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FAU Developing Innovative Technologies to Address Challenges of Telemedicine and Home-Healthcare

success-ankurFlorida Atlantic University’s department of computer and electrical engineering and computer science associate professor Ankur Agarwal, Ph.D., has received a one-year National Science Foundation (NSF) Collaborative Research: Data Correlation and Fusion for Medical Monitoring grant of $200,000 through the NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC), Center for Advanced Knowledge Enablement (CAKE) in conjunction with Florida International University (FIU) and a matching grant from Soren Technology of an additional $200,000 to address the challenges of telemedicine and home healthcare. This research is in response to the rising healthcare costs in the United States associated with hospitalization.

“We are very pleased to be a part of this unique interdisciplinary project linking the field of computer science with the field of medicine,” said Borko Furht, Ph.D., professor and director of the I/UCRC, CAKE FAU site. “This research will help improve patient healthcare options and provide innovative tools to help physicians manage patient care.”

The project will cover three main areas of research ─ testing Soren Technology’s decision support system to avoid readmission, a protocol for interoperability of healthcare devices and a multimedia algorithm to optimize data streams for telemedicine.

The decision support system work will include the testing of a patient prognosis system to assess a patient’s readmission risk based on specific serious health conditions such as pneumonia or a heart condition. Once a high-risk patient has been identified Soren Technology’s existing, patented software technology will help to provide coordinated care for the patient in order to avoid readmission. Current healthcare devices are not set up to share data. The partnership will explore a new protocol compatible with IEEE 11073 Personal Health Data Standards to allow devices to communicate and transfer information through the use of smart phones.

The team will also enhance Soren Technology’s multimedia algorithm to optimize data streams for telemedicine purposes, utilizing voice, video and physiological data. Telemedicine services include specialist referrals which involves a patient seeing a specialist over a live, remote consultation or a physician’s office sending diagnostic images and/or video along with a patient’s data to a specialist for diagnosis; patient consultations; remote patient monitoring which can include audio, live or still images; and access to medical and consumer health information using a direct link to a physician’s office or over the Web.

“This will be a revolutionary technology which has the potential to help consumers and businesses reduce their healthcare costs by deploying these cutting edge concepts into their processes,” said Agarwal.

Napthali Rishe, Ph.D., professor of computer science and director of the I/UCRC, CAKE FIU site serves as the principal investigator for the FIU portion of the project. The co-principal investigators of the study include Ravi Behara, Ph.D., associate professor of information technology and operations management at FAU; Furht; and Hari Kalva, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science at FAU.

Faiz Fatteh, M.D., president and CEO of Soren Technology, provided matching funds to the FAU portion of the project. Soren Technology provides electronic health records systems specifically designed to develop, test, deploy and adapt new and existing methodologies to improve collaboration between healthcare providers and patients.

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