Alert Systems in Wearable Devices – An Urban Necessity


Published on

This paper proposes the need of wearable and convenient medical alert systems which will proactively alert the family of the patient. Leading ESO’s are conducting research towards development of such wearable devices.

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Alert Systems in Wearable Devices – An Urban Necessity

  1. 1. Medical Alerts System: An Urban Necessity The aim of this paper is to propose the need of medical alerts systems, which are wearable and convenient, and works proactively to alert the family of the patient. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  2. 2. Table of Contents Abstract 2 Need for a Medical Alert System 2 Target Market Analysis 4 Cardiac Arrests 4 Consumer Electronic 5 Innovation 5 Medical Alert System 5 Target Group 5 Extended Target Group 5 Proposition 6 Core Functionalities 6 Customer Benefits 7 Technology 7 Signs and symptoms to monitor 7 Other Features - Security 8 Market Reach 8 Conclusion 9 Appendix 9
  3. 3. Abstract The aim of this paper is to propose the need for medical alerts systems which are easily wearable and convenient to use for the customer. The resultant model works proactively to predict a severe medical condition such as Diabetes Mellitus. It can also be extended to work for various other chronic diseases such as Heart attack and Hypertension, which is currently affecting millions of people throughout the world, and especially in India. This paper presents a thorough analysis of: 1. The need for an effective Medical Alert system in emerging economies 2. The Indian Sub-Continent – Market scenario with target segment analysis, and 3. A model for implementation Many other areas like providing security for kids and aged by acting as a positioning system has also been touched upon in the present paper. The key characteristic of any such medical alert system is that it should be highly proactive. Any sudden drop in blood sugar level; blood pressure level renders a person incapable of asking for timely help and a medical alert system will immediately come to a patient’s rescue. The problem is coupled with the nuclear family setup that consists of multiple working professionals and thus leaving the patients vulnerable when alone in the house. With an inbuilt system to raise alarm and alert a pre-defined set of people, such a system will ensure the safety of your loved ones when you can’t be around them. Medical Alerts System: An Urban Necessity | 2
  4. 4. Need for a Medical Alert System In India, there are a large number of diseases afflicting people of all age groups, from the youth to the elderly. The vast size of the country, accessibility issues and deplorable state of health infrastructure mean that many patients suffer irreparable damage due to late detection of a disease. Moreover, lack of awareness among the afflicted and dearth of patients in rural areas means that detection of common diseases is also a major headache for patients and family members alike. There exists a big gap in the response systems for diseases in India and that needs to be addressed. The scenario described above makes it essential for a medical alert system which can alert the nearest hospital, family members and the patient himself that something is wrong with his body and he needs to consult a doctor. A medical alert system which detects diseases promptly will save essential time and give the medical health machinery critical time for providing adequate care for the patient. Senior citizens are prone to falls and other emergencies and a quick and timely response is essential to prevent lasting injuries and make seniors more self-reliant. Presently, automated medical alert systems are considered a necessity in the US and European countries where old and vulnerable people are living alone. The same condition is slowly being replicated in the metros in India as more and more Indian youth is moving to urban areas leaving their parents in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Medical alert systems are vital for protecting your near and dear ones when you cannot be around them all the while. Although adopted by many medical device manufacturers in US and other European countries, such a system has been unable to find acceptance in a price sensitive market like India. For such medical alert systems, US markets have subscription models with prices ranging from USD 20 / month – USD 60 / month which will not be viable in the price sensitive Indian market. Thus, the need for Original Equipment Manufacturers to derive value through cost optimization processes and inclusion of modularity in their devices is being felt like never before. Medical Alerts System: An Urban Necessity | 3
  5. 5. Medical Alerts System: An Urban Necessity | 4 Product Analysis Demographics of the sufferers Cardiac Arrests Target Market Analysis Diabetes has emerged as the number one lifestyle disease prevalent in India. The International Diabetes Federation in October 2009 ranked India as the country with the most diabetics across the globe. The umbrella group of more than 200 national associations estimates that this disease will kill about 1 million Indians this year, more than in any other country. Sudden cardiac arrests are another rising occurrence in India due to the sedentary lifestyles, rise in smoking and drinking and ease of life for the urban Indian population. According to WHO census statistics, approximately 4000/lakh people die due to sudden cardiac arrests in India. This is a very serious ailment and time is crucial for rescuing for any patient who suffers such a sudden cardiac arrest. The chances of survival reduce by 7-10% with every passing minute and any patient only has around 6 minutes before brain death occurs. This condition is reversible if the victim is administered prompt and appropriate emergency care and this can only be ensured by medical alert systems constantly measuring ones heart rate. In a study in 1998, Diabcare Asia Study observed that of all the patients with Diabetes taking treatment from specialized centers, more than 50% of patients had poor control over Diabetes. Even after the diagnosis, the monitoring of Diabetes is very poor. This study confirms that Diabetes care in India leaves much to be desired. Any medical alert system launched for this target group needs to be cognizant of the budgetary constraints faced by many patients. Instead of having a very rigid structure for such alert systems a modular device with an option of adding additional features at higher costs should be introduced. In the case of launching a sensitive product for a hugely prevalent disease like Diabetes in India, the suggested price point should be affordable to the middle class. 1. There are about 50 million Indians with Type II Diabetes 2. The disease strikes at an average age of 42.5years. 3. With a large majority suffering above the age of 60, it is estimated that every fifth person with Diabetes will be an Indian.
  6. 6. Innovation Consumer Electronic 1. Medical Alert System 2. Target Group 3. Extended Target Group The core product will be a bio signal measurement smart device to understand body signals and raise appropriate alerts to the patients' near and dear ones. A strong uptake is the proactive alert raised in case of sufferers who are left alone at home and are more vulnerable to delayed medical help that can prove to be life threatening. The device targets people with chronic illnesses, with a possibility of sudden relapse. The core focus is on patients suffering from Diabetes Mellitus. The same model can be extended to other chronic illnesses, consisting majorly of heart problems, hypertension and blood pressure. The primary criteria would be the possibility of detection of biometric signals on the epidermis or skin surface. Market analysis has deduced that lifestyle diseases such as Diabetes can be effectively dispensed through home owned equipment, making it an important part of diabetes management. An added benefit of keeping the equipment on oneself in some wearable form is to provide for closer monitoring. Any wearable equipment will be very easy to use for the consumer and thus the system will become a coveted buy for the home owner. Ideally, such a system should have a SECURITY feature that can be used to monitor TODDLERS and THE AGED, thus converting the device from a purely medical support device to a consumer good, with an emphasis on security. Medical Alerts System: An Urban Necessity | 5
  7. 7. Proposition Core Functionalities Using the technology of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system along with other key biometrics like heart rate and blood pressure using non-intrusive techniques, such a medical alert system can effectively predict and take proactive action before the occurrence of a medical emergency like fainting or dizziness due to a sudden drop of blood sugar level. In the present medical scenario, only cuff based technology is available but CGM’s are in an advanced research stage and their arrival will trigger better alert systems and prompter alerts. Traditional CGM’s are invasive and since many aged people will be using such a system, it is essential that any such system be non-invasive as it will prevent them from having to see blood. The combination of these metrics ensures the alert is raised only in case of genuine emergencies and hence reduces the risk of false alarms. Many such alert systems are present in the market today but there is a dearth of wearable devices with multitude of functionalities. It is now the age of connected devices and every consumer is looking out for alert systems which keep him abreast of all medical problems. The above images are some of the devices that currently exist in the market. However, any such system should continuously monitor blood glucose levels, process the data, filter out the noise and make an alert decision based on the various metrics such as: 1. CGM 2. Heart rate monitoring 3. Sweat perspiration/ muscle tension measurement Medical Alerts System: An Urban Necessity | 6
  8. 8. Customer Benefits 1. Proactive Nature - Constant and timely updates will ensure that there is vital time available to address the impending medical emergency and save at least 20-25 crucial minutes lost during emergency 2. Automated Alert - The alert should be immediately sent to key family members whose number should be pre-stored in any medical alert system. Such a timely alert will enable quick action in case the sufferer is not in a condition to raise an alarm. 3. Scalable - This system should demonstrate the capability to monitor other diseases like hypertension and high blood pressure. 4. Additional Functionality – Any such device should double up for other functionalities and shouldn’t be limited to just one functionality alone. As earlier explained, connected devices is the latest fad in the consumer electronics market and making a scalable device with a provision of adding additional functionalities is a must. 5. Ease of Integration – Many such wearable devices already are in existence and constant R&D in this sphere means that new technologies are constantly being brought out. So any such wearable device designed for medical alerts should be easily upgradable with new technologies. 6. Ease of Storage - Any such system should store medical data records continuously for referring in future using memory chip. 7. Peace of Mind - Such a system should address the anxiety of the working people who leave behind their aged parents at home and go to work with no alternate caretakers. Technology Signs and symptoms to monitor Medical Alerts System: An Urban Necessity | 7 • Sweating, chills, and clamminess • Rapid/fast heartbeat or headaches • Light-headedness or dizziness • Hunger, nausea, blurred, or impaired vision • Weakness, fatigue or unconsciousness One of the notable features of any such medical alert system would be its non-invasive nature. One of the existing non-invasive technologies available for monitoring glucose levels is the power of light technology. The corresponding vibrations of the glucose molecules when exposed to a beam of light are used to measure the glucose level in the blood. The system is based on the principle of Raman Spectroscopy. This can be achieved via a small pain free portable monitor which can be part of a wrist watch or any other portable device. Although this light based Glucose sensing technology is still in the research stage, any solution devised using such a technology will be extremely popular as non-invasive devices always find easy acceptance across all the age groups.
  9. 9. Other Features - Security Market Reach Medical Alerts System: An Urban Necessity | 8 An additional security system as an add-on package helps widen the scope of the project’s target groups. The target shifts from the product being a health care product to a holistic security system, where the incumbent can be monitored in terms of location, through a tracking system. The extended population would include the children or toddlers, and the aged, who are both prone to falls. Any medical alert system which targets the lifestyle diseases existing in the urban population has a suitable market in nations across the globe. The price point of the system should be affordable so that we can achieve a wide spread reach. There is a sustained degree of awareness against lifestyle diseases in developed nations, thus resulting in a reduced marketing effort to the markets and will have a high probability of acceptance.
  10. 10. Conclusion Appendix SOURCES:,oid,4019/lang,2/ticket,g_u_e_s_t/ ~/inet_wom_INDIA_NewDelhi_A4.pdf Medical Alerts System: An Urban Necessity | 9 Thus, the presence of such medical problems in India mean that it is a pressing and urgent need to have medical alert systems available for use to all citizens. It is essential that OEM’s take into account the market existing in India and identify ways to cater to the existing demand by making existing devices affordable, modular and easy to use. Designed By: Mayuri Infomedia Author Info Partha Marella, AVP & Head - Medical Devices, HCL Engineering and R&D Services Surbhi Shukla, PGP, IIM Bangalore This whitepaper is published by HCL Engineering and R&D Services. The views and opinions in this article are for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional business advice. The use herein of any trademarks is not an assertion of ownership of such trademarks by HCL nor intended to imply any association between HCL and lawful owners of such trademarks. For more information about HCL Engineering and R&D Services, Please visit Copyright@ HCL Technologies All rights reserved.