Application of IoT devices for point-of-care testing

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< Project Overview >

Research shows that people with severe mental illness die on average 15 years earlier. The increased mortality is partly due to physical health problems, such as heart disease, which are largely preventable. In addition, patients with severe mental illness can under-prioritise their own health and the mental illness can distract medical staff from the presence of other health issues.

NICE, in its guideline on psychosis and schizophrenia (NICE, 2014) recommends the regular monitoring of physical health.  However, audits across NHS South in 2017 revealed that provision of these physical health checks is very poor. Point of care (POC) testing using IoT devices has potential to improve these findings.

POC is medical testing which can be done at the time and place of mental healthcare – rather than attending a separate appointment and sending specimens off the laboratories. This allows for quicker, more convenient and responsive testing.

POC testing can utilise handheld gargets, which go with the clinician to the patient’s home and provide instant results and tailored treatments. Whilst some of the testing devices are IoT enabled, they are ‘clunky’, in the main communicating with electronic records only when added to a network: they are IoT capable, but the communications need improving.

Building on Oxford University’s clinically driven POC testing trial, this mini-project will add an IoT focus, extending the work to improve and broaden the application of IoT across existing device testing.

Example testing which can be completed on mobile devices includes:

  • Lipid and HbA1c tests which are widely used to screen for risk factors for heart disease and diabetes
  • Electrocardiograms (ECGs) which are used to record the electrical activity of the heart and screen for heart difficulties.

This project will collect pilot information on the clinical utility of these technologies as well as the experiences of practitioners in order to provide assessments and improvements to further develop the technology, support care outcomes and cost reductions.

Project lead: Professor Belinda Lennox, University of Oxford

Project partners: