Clothing to Remotely Connect to Care
Healthcare monitoring through high-tech textiles.
Project Budget* - $2.2M
Partner Co-investment* - $1.1M
Supercluster Co-investment* - $1.1M
One of the critical steps taken to prepare for and manage the COVID-19 pandemic was reducing the number of non-critical patients in hospitals. For example, hospital patients recovering from operations were discharged earlier than usual and asked to continue the recovery process at home. In other cases, operations and procedures were cancelled. As a result, these patients are managing their health conditions at home with the added challenges of physical distancing and self-isolation.
Virtual medicine using telephone or video conferencing have been used, but their effectiveness has been limited because they rely on self-reporting by the patient. There is no way to predict which patients may face rapid health declines. The connectivity required may also exclude already marginalized populations, such as the cognitively or physically impaired, because virtual medicine solutions are typically designed for the able-minded and able-bodied majority.
The Clothing to Remotely Connect to Care project aims to support the virtual and remote care of patients in the community by incorporating wearable technology into this virtual care system using clothing, a form factor that everyone already adopts.
Led by Myant, the project team also includes CardioComm Solutions, the University Health Network, and KITE (the research arm of Toronto Rehabilitation Institute).
Textile-based sensors integrated into garments like underwear, bras, tank tops and chest bands can continuously and ambiently capture data such as temperature, heart and lung health, breathing and movement. Leveraging Myant’s cloud-based platform, doctors and other health professionals can assess real-time and historical biometric data in conjunction with the patient’s existing health information to make more informed clinical decisions.
Machine learning algorithms on the Myant Platform will monitor the biometric data, flagging deviations from a patient’s normal baseline readings which could require a physician’s attention. This will help enhance virtual care for at-risk populations, especially the elderly who live alone and those in remote communities with limited access to specialized care. The result is more people connected to care at a time where traveling to a clinic or hospital may pose risks.
Beyond the COVID-19 crisis, the technology could be covered by employer extended healthcare plans, allowing increased monitoring for employees with heart conditions.