University of Missouri researchers are developing an in-home health monitoring and alert system that can sync patients’ individualized health information between homes and hospitals.

Marjorie Skubic, an MU professor of electrical and computer engineering, and her colleagues are fronting the new “closed loop” health care system initiative. The new sensor technologies will allow doctors to monitor patients while at home.

“As patients transfer between care units, sensor data are automatically delivered to their bedsides by the integrated health care platform,” Skubic said. “When the patients return home, the system continues to track their activity, behaviors and vital signs and sends alerts if health changes are detected.”

With information sharing between homes and hospitals, the closed loop technologies will allow for more individualized care with a lower risk of complications. The system’s ability to provide comprehensive, personalized health information can also lead to lower costs, Skubic said.

“These ‘smart home’ systems have the potential to create tremendous cost savings for individuals and health care systems,” Skubic said. “By streamlining the health care operation into a cohesive system, we will save costs, provide better care and achieve improved health outcomes.”

Skubic and her team have already successfully integrated sensor technologies into assisted-care facilities. These sensors, placed in residents’ rooms, can monitor an individual’s pulse and respiration rate, how often he or she uses the restroom and can detect falls.

By implementing these data sensor technologies in patients’ homes, Skubic hopes that the in-home technology will allow elderly patients to “age in place” and live healthier lives with increased, personalized care.

Skubic, along with her collaborator Julian Goldman of Harvard University and several of her team members, presented their research on closed loop health care Wednesday, June 11, in Washington D.C. at the SmartAmerica Challenge Expo.

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