The original article is in Swedish. Below is an English translation.
Telemedicine Next Step for Karolinska
Karolinska university hospital is entering the telemedicine area. Together with TeliaSonera and the Israeli company Tadiran LifeCare they are developing a portable equipment to monitor, e.g., pulse and oxygen saturation.
It looks like a gigantic wristwatch. But the idea is that MDKeeper shall be considerably smaller when it is introduced on the market during next year. This autumn will start with technical tests followed by tests with patients.
“We plan to start selling our product in the first quarter of 2006”, says Ofer Atzmon, manager for business development in the LifeCare division of Israeli Tadiran Spectralink.
Three measuring devices
MDKeeper consists of three measuring devices for pulse, heart activity and blood oxygen saturation, as well as a mobile phone.
“The unit sends data over the wireless network to the hospital”, says Sven Jonsson, development engineer at Karolinska’s medicine technical department.
The idea is that patients who today are supervised at hospitals shall be able to wear MDKeeper and in that way get a much more independent life.
Also participating in the project is TeliaSonera to handle the wireless communication. So far the solution is based on quite simple data communication over the regular GSM network, but Ofer Atzmon sees more demanding 3G applications in coming versions.
“In the model we have today the patient can push a button to enable voice communication with hospital personnel. For more advanced health care, e.g., if a doctor needs to look at an injury, video communication is required”, says Ofer Atzmon.
Can be used for many purposes
MDKeeper is built on a technical platform called Telemed HC. According to development manager Heikki Teriö at Karolinska the platform can be used for multiple other medical applications.
“For example, you can have a similar device in ambulances to supervise badly injured patients on the way in to the hospitals”, he says.
MDKeeper will cost between 7500 SEK and 10000 SEK (appr. 800-1050 Euros) when it is available in the market. Ofer Atzmon is aware of that the price can be a problem.
“Even if the hospitals or insurance companies pay it may be too expensive. We are working on lowering the price for coming models”, he says.
However, he is not worried about MDKeeper losing wireless coverage once in a while.
“This is not a life saving device. MDKeeper has memory built-in, so if it loses contact with the wireless network it can transmit measurement data when the contact is re-established”, he says.
Cooperates Sven Jonsson, development engineer at KS, Ofer Atzmon at LifeCare and Heikki Teriö, development manager at KS:
Financed by Vinnova
The development project of MDKeeper and the technical platform Telemed HC is partially financed by the Swedish Vinnova and its Israeli equivalence Matimop. The project is part of a larger cooperation between the two research entities, called SIBED.