SecuraTrac, a mobile health monitor company, has debuted a new mobile application called SecuraFone Health that receives a patient's heart rate and respiration data from a wireless patch by Vital Connect, a developer of biosensor and secure cloud technologies.
The company demonstrated SecuraFone Health earlier this month at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It announced the app at the end of 2012, and the technology will be available for consumers and medical professionals in April.
SecuraTrac's technology combines location-based services and real-time wireless health monitoring.
"Doctors, caregivers and family members will now not only be able to monitor and receive alerts related to the whereabouts of their patients, children or aging parents, but also will receive alerts related to that person's vitals in real time," SecuraTrac CEO Chris Holbert said in a statement.
With sensors attached to patients, response time for assistance should be greatly reduced, according to Holbert.
"Doctors and caregivers can use SecuraFone Health to remain in constant contact regarding the patient's health stats," Holbert told eWEEK in an email. "If a patient has a change in heart rate, respiration rate, if they fall, don't get out of bed one day, the doctor/caregiver will automatically receive a text message or email alert about the patient's condition."
An SOS button allows patients to alert preset contacts of an emergency, he said. "The button will send an emergency message to your contacts you have set up, and it will simultaneously place a phone call to your main contact."
SecuraFone Health will be available for the iPhone this spring. SecuraTrac plans to offer an Android version this summer.
The app sends data to the cloud through a smartphone using Bluetooth Low Energy technology, said Holbert. The sensors relay data to an iPhone or a secure online portal where computation and analytics can be performed on the encrypted data in the cloud.
SecuraFone Health incorporates GPS tracking and fall detection, a feature that could help elderly users. The app can also detect changes to a heart rate or respiration rate beyond those defined by a caregiver as acceptable.
When changes to these readings occur, the app sends real-time alerts to designated caregivers, family members or other contacts with information about the user's location and condition. The app can also connect to a SecuraFone Health 24-hour call center when an emergency alert is triggered, said Holbert.
About the size of a Band-Aid, the SecurePatch incorporates micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors and system-on-a-chip (SoC) semiconductors and transmits notifications to a smartphone within a 50-foot radius.
Caregivers can configure the notification limits to specify recipients and how the alerts will be sent. Doctors and family members can receive the alerts through text messaging and email, said Holbert.
The water-resistant SecuraPatch sensors can monitor heart rate, respiration rate, falls, stress levels, skin temperature, activity steps, calories burned and body posture.
Review and approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will be required for medical diagnostic use of the SecureFone Health app, Holbert noted.
Remote health monitoring through machine-to-machine (M2M) technology is a growing trend in health care. Companies such as Independa have developed sensors that attach to medical devices or are placed around a home. Like SecuraTrac's service, Independa's Artemis platform connects to a cloud platform called CloudCare.