i-M.A. (i-Medical Assistant)
Sunshine & Zhe Lin
Peer Review Team
Mini, portable medical kit containing small measuring devices that can be wirelessly transferred to a mobile app for outpatient care and medical records.
Top chronic diseases in Canada include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, etc. Patients who are diagnosed with these chronic diseases receive personalized medications and separate devices to monitor each of their conditions at home. Purchasing and replacing these devices is costly, and becomes an inconvenience for the patients' mobility when these devices are heavy and clunky. Furthermore, since each device is devoted to a specific condition, the devices do not talk to one another, thus it becomes the patients' responsibility to aggregate all the information in order to track the progress and patterns of their health. Wouldn't it be more simple and less demanding on patients if all these devices in need and the related medical records were brought together in one device?
The purpose of this project is to design and develop a personalized, "smart", medical assistant to help users track their daily physical data (i.e., blood glucose, heart rate) in order to support personalized medical plans. The device is acquired through a medical professional (i.e., a patient with diagnosed diabetes is able to receive one from his or her general physician, in order to keep his/her blood sugar levels in check) or as part of the contract with Greenshield health supplement (i.e., you pay a few hundred per month for the regular check-up and the network of doctors as part of the deal). A physician would be able to help moderate and explain the information to the users when necessary. Users may keep track of their health data anywhere and anytime of the day and get medical assistance from physicians/specialists when necessary. Purchasing the annual premium package of the app, users will be able to access extra guidelines and medical services.
Perform daily tests of vital signs and an app/cloud storage to track daily measurements.
Alert emergency medical services at the first sign of irregular patterns that may indicate high risk/danger to users.
Provide a communication platform across patient and health professional communities.
Build up a network so that medical history is accessible nationwide
i-M.A. is a product set designed for all Canadians under the health insurance. Our target customers include:
Individuals with chronic diseases (i.e., diabetes and high blood pressure, etc.)
- Population living in remote areas with lack of medical resources
i-M.A. also aims to make contribution to the research study on the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases in the long term.
Instant interaction between patients and specialists
Communication platform among doctors in specific medical fields
Communication platform among patients with similar physical issue(s)
Collaboration with medical research team(s) for mass data analysis
Nationwide health/medical service network
For the kit:
Cardioversion pad – cardioversion, heart rate --> patients with heart disease
Finger-clip – blood oxygen --> respiratory or cardiac problems(i.e., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), sleeping disorders
Spirometer – lung disease (i.e., asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema)
Blood-testing background – blood glucose --> diabetes
For the app:
1. Convenient health data collection, cloud storage and professional data interpretation
-Health data collected from the devices will be wirelessly transferred to the app, so that the latter will perform daily tests of vital signs.
-The health data will be stored in the cloud to track daily measurements.
-The health data of the patients is connected to physicians/specialists through the app.
-The app will provide normal value range for reference, and further details can be explained by physicians/specialists if requested.
- Patients can set reminder in the app in order to keep a periodic health check.
2. Irregular data alert
- The app will alert emergency medical services at the first sign of irregular patterns that may indicate high risk/danger to users.
- Navigation/Connection to the nearest available medical service when emergency happens.
- Quick transmission of the related medical data and history (with patient's permission) from the home doctor to the physicians/medical services when assistance is needed.
3. Communication platform
- The app also creates a communication platform across users and health professionals, providing a "virtual community" to promote information access, healthy lifestyle tips, and improve quality of life to people.
- Premium package for extra guidelines and medical assistance from specialists：
a). Make appointments for video meetings with a specialist to receive medical service through the app
b). Access doctor ratings/reviews
c) Receive professional healthcare guidelines from specialists on dietary or other issues based on personal medical condition.
1. Business traveler
Brian，55 years old, businessman
Brian is a 55-year-old sales representative from Toronto. He is single and travels 2/3 of the year across provinces in Canada. In the past ten years, he has suffered from high blood pressure. He was diagnosed with Diabetes (Type I) in the physical check up last year. His doctor also detected a low level of blood iron on his blood report and recommended him to keep track of the blood glucose and blood iron level on a weekly basis. Brian is open to try new medical treatments for Type-1 Diabetes and has been taking pills. He is also looking for information on the diabetic diet and tips on how to slow down the process which may help lead a normal life. His major concern is that he does not have much time to visit the clinic for blood test. Also, he does not have families or friends having the similar physical issues.
Brian takes the mini kit of blood tester and finger-clip sensor with him on the business trip. Often he is reminded by the app on his phone to measure his blood pressure, blood glucose and iron level at night before sleep. Two months ago, Brian felt constantly numb in his hands on the trip to British Columbia. His doctor, detecting an unusual surge of Brian’s blood sugar test, sent Brian an alert on the app with his medical advices. On the forum on diabetes, Brian has found a number of patients with Type-1 diabetes who are talking about new medications, healthy diet and even restaurants suitable for the diabetic. Recently Brian has decided to use a new type of medicine and intended to use i-MA to test the effectiveness through daily check-up.
2. Seniors living alone
Daisy, 85 years old, retired
Daisy is 85 years old and lives by herself on the farm close to Elliott Lake. She had a major cardio-surgery three years ago and since then has needed to pay regular visits to the clinic for check-ups on cardioversion and blood oxygen. The drive back and forth to the clinic takes 3 hours and Daisy sometimes waits for months to book an appointment with her cardiac specialist.
Having used i-M.A. since last year, Daisy measures heart rate and blood oxygen every morning at home and records the physical data on her smart phone. She uses the premium package to have monthly video meeting with her home doctor to ask about general questions related to her health conditions. Four months ago, i-M.A. detected irregular heart rate from the cardioversion in Daisy's account and sent the report to her cardiac specialist. An alert was sent to Daisy's smart phone through i-M.A. App. The app also navigated Daisy to the closest clinic with a cardiologist (10 km away) for a medical appointment. Daisy accepted the i-M.A. suggestion and noted her home doctor about her visit on i-M.A.. With her permission, Daisy's medical information/history was transmitted to the cardiologist at the clinic to visit.
3. General physicians/Specialists
Sandy, 40 years old, senior specialist
Sandy is a senior specialist working at the Adult Congenital Cardiac Clinic of Hamilton Health Sciences. The clinic provides ongoing care and follow up of patients born with congenital heart disease. Part of Sandy’s job is to collect and analyze the data from the medical surveillance as over 50% the patients with congenital heart disease will require a repeat operation, catheter intervention or medical treatment for other cardiac conditions during adulthood. During twenty years experience working in the field, Sandy has also found that the families having children with congenital heart disease keep long-term contact to support each other fighting against the disease.
In the past two years, Sandy has been working on a study among the 500 HHS patients with congenital heart disease aged from 18 to 35 in Canada. He has found i-M.A. an effective and useful tool for his medical study because it provides valid and up-to-date information on 95% of the study population. Based on the data collected, Sandy has reached the findings that 29 to 32 years old is a peak period for recrudescence and the related patient group needs extra cardiac care. Sandy has also found that i-M.A. has connected the patients, despite their geographic locations, for exchange and communication on topic of treatment and life style. Sandy introduced the application of i-M.A. into the medical research during his speech at the annual conference of CDPAC (Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada).
Discussion and Future Direction
1.Nationwide/worldwide medical network
-Worldwide medical treatment information exchange/communication, provides the patients with more options for medical treatment
-Avoid waste on medical resources in different contexts (With the app, there might be no need for out-patient department in hospital.)
2. All-in-one technology
- An automatic health data reading microchip may replace a set of devices (embedded in different parts of body for data collection)
3. Lifestyle apps for disease prevention/ lifestyle
- Apps designed for prevention on specific disease(s) related to individual lifestyle (i.e., diet recommendation, physical exercise record, health forum)
- Platform offered to people with similar lifestyles and health concern (i.e., organic food) for online sharing and meet-up events