Researchers at Griffith University in Australia are collaborating with Huawei and Tonwo Health Clinic Technology to develop wearable devices that will help patients manage chronic conditions.
Much of the talk surrounding IoT technology revolves around the benefits of responding to real-time data. But sensors and wearables can have an impact on a slow and steady basis, too.
This is particularly the case in the world of connected healthcare. Joint research undertaken by Griffith University, Huawei and Tonwo Health Clinic Technology has proven the benefits of wearable devices for the remote management of chronic conditions. The devices are to become available to medical professionals in Australia in February.
Empowering patients with chronic conditions
The result of the research is five health wearables ready for mass production, covering everything from blood glucose levels to body fat and blood pressure.
All are designed to help patients better manage their long-term health conditions. These include hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
In terms of connectivity, the devices rely on narrowband (NB-IoT) chips provided by Huawei Technology, which send live data to an application platform. Patients will have access to all of their information and can make adjustments accordingly. GPs will also be able to monitor progress remotely.
Associate Professor Jing Sun, from Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland, will be evaluating the data as part of a pilot program on Australia’s Gold Coast in the New Year.
“Both patients and doctors can view not only historical data to make a disease diagnosis, but also manage the potential risks for other health conditions,” she said.
There is also huge scope for savings compared with traditional healthcare on a national scale. “The potential for wearable devices as part of the Australian healthcare system, when used as a self-care management for family and health-based monitoring, is projected to save billions in dollars for the healthcare system,” she said.
NB-IoT “highly suitable” for medical use cases
“Our NB-IoT real-time medical devices are first in the world and are ready for mass production now,” says John Zeng, president of Tonwo Health Clinic Technology.
“Following our research, we have five devices ready for launch: Blood pressure Monitor table, Blood pressure on arm, Handheld Pulse oximeter, Blood Glucose Meter, Body fat scale. The network in Australia will be provided by operators to support the communication between the devices and NB-IoT.”
NB-IoT devices are typically inexpensive to run, suitable for indoor coverage and rely on batteries for power. Because they generate relatively low amounts of data traffic, they can run for months or even years at a time.
Xichu Zhao, CEO of Huawei Australia, said that “The application of NB-IoT is very wide and is particularly suitable for medical and healthcare services. With our innovative IoT technology, Huawei is helping different partners on their road to success and achieving our role as the largest IoT incubator in Australia.
“The potential of NB-IoT in the healthcare industry is unlimited and we are expecting more exciting business models to come in the near future.”