mHealth innovative technology enabling wellness management at your fingertips.
Mobile Health (short form mHealth) is an emerging and fast-growing sector that brings mobile communications and life sciences together. mHealth can and will support the health sector in a way that allocates resources more efficiently and may potentially save the NHS billions of pounds. IMI Health AG has developed technology using mobile communications and is a first mover in the area of wellness management conducted in a user-friendly manner and at your fingertips.
When Dr Lingg, who founded IMI Health AG, worked at Seva Sangh Samiti Hospital in the Sunderbans, West Bengal, India, he saw daily lines of people waiting to obtain medical support, some of whom had urgent needs and others who were perfectly healthy. That is when he developed the idea of using a mobile device to capture and analyse basic vital signs, thereby permitting the user to monitor the state of their health as well as giving medical professionals the opportunity to achieve fast and effective access to relevant data – wherever and whenever. This was the moment when the vision of IMI and Lingg was born – long before anybody used the expression mHealth.
"We want to monitor people's health and not treat diseases – that is the job of doctors and other specialists." With this mission statement Lingg clearly defines the IMI approach that he refers to as 'salutogenic', in contrast to the 'pathogenic' approach that prevails in the Western world. Prevention is also cheaper than treatment as the economic side of this alternative view to health. On the other hand, IMI delivers a reliable tool for doctors to supervise patients and be able to conduct remote checks.
The mHealth solution and the concept
The formula for the IMI mHealth solution is:
Concept + Hardware + Software = integrated and interactive mHealth service
Based on the principle that wellness and health is individual and that any influencing factor on the human system must be verifiable in its effect, IMI believes in the power of open, integrated systems. Open for smart approaches and applications (apps) and thus open for improvements through the input of users. The empowerment of people to be able to take conscious decisions about what they should eat, what they could do to improve their wellbeing and who they want to participate is a 'Health 2.0' approach according to Lingg.
IMI can offer mobiles (see Fig. 1) or tablet PCs as all-in-one devices, separate devices as an add-on for mobiles with Bluetooth connection, or provide the technology for third parties to white label their products.
IMI owns mobile and server-based software that is secure, patented and able to be connected to most common operating systems and browsers. Data protection in this environment is mandatory and may be provided to military standard if required.
The concept of the IMI mHealth framework is integrated to build a perfect quality control loop that is open enough to have permanent upgrades through application providers, users and experts from all over the world (see Fig. 2).
The concept is also integrated in the holistic idea that the human body is a complex system and everything people do has an impact whether they want to lose weight, improve their shape or optimise nutrition. These points are all just single aspects of a person living in our so-called 'highly developed' civilisation. But losing weight could make some people sick and training too hard could overburden the heart. This is why the IMI solution monitors these aspects and people can function in a balanced way, taking care of their metabolism and cardiovascular requirements.
The loop: from measurement to data capture
To be able to test all the different impacts on the human system, a measurement point is needed that:
•Can be used instantly and in any environment;
•Functions for all users in the same way;
•Has an immediate response to every impact on the human body.
The cardiovascular and the autonomous nervous systems of the human body are sending instant signals about our wellbeing. IMI has found a way to interpret those signals utilising its patented algorithm. That is why IMI developed a device that can be integrated in every mobile phone using four sensors on the back that can be equally applied from the fingertips or the breast. The measurement are of one channel ECG, pulse and blood oxygen that calculates and reports blood pressure, the status of metabolism and the autonomous nervous system with special focus on stress levels (see Fig. 3).
After a measurement, which can be conducted daily and takes two minutes 20 seconds, the result will be shown immediately on the device and – whenever connectivity to the internet is possible – also in a personal user area online. Based on that spot check, advice can be given on optimal nutrition and cardio workouts. There is also a special sport application available that shows an optimal training guide. Well-recognised and approved databases like Nutri-Find and WikiFood are used to build up a detailed nutritional diary, containing recipes and other useful sources of information. The comparison of advice given and what actually happened will enable the software to make an analysis. There are already some precious 'pearls' with regard to apps and databases that are available in the mHealth sector, dealing with specific aspects of wellness and health.
IMI has developed a string to be able to integrate those developments and hence be able to provide a 'string of pearls' together with the loop. Eventually, all the captured and stored data will provide valuable information, both demographically and geographically, on a global basis.
Appealing graphics and an easily comprehensible menu structure on the mobile phone and internet account makes the IMI Health product a discrete and viable companion in daily life.
The user area is programmed to provide a white label solution and can be branded and adopted for many purposes by institutions and companies.
Protected private sphere
Data protection is mandatory for the capture, storage and use of personal health data. The user area is 'https'-based and leaves it up to the user, if he/she wishes to be the single user in their account or grant access to the GP, partner or even share the experiences and discoveries in social communities.
All data is stored on the server in a way that every user is identified through a personal ID. Personal data to identify the user and the collected and stored information is retained in two separate databases. An assignment is only possible through the ID and access to personal data is specifically protected.
The integrated and interactive mHealth service provided by IMI Health AG technology facilitates:
•Secure data storage for medium and long-term analysis;
•A large range of supporting mHealth applications;
•A range of differing hardware devices;
•A built-in and effective control system.
In a world in which people are living longer, the available medical resource, with the inherent cost, is being stretched to breaking point. It is vital that mobile communications are used to monitor people remotely. IMI Health AG has developed technology from a vision to make this a reality.
Remote monitoring together with the accurate evaluation of the collected data creates wellness management at your fingertips.