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9/23/2009
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IBM Pilots Telemedicine Project In Italy

An IBM 'Smart City' telehealth project aims to keep the elderly in their homes and out of the hospital.

IBM says it launching a telehealth project aimed at improving the independence and quality of life of elderly patients living in Bolzano, Italy, while reducing health costs.

The one-year project, dubbed "Secure Living" will involve 30 patients who are in their 80s, and who will be remotely monitored with in-home sensoring gear. They will be provided tele-assistance as needed during daily activities, as well as guidance on exercises for mental agility and tutored physical training, said an IBM spokeswoman.

The elderly will be assisted over the phone and via the Web, she said.

The system is based on a net of integrated sensors that send data about the assisted person to a control room run by the municipality, where data will be analyzed. If data indicates that an elderly person has fallen, for instance, a medical team will be alerted to assist.

The data transfer is through a TCP/IP protocol to the service center and adopts different means of communications. Mobile technology is used to deliver information to some different user groups involved in the pilot, she said.

The goal is to help "extend the lives of these individuals and keep them out of the hospital" by recognizing problems before they become more serious, said the spokeswoman.

No word yet whether IBM will replicate the project in the U.S.


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