs such as the Electrocardiogram (ECG), blood pressure and blood glucose level through mobile communication networks to medical institutions. This successfully eliminates the patient’s need to travel to a hospital for recommended regular check-ups, and the corresponding cost involved, while empowering the clinicians in their role as lifesavers in critical cases by removing the time-lapse in access to a patient’s vital data.
Under the project, the staff and students of IIT, Delhi with Loughborough University have also formed an M-health partnership hub. Another ‘Universal Intelligent Support System’ has been developed by Kingston University, while Aligarh Muslim University is working on the medical signal processing. The project is supported by AIIMS in conducting experiments to check the effi ciency of the system.
In the UK, the project has initiated a patient-driven health service, whereas in India, regional hospitals and clinics are being linked in remote areas to centres of excellence, thereby instantaneously upgrading the level of healthcare provided. It effectively broadens the reach of the growing Indian population to expert medical practitioners and in turn enables them to get easy and quality diagnosis.
The major success of this collaboration is the development of a complete wireless body area network to acquire body parameters. This ‘body area network’ is linked via a modem to mobile networks and the internet to a hospital computer, enabling doctors to monitor patients remotely. Mobile telemedicine or M-health’s strong selling point is that M-health systems are generic in application, which offers good development opportunities because they can be adapted to transmit non-medical signals, e.g. video images, speeches and environmental data. Proof-of-concept prototype systems have already been completed. But this research is expected to undergo a step change by implementing pre-production systems for clinical evaluation.
The outcomes of this research are of huge commercial interest. As a result, a technology implementation plan, with the expectation of wide use of mobile health systems throughout the UK, India and elsewhere is being developed.