Mobile monitoring of the health status of patients with infectious diseases

Infectious diseases are often detected too late and the necessary treatment measures are not initiated in time, which increases the risk for patients. As part of the M3Infekt project, a sensor bracelet is being developed that allows monitoring of the relevant biosignals using the example of Covid 19 patients. 

© Fraunhofer EMFT/ Bernd Müller
Detection of infectious diseases using wearable sensors to measure vital parameters

Infectious diseases are among the most common causes for illnesses and even death worldwide. These diseases can be quite malicious, as demonstrated by the current Covid19-pandemic. An initially mild course of illness can suddenly and rapidly deteriorate, leading to severe complications and even death. Detecting such sudden deterioration of the health condition of the patients is the key factor here. If the right therapy can be initiated early enough and adapted to the situation, it can have a positive effect on the further course of illness.

Such close monitoring of patients, including e.g. EKG, blood pressure and pulsoxymetry, is currently only carried out in intensive care stations. In normal hospital wards, care facilities, ambulatory care or even at home, where patients with mild courses of illness are normally staying, such monitoring is not provided today. As a result, the deterioration of the disease is often recognized too late and the necessary action is not initiated in time. This increases the risk for the patients and often prolongs the necessary therapy time.

Sensor bracelet for continuous monitoring

n the project M3Infekt with ten Fraunhofer institutes and four medical partners, a prototype for a modular and mobile sensor bracelet will be developed, for monitoring the relevant biosignals of e.g. Covid-19 Patients in order to be able to recognize the deterioration of their health condition. Fraunhofer EMFT contributes to the project with its expertise in flexible electronics and system integration. The selected sensors for monitoring the disease parameters are integrated on a thin, flexible carrier foil. An overall concept for power management, energy storage and energy harvesting shall enable the energy-autarkic operation of the system. Integration of an energy-efficient communication interface is essential for the online transmission of the sensor data into a central database for analysis and processing for this special purpose.

Deterioration of the health condition is accompanied by several non-specific symptoms, which makes the right diagnosis difficult. Therefore, sensor data fusion as well as data analysis using methods of machine learning and artificial intelligence shall be utilizd in the project. This enables creating a characteristic pattern from several separate non-specific parameters, which makes an exact diagnosis and valid statements concerning the patient status, course of disease and prognosis possible.  

Until the system can actually be used on patients or in the hospital, further development work is necessary, which will take some time. In the next step, the development results achieved so far are to be further developed to product level together with industrial partners and transferred to the next phase with the necessary clinical studies.

 

 

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