Research News

Health care that follows you from home to hospital and back

University of Missouri researcher links fall detection system with other medical technologies at Smart America Expo

The following is part 5 of the Smart America series showcasing National Science Foundation (NSF) researchers designing improved cyber-physical systems. In parts 1, 2, 3 and 4, learn about cyber-dogs, tele-robotics, smart shape technology and drones.

with over a decade of research and development, Marjorie Skubic of the University of Missouri (MU) has created a suite of health care technologies that identify when individuals fall in their homes or when their physical behavior changes over time. The systems incorporate data from passive sensors, infrared cameras and smart detection algorithms to find signs of degenerative conditions and provide a quick assessment to help avoid further health declines.

"These technologies help people get the help they need early so we can treat and address health problems when they're still small, before they become catastrophic," Skubic said.

However, how does a physician at a hospital know about and use information gathered by devices like those designed by Skubic for the home? And, likewise, how does information about a patient's condition in the hospital get incorporated into technologies like Skubic's when they return to their home?

As part of the Closed Loop Healthcare team at the Smart America Expo, Skubic worked to connect the technologies she's created with those developed by other teams with similar health care goals. The team's ultimate aim is to "close the loop" of healthcare coverage so devices, data and doctors' diagnoses can be integrated for the good of the patient.

The Smart America Expo brought together leaders from academia, industry and government to demonstrate the ways that smarter cyber-physical systems--sometimes called the "Internet of Things"--can lead to improvements in health care, transportation, energy and emergency response, and other critical areas.