27.4.2017

Ten European partners are working together to detect early signs and symptoms of heart failure decompensation in senior patients. The consortium of the SmartBEAT project, coordinated by Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, gathered on 6th and 7th of April in Eindhoven (Netherlands) to discuss the details of the pilot. In June, the prototype will be tested in a real case scenario.

A set of sensors and a smartphone application are the essential tools to help senior heart failure patients and their caregivers to monitor health conditions. With the SmartBEAT Companion app, it is possible to improve disease outcomes and enhance the quality of life of senior heart failure patients.

The schema of the SmartBEAT Companion is the result of a comprehensive study, done in 2016, with 47 health professionals and 28 patients in 4 different countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Norway and Portugal). It will monitor 8 parameters, specifically weight, blood pressure, heart rate, peripheral oxygen saturation, physical activity, subjective health status, heart failure related symptoms (paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnoea, syncope, peripheral edema) and medication intake, using a smartphone connected via Bluetooth to 4 devices: weight scale, bracelet, blood pressure monitor and oximeter. The parameters will be measured on a daily basis, preferably in the morning, with the exception of physical activity and heart rate (both continuous), and medication intake. The patient will also be allowed to check the history log of all the measurements performed.

On the fourth General Assembly of the project, the consortium gathered together to discuss the final details of the pilot in which 12 seniors will test the SmartBEAT Companion app. The pilot, scheduled to start in June, will be composed of two iterative stages: sessions and home use. The sessions will introduce the system to the users, as well as discuss their first perceptions on usability. The home use will comprise users to experiment the system at home for two consecutive weeks to evaluate its overall performance and effort. The findings from this study will allow for refinement of both user and technical requirements, and the system will be updated accordingly for the next phase: the field trials.

SmartBEAT is a European project funded by the Active and Assisted Living Joint Programme (AAL JP), which involves 10 partners from several countries, including Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, Centro Hospital São João and Faculdade Medicina da Universidade do Porto. The funding, over two million euros, will be carried out by various entities from each country, namely the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).