year, health care costs for managing chronically
ill patients increase as the life expectancy of Americans continues
to grow. To handle this
situation, many hospitals, doctors practices, and home care providers are turning to disease management, a system
of coordinated health care interventions and communications,
to improve outpatient care. By participating in daily monitoring
with congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions requiring
are facing fewer emergency situations and hospitalizations.
Cybernet Medical, a division of Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Cybernet Systems Corporation, is using the latest communications technology to augment the ways health care professionals monitor and assess patients with chronic diseases, while at the same time simplifying the patients interaction with technology. Cybernets newest commercial product for this purpose evolved from research funded by NASA, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency. The research focused on the physiological assessment of astronauts and soldiers, human performance evaluation, and human-computer interaction.
NASAs Johnson Space Center granted Cybernet Systems Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts, building upon the companys previous SBIR work on multiple military and Federal Government development projects. The purpose of the NASA project was to enable remote physiological monitoring of space crews. To accomplish this, Cybernet Systems built a miniature portable physiological monitoring device capable of collecting and analyzing a multitude of signals, including electrical brain signals, in real time to monitor astronauts on the International Space Station. Cybernets device benefits NASA by immediately correlating the complex interactions between cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal, and neurovestibular systems in a reduced-gravity environment, leading to a better understanding of the body as a system. In addition, it provides valuable insight into physiological mechanisms, adaptation techniques, and individual responses that occur with exposure to altered gravity environments. This may lead to optimal countermeasure strategies for astronauts to effectively readapt to Earths environment.
With statistics showing significant improvements in patient outcomes through closer in-home monitoring, Cybernet saw an opportunity to commercialize the physiological measurement and analysis technology. After completing its SBIR work with Johnson in 1998, Cybernet adapted the technology for its MedStar Disease Management Data Collection System, an affordable, widely deployable solution for improving in-home-patient chronic disease management. In July 2001, Cybernet Medical announced the general availability of the MedStar interface device and accompanying data collection server, together called the MedStar System.
The battery-powered and portable MedStar interface device collects physiological data from off-the-shelf instruments regularly used at home by chronic-disease patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, congestive heart failure, or respiratory conditions. These devices include weight scales, blood pressure cuffs, and glucose monitors. The MedStar device then securely transmits the data over a standard telephone line to the Cybernet Medical collection server, located at a hospital or a disease management companys facility, for retrieval and analysis. The process enables a health care team to immediately note changes in a patients condition and make appropriate action recommendationsresulting in fewer patient interventions and emergency hospitalizations.
Measuring 10 square inches and weighing less than a pound, the patient-friendly
MedStar device is small and light and operates on standard AA batteries.
Since a patient does not need a personal computer or Internet access
to transmit MedStars collected data, the device can be immediately deployed by disease management organizations regardless of patient demographics. MedStars built-in memory can save several hundred readings, enabling patients on vacation
or away from a phone line to continue to take their readings and upload
the data when convenient.
Using a database management system, health care professionals can access the data through the Internet in order to remotely manage their patients. Cybernet markets its own data management system, the MedStar Web Server, to retrieve digitized physiological data from a data collection device, such as Cybernets MedStar Data Collection Server, and uses it to populate a database. It then formats this information for display via a secure Web site, enabling physicians and disease management professionals to analyze changes in a patients condition. The result is improved patient outcomes and dramatically reduced costs associated with the care of the chronically ill. The MedStar Web Server is available as an addition to the MedStar System, which is also compatible with other commercial database management systems.
MedStar is a trademark of Cybernet Systems Corporation.
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