Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

CNN Labs: Sensors in Healthcare

November 20th, 2010 / in research horizons / by Erwin Gianchandani

CNN Labs:  Sensors monitor older people at home []CNN’s John Sutton has written a really great article describing sensor networks — and how they’re radically altering the way older patients lead their lives.  John describes how sensor networks — installed in mattresses or on doors, refrigerators, etc. — are being used to monitor motion and vital signs, and to look for breaks in people’s normal routines.  And these networks are linked to the Internet, so they can alert friends, family members, and doctors anytime something seems awry.

It’s a terrific exposé about how far we’ve come in an area of health IT research

The sensors know when Charlton Hall Jr. wakes up to go to the bathroom. They know how much time he spends in bed. They watch him do jigsaw puzzles in the den. They tattle when he opens the refrigerator.

Sound like a Big Brother nightmare?

Not for Hall. The 74-year-old finds comfort in monitored living.

“It’s a wonderful system for helping older people to stay independent as long as possible,” he said, sitting in the living room of his 7,500-square-foot house, a sensor watching him from an elaborate bookshelf. “They know where I am — all the time.”

The systems — which can monitor a host of things, from motion in particular rooms to whether a person has taken his or her medicine — collect information about a person’s daily habits and condition, and then relay that in real-time to doctors or family members.

If Hall opens an exterior door at night, for example, an alert goes out to his doctor, a monitoring company and two of his closest friends, since he doesn’t have family nearby.

“They want to know if I’ve fallen, and where I am,” he said, noting that he’s fallen several times in recent years and also has a chronic heart condition and diabetes.

…but also illustrative of more we have yet to do…

Bob Jennings’ dad, Robert Jennings, now 86, didn’t take to the idea kindly.

“I don’t need that damn thing,” Bob Jennings recalls his dad saying.

But if it meant he could stay in his house, he would agree to it.

The younger Jennings said the system has proven useful…

But it’s not clear Robert Jennings understands the system.

Check out the full article here:

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)

CNN Labs:  Sensors in Healthcare

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