Researchers from IT in Covilhã are developing a mobile health solution for healthcare professionals that travel to remote and rural regions to provide care services. The main objective of this system is to enhance health services by optimizing several treatment processes and monitoring mechanisms. The mobile application consists of a SOA system that registers and follows remotely persons that live in rural areas or isolated. Android OS was chosen for developing mainly its open source APIs and the vast diversity of covered mobile devices. The chosen mobile device was a tablet due to its practical use and insertion of data in seconds. Besides it comprised optimal processing and storage capabilities and all the required communication components, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and/or GSM/CDMA data modules. A major challenge to the implementation of this system is the Internet availability in rural and remote regions. Therefore the caching mechanism saves automatically all data that failed to be sent until a network connection is established. This mechanism works independently of the m-Health application and collected data can be forwarded afterward to the Internet without the need to use the application. All patient records are stored in a remote database through HTTP on REST Web services that provide all the required information.
This system was tested in a real pilot in collaboration with a healthcare institution involving 42 patients and 4 healthcare professionals. QoE evaluation was done and a total of 294 patients were attendance. Hardware problems, such as network disconnection and energy issues were reported in 4% of all cases. This system reduces significantly the care costs and lessens the need for physical contact between patient and physician.
Photo: Material used to run the application and to perform an Electrocardiogram.