Human migration continues to change the demographics of Gauteng, resulting in a shortage of skilled staff and budget shortfalls in the healthcare industry, with the ever-increasing number of in-patients in hospitals and elderly-care facilities. In light of this, the University of Johannesburg (UJ)’s Institute Intelligent Systems (IIS) has conducted research and developed an intelligent, low-cost, smart toolkit that may assist healthcare practitioners to monitor and diagnose patients.
The device is called e-mutakalo which means health in Tshivenda. It collects, processes and analyses real-time vital signs data remotely. This means that the device can automatically detect problems and alert the medical staff in the event of an emergency. According to Wesley Doorsamy, Associate professor and Researcher at the IIS: “Accurate recording of patient data and seamless sharing amongst care providers, doctors and other healthcare providers is also possible through the system”.
e-mutakalo uses wireless sensor nodes, ambient intelligence techniques to monitor the patient’s comfort and condition and it is able to detect and diagnose problems. The device will be of great help to patients who are seeking medical attention whilst healthcare practitioners or care providers are on intervals between patients.
Doorsamy points out that it is envisioned that this device could also be deployed for home-care purposes allowing patients and old people to stay at home instead of being inexpensive healthcare facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes, as it provides an efficient and cost-effective alternative to on-site clinical monitoring.
He explains that Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a major role in the delivery of health services. “AI has already transformed some areas of health and medicine towards clinical decision-making. We trust that the rollout of the wearable sensing technologies might serve as a foundation for value-based care approaches while improving the outcome and efficiency of healthcare delivery,” he concludes.