SIACT - the Integrated Assistance System for Tele-monitoring and Communication, destined for people with severe neuromuscular handicap - is a research and development project that will have as a final result a complex electronic system for more effective monitoring and caregiving to patients with severe neuromuscular diseases. The target project beneficiary can hear, see and understand everything within normal parameters, but cannot communicate through usual methods (speaking, writing, sign language).
The system will include two functional components: one for communication, and another one for tele-monitoring. While the issue of tele-monitoring is not new and has been researched and applied in various other medical assistance fields, this is the first time when the two components are paired together, and a viable solution is proposed that is also cost effective, by using for the greatest part the same hardware resources and, where possible, the same software resources.
The system will use any of the patients’ limited movement abilities (muscular contractions of a forearm, a finger, a leg, or even eye movements and blinking) to help them communicate their thoughts or needs to the caregiver, by touching certain buttons, pointing areas on a screen or even by focusing with their eyes a certain keyword or pictogram.
But what makes this project really unique is the fact that it proposes to implement a bidirectional communication system based on multiple techniques, including eye focalization detection, to help the patient validate or invalidate options from a list of keywords and/or pictograms, parallel with monitoring patients’ vital signs. By being able to communicate with the caregiver through an intelligent system, the patient will become less dependent of permanent supervising, making it possible for a caregiver to take care of several patients at the same time, with no loss in the quality of the caregiving act.
And that is not all. The informatics system will open new possibilities of reintegrating the neuromuscular challenged people to society, at different rates, from helping them ease their own caregiving, to offering them various activity options (reading, listening to music, navigating the internet, e-mailing, and even offering solutions to various problems). The essential aspect to understand about SIACT is that it is destined for people who, although they cannot move or speak, they have their intellectual capacity intact. The system can partially eliminate the stress of feeling trapped in an un-functional body while having an active mind.
Project details: The project totals more than EUR 200,000 financed by UEFISCDI through The National Research, Development & Innovation Plan PNII 2007-2013 (competition destined for partnership type applicative research collaborative projects 2014-1016), and 15% of the project cost is co-financed by RomSoft.
The project partners are the Technical University of Iasi ”Gheorghe Asachi” (project coordinator), University of Medicine Iasi ”Grigore T. Popa” and RomSoft.
Back in 2008, RomSoft participated for the first time in another tele-monitoring research project - TELEMON. The Integrated System for Real Time Monitoring of Patients and Elderly People - TELEMON - resulted in an integrated e-health platform capable of offering real time tele-monitoring of subjects, and more timely interventions in case of emergencies, no matter if the patients found themselves in medical care units, at work, on vacation, or elsewhere.