Did Dad eat today? How long Sally sleep last night? Did John take his medication? How much time did Susan spend sitting versus moving around during the day? Did Jim fall anytime in the last month? These are just some of the questions caregivers, family, and healthcare professionals want to know about older people who live on their own. The desire for independence on a geographic scale can lead to revolt, wars, and the creation of or change in nations. On an individual level, especially as we enjoy the gift of aging, independence means not being reliant on other people for our daily self-care needs. Health Tech enhances individual independence when it enables us to live on our own longer than we could without it.

Perlis has developed a wireless patient monitoring system to enable extended independent living, specifically for aging people. Perlis monitoring has three major functions: health management through continuous monitoring; early identification of diseases and conditions; and urgent care alerts. The Perlis system’s passive sensors placed throughout the home monitor and record information 24/7 about inhabitants’ activity and functioning. The data is fed into and analyzed by an artificial intelligence system (AIS) that builds and evaluates an Activity Daily Living profile using robotics algorithms. The information from the system feeds into a central healthcare  center where client specific information about existing conditions and predetermined alert levels are monitored.

In monitoring well-being, the Perlis system can interface with disease or condition specific readings, such as blood sugar tests by diabetics and blood pressure readings for people with hypertension. Based on known individual history, the system can be tweaked for in individual needs, according to Perlis. In addition to managing known conditions, the Perlis system has data on characteristics and diagnostic symptoms of major medical and physical conditions. Combined with activity monitoring, the predictive aspect of the system is designed to recognize early signs of Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease, for example, conditions which can be helped with early identification and treatment. The Perlis alert system watches for falls and will call for help if a fall occurs, but the predictive capability of the system is designed to prevent falls by identifying and addressing conditions that lead to falls as soon as the signs are recognized. The system also interfaces with healthcare providers, emergency response systems, and family members.

The concept of the Perlis system takes the notion of a “smart home” a giant step further. If it all works as described, a home with the Perlis system installed and configured for an individual would be a “smart care home.”