Clothing to Remotely Connect to Care
Healthcare monitoring through high-tech textiles.
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 they rely on self-reporting by the patient. Internet-based solutions may also exclude at-risk citizens, such as cognitively or physically impaired individuals.
How We Are Solving It
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. Led by Myant, the project team also includes the University Health Network and KITE (the research arm of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute).
Textile-based sensors integrated into garments such as 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 historic biometric data in conjunction with the patient’s existing health information to make more informed clinical decisions.
Machine learning algorithms will monitor biometric data, flagging deviations from a patient’s normal 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 travelling 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.
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