The coronavirus pandemic has brought the world to its knees. The only reason is the highly contagious nature of the virus. Healthcare systems worldwide are not competent enough to deal with this due to several reasons like-
- Lack of equipment
- Lack of doctors
- Lack of protective equipment
Our last line of defence - the doctors, put in every effort to treat their patients. However, more often than not they contract this deadly disease in the bargain. Their exists no method to directly treat patients without coming in contact with them even for the treatment of coronavirus, which is not very complicated except in extreme cases. The key interactions of the medical staff with the patients include -
- Cleaning of wards
- Giving food and medicines
- Body temperature monitoring
- Collecting blood samples
- Giving instructions
- Essential equipment monitoring
While solutions to the first two problems exist already as hospitals at many places have incorporated ground robots for this task. Taking temperature samples can easily be done by medical staff from a safe distance and there is no scope for innovation on that front.
No viable solutions exist for the other three problems, which is why everyday hundreds of doctors are getting affected. In areas where the number of doctors is less, this is a really serious issue. Due to the multitudes of patients turning up at hospitals, doctors are being forced to work overtime which is extremely stressful for them. Cases of suicide by such doctors have been reported.
I propose a connected hospital consisting of nodes in the form of modules mounted on patient beds that are able to log and control essential equipment data, collect blood samples, monitor patient health and raise alarms when necessary. The beds would form a BLE mesh network and connect to a central station that would send notifications to medical staff over a WiFi network.
The beds would be equipped with microphones and speakers for the doctor-patient interaction. The nodes would have a panel of buttons for the patients to ask for certain essentials like food or water. The panel would also include a button for summoning hospital staff in case of an emergency. There would be a provision for the monitoring essential devices like the ventilator, the ECG, the EKG etc. The data from all these devices would be sent to the central station where it would be analysed using complex data analysis techniques based on the TensorflowLite library and if a problem arises the central system publishes the anomaly along with the patient ID to the AWS IoT cloud. Important notifications are directly sent to the doctor incharge in the form of in-app notifications, text messages or calls. The doctor may then take preventive measures autonomously by changing settings on the life-support devices through the app that connects to AWS cloud. If the assigned doctor is not available, the web service automatically sends notifications to doctors connected to the network who can then volunteer and take life-saving decisions, everything autonomously.
This might sound far-fetched but the impact such a system can have is enormous. A web application would enable the doctors full control over life-support devices of the patient. The data can be collected on demand and collected for medical research. The doctor may also use the cloud dashboard for manual analysis of critical patient data and intervene life-support devices remotely.
The beds would also have a provision for the attachment of a non-intrusive sample collector and drug injector that has to be installed manually but can be operated remotely by means of robotic arms controlled by servo motors. This would definitely improve the condition of medical staff, keeping them safe, reducing their workload, allowing real-time monitoring, allowing control of life support devices remotely and saving many unnecessarily lost lives by taking quick decisions remotely.
THE IMPLEMENTATION...Read more »