Roman Klein
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Technology Product 24.10.2018

An Impressive Collaboration – Research Study by MinebeaMitsumi and the University of Surrey

How can the quality of care service be improved by non-invasive monitoring data? Could the continuous monitoring of vital body data have an impact on health diagnoses or the choice of medication? MinebeaMitsumi and the University of Surrey just started an extensive research study that will provide answers to these and many more questions. The reason for this research study: In July 2018, Ricoh launched a Bed Sensor System in Japan, which has been jointly developed with MinebeaMitsumi. A development team is now working on a European medical accreditation. The system includes four load sensors, which are located under each caster of hospital beds. Via a data logger, different states can be detected and sent to devices like smart phones or personal computers. Caregivers are able to easily monitor, if the patient is resting, sitting or leaving the bed. Depending on the measured condition, the caregiver’s terminal can also be alerted to prevent patients falling out of bed.

On Ocotber 04, 2018, the research study kick-off meeting was held at university campus, which is located in Guildford in the South East of England. The University of Surrey is one of the leading research universities in the UK. 88 percent of the university’s research was rated as world class and is internationally recognized. The study is planned to run for two years. The sensor system will be installed in patient rooms at St Peter’s Hospital and in private homes to gather valuable data using IoT technologies. The collected data will include health information as well as psychological and environmental facts. The study’s goal is gaining an extensive understanding of the system’s effectiveness for people with and without dementia and for their caregivers.  Practical feedback from users and patients will be used to optimize the bed sensor system and the alert dashboard, which enables caregivers to monitor numerous beds simultaneously. For patients, the non-contact monitoring is not perceptible and almost invisible. It could have a positive impact on problems, which result from the lack of professional nursing personnel and provide an extremely proactive and foresighted health care thanks to the new technologies and the digitalization process.  In case of a periodic rise of body movements, nursing professionals can proactively check on patients or even prevent the cause. Even using Artificial Intelligence to analyze the data is conceivable in the future. The contactless measurement of vital data such as the heart rate or the quality of sleep is within the realms of possibility.

Besides MinebeaMitsumi and the University of Surrey, also members from the National Health Service, UK and the MinebeaMitsumi subsidiaries Minebea Intec and PM DM GmbH are involved in the innovative project. The development team is currently reviewing possible distribution partners.