Independa Brings Health Cloud for the Elderly to LG TVs

At CES, Independa introduced cloud-based elderly health monitoring and social engagement services on LG TVs and a new medical reminder system over telephone lines.

Independa, a provider of remote monitoring technology for the elderly, and LG's Zenith division announced at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that they're bringing senior health monitoring to commercial televisions. LG's ProCentric displays will run Independa's cloud-based Angela social engagement platform and medical reminders.

Angela is a social-engagement platform that allows residents in their homes or in assisted living facilities to access multimedia content and participate in video chats with family or physicians through single-click access.

LG's Zenith division and Independa will conduct trials of Angela-powered ProCentric TVs in long-term health care facilities.

The companies announced their agreement on Jan. 10 and are demonstrating the technology at CES.

LG is a major producer of displays for hospitality businesses such as hotels, and ProCentric is the company's line of commercial TVs for that industry.

"With Independa, we are planning to provide seniors, their loved ones and their professional caregivers an industry-first suite of multimedia services for staying in touch and active," Richard M. Lewis, Zenith's senior vice president, technology and research, said in a statement.

Seniors will be able to perform video calling as well as receive messages and reminders on top of their TV programming, Independa CEO Kian Saneii told eWEEK.

Users navigate through the Independa Angela system using a standard LG remote, said Saneii.

While seniors view TV programming, medication reminders pop on-screen, and they can accept or reject alerts, said Saneii. Residents or caregivers can set the messages to either disappear after a period of time or remain on the screen until a task such as taking medication has been completed, he said.

Angela could bring more human interaction than many television sets offer, said Saneii.

"If it's a TV, you just hear voices," Saneii explained. "It's not social engagement to them."

Seniors also use Angela to share photos and access email, Facebook and medication reminders. Using Angela on the LG sets doesn't require any computer knowledge, Independa reports.

"This really changes the platform in a way that requires no real learning to it," said Saneii.

On Independa's CloudCare platform, seniors access their medication reminders and can connect remotely to their physician.

At CES, Independa also announced its new cloud Health Measures service, which allows doctors and caregivers to retrieve biometric data through a landline or mobile phone line.

Health Measures could be suitable for residents in rural areas where cellular coverage may be limited or for people who cannot afford wireless health devices, Independa reports.

Using Health Measures, senior-living facilities can enter data such as weight, blood pressure, glucose level and heart rate on a phone call. Independa then converts the data to digital form so that caregivers can access it on the CloudCare platform.

"We allow the telephone to be that conduit to integrate into the cloud, and the [medical] thresholds then apply," Saneii said, referring to medical readings for an individual patient that might concern doctors.

Independa uses telephony to provide reminders about medication and social engagement, and residents can also hear life stories over the phone, Saneii noted.

During transitions of care, such as from a hospital to assisted living, Health Measures can provide a way for patients to continue to provide data to physicians.

The first 24 to 48 hours after leaving the hospital is crucial for monitoring vital data, Saneii noted.

Health Measures calls residents and asks them to enter their current weight or blood pressure. It asks questions such as, "Were you exercising when taking this measure?" or "Were you coughing when you were taking this measure?"

Following a month of pilot testing, Independa will make Health Measures available to residences and health care facilities by March, said Saneii.

Independa's Artemis system of wireless health sensors, which the company demonstrated at the mHealth Summit in December, also connects to its CloudCare platform. Artemis monitors health data such as temperature, blood pressure and weight, as well as activities such as pill dispensing. Independa plans to beta-test Artemis in February and officially launch it in the second quarter of 2012.