A&E will know about stroke “in seconds”


YOU’VE had a stroke. Within seconds an ambulance has been dispatched, an A&E team is discussing your vital signs and your next of kin have been texted.

It is a vision of a 21st century health service that will be unveiled today at a major conference on future health care in Edinburgh.

The event will see computer scientists at Edinburgh Napier University launch an e-Health hub that is able to co-ordinate patient care from an online cloud.

A A&E team will be alarmed within seconds if there are signs of stroke

It works by collecting vital sign readings such as heart rate from a special vest, sock or another mobile device that is networked to the internet.

That data is then instantly analysed by the e-Health hub, known as cloud4health which sends messages and alerts to appropriate care providers and family members.

Researchers say the software, which also allows electronic patient record to be safely stored and shared via a cloud, represents the future of health care and assisted living.

Professor Bill Buchanan leads the Institute of Informatics and Digital Innovation team at Edinburgh Napier behind the innovation.

He said: “Health care systems in the UK and across the world are often not integrated so you will have, for example, different databases and systems operating between regional hospitals for the same activity, or between GPs and mental health services.

“The aim of cloud4health is to create a completely integrated environment for capturing, storing and delivering clinical services in order to improve patient care and make it more pre-emptive. And we think it will be a reality in 20 or 30 years from now.”

He said that storing medical records via cloud4health would slash the time it takes to transport and share information between carers and clinicians.

“In the case of assisted living, our vision is if you were at home and suffered a fall you’d be wearing a special vest or sock that would notice a change in your vital signs and upload that data within seconds to the cloud in order to alert A&E, your relatives and any other trusted carers that you had given access to your health records.

“The fundamental aim of the cloud4health hub is allowing individuals to have more access and control of their own health care information.”

The Edinburgh Napier team have collaborated on the health care platform with Microsoft, and Scottish-based SMEs such as content management company Sitekit and cloud computing provider, Flexiant.

Today Professor Buchanan and his team will present the cloud4health system to hundreds of delegates gathering at the Symposium on the Future of e-Health conference being held at Edinburgh Napier University’s Craiglockhart Campus.

They will be joined by speakers from Microsoft, NHS 24, Harvard Medical School and the Department of Health amongst others.