The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/cc9208) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
VitalPACTM is a collaborative development of The Learning Clinic Ltd and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. Professor Gary Smith's wife and Dr David Prytherch's wife are shareholders in The Learning Clinic Ltd. Professor Smith and Dr Prytherch are engaged in research with McLaren Applied Technologies and Laerdal Medical who both manufacture patient monitoring devices.
Recent developments in communications technologies and associated computing and digital electronics now permit patient data, including routine vital signs, to be surveyed at a distance. Remote monitoring, or telemonitoring, can be regarded as a subdivision of telemedicine - the use of electronic and telecommunications technologies to provide and support health care when distance separates the participants. Depending on environment and purpose, the patient and the carer/system surveying, analysing or interpreting the data could be separated by as little as a few feet or be on different continents. Most telemonitoring systems will incorporate five components: data acquisition using an appropriate sensor; transmission of data from patient to clinician; integration of data with other data describing the state of the patient; synthesis of an appropriate action, or response or escalation in the care of the patient, and associated decision support; and storage of data. Telemonitoring is currently being used in community-based healthcare, at the scene of medical emergencies, by ambulance services and in hospitals. Current challenges in telemonitoring include: the lack of a full range of appropriate sensors, the bulk weight and size of the whole system or its components, battery life, available bandwidth, network coverage, and the costs of data transmission via public networks. Telemonitoring also has the ability to produce a mass of data - but this requires interpretation to be of clinical use and much necessary research work remains to be done.
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- Health technology assessment review: Remote monitoring of vital signs - current status and future challenges
David R Prytherch
Gary B Smith
- BioMed Central
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