Adhesive sensors on patient’s body to monitor health
Given the spread of diseases and the suffering incurred by patients, researchers strive to provide them with all means of comfort, by carrying out applied studies that may help obtain primary vital signals faster using adhesive sensors on the patient’s body.
Technicians, in cooperation with specialists in the medical field, were able to create a sensitive medical patch using wireless technologies. This patch, also called Wireless Body Area Network (WBAN), has been designed to obtain the necessary vital medical signals, such as the electrocardiogram (EKG) signal, oxygen level, blood pressure, and temperature from the patient, and send them through networks to the health care system. The more information this system can obtain and is able to send, the more helpful it would be for the specialist to diagnose the patient’s condition and offer timely interventions.
The WBAN patch also helps the patient to get initial indications without the need for repeated visits to the health center, reduces death rates in serious cases, and alleviates the pressure on medical staff so that they can provide full care to other urgent cases.
A study on this topic was conducted by a team led by Dr. Al-Azhar Muhammad Al-Khariji of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering. The study followed a theoretical and practical approach to sensing and monitoring the patient wirelessly. Unlike other systems, this research work was based on designing a two-way telehealth line between the patient’s location in a remote center and the specialist’s location in a virtual clinic, where the sensitization process, data analysis, and diagnosis would take place.
The study has opened a new door for research into the use of virtual clinics in the Sultanate of Oman. This in turn encouraged SQU to develop fresh expertise in this new and vital field, as part of its efforts to keep abreast of the latest developments in biomedical engineering and contribute towards solving epidemiological social problems.
The applied aspect of the study was implemented in the first phase by building a system connecting two centers (a health center in Muscat and SQU Hospital). This system was expanded in the second phase for transferring information along a farther distance, that is, between Salalah Hospital and SQU Hospital.
The research team developed a biomedical wireless sensor network system as well as platform designs and graphical user interfaces for each of the stations (the health center and hospitals). After installing the advanced system in health centers, the team also recorded a live video of patients with sleep apnoea, in addition to implementing and testing the system in real time on distant patients.
The research team plans to continue the themes of this research, that is, to create a complete telemedicine platform (RMIP) in the Sultanate of Oman with a set of features, including the adoption of a clinical cloud health care system that can provide several advanced means to serve patients and provide real-time patient tracking and intervention. The team also seeks to develop an application based on technologies of deep learning for early detection of disease (for example, detecting coronavirus and determining infection severity based on X-ray images of a patient’s lungs), in addition to an AI-based system for real-time preliminary decisions about the patient’s condition (degree of infection: mild, moderate, severe). The system will streamline monitoring of patients and following up of their conditions, in the long term.
This study thus aimed to improve the quality of health care; to reduce medical care costs through effective access to relevant clinical information in remote areas; and to ensure that all residents of the Sultanate of Oman have equal access to high-quality health services, regardless of their geographical location.