Smart Data for Better Health

© Photo Fraunhofer

CeBIT 2016: Fouad Bitti, researcher at Fraunhofer FIT, gives a demonstration of FIT's E-Health and telecare system to the Minister for Innovation, Science and Research of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Svenja Schulze, and the director of Fraunhofer IML, Prof. Michael ten Hompel.

At CeBIT 2016, Fraunhofer FIT presented an E-Health / telecare system. The system could help to improve health care at home for elderly patients. One aspect of the demonstrator was secure and efficient data communication between patients, MDs and clinics. FIT worked with Bayer AG in developing the demonstrator, which is based on an architecture that was designed for the Fraunhofer initiative Industrial Data Space.

At the heart of our E-Health / telecare system is a smart TV set in the patient's living room. The system acquires, visualizes and evaluates different vital parameters, such as weight, activity level, blood pressure or blood sugar, and it supports video-telephony with the physician, relatives and friends. The system also includes an information channel that can be used to find information about health issues and chronic diseases. The system will improve health care at home, in particular for elderly people with chronic conditions, and reduce the number of consultations.

Against the backdrop of the aging society and the growing scarcity of MDs in rural areas, the system holds great promise for physicians, health insurance companies and patients alike. It empowers patients to manage their health efficiently. Consultations by video-telephony that can be arranged at short notice could reduce the load on medical practices and spare patients long travels and waiting time.

The streams of the patients’ vital data can be analyzed continuously using Big Data technologies. This makes it possible to react swiftly to acute conditions like hypertension or hypoglycemia by alerting the patient or her doctor and recommending appropriate counter-measures. As a safeguard against false warnings, the system also monitors the quality of the sensor data received when the incoming data is analyzed.

The patients' digital sovereignty is very important for us. A basic element of our system is a platform for secure data exchange between data owners and the service providers involved. It is thus impossible to share the data with unauthorized third parties. Our solution is based on an architecture that was developed for the Fraunhofer initiative 'Industrial Data Space'. It allows exchanging data over secure communication lines in Big Data environments and can be used across a broad range of scenarios and industrial application fields. Basically, the rights of the data owner are protected via a principle of ad-hoc networking.