Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) present tremendous potential in the field of healthcare, according to the researchers. “ICTs are going to contribute to a change in focus in aid and health services,” comments Jesús Espinosa. According to accreditation and standardization associations, Spain is a leader in the management of clinical processes, because it has the greatest number of hospitals that have adopted electronic medical record (EMR). This computerized registry of patients’ social, preventive and medical data allows all of that information to be centralized in an integrated multimedia system that can be accessed when necessary, for example in the case of emergencies, primary care or hospital admissions.
In this project, the firm IonIDE is trying to attach the EMR to the foot of the patient’s bed. To do this, they have proposed changing the traditional television found in many hospital rooms for a touch screen that can be voice activated, and through which all of the patient’s clinical information can be accessed, as can other services connected to ICT, such as entertainment and communication. In fact, they have already collaborated with Grupo Hospitalario Povisa (Povisa Hospital Group) to implement this system using a multifunctional integrated terminal (data, voice and TV), called IonPAD, which is attached to one end of an adapted articulated arm. Now the researchers at UC3M’s Centro de Innovación para la Discapacidad y Dependencia (Center for Disability and Dependence) have added a user interface to the device for use by patients with some degree of incapacity.
“We have developed a speech recognition system that allows the IonPAD to be controlled by voice, in addition to a voice synthesis system that allows individuals with a visual handicap to understand what is shown on the screen,” explains Luis Puente. “Surprisingly,” he adds, “there was no solution available that enabled a handicapped person to have access to this type of service.”
Currently, the system that is in the testing phase shows an 81 percent rate of accuracy, although with further filtering and specific training the researchers expect to achieve rates of up to 95 percent. “The most complicated part,” Luis Puente says “has been obtaining an interface that would be accessible to the majority of the handicapped patients, and which would also be economically viable, because we have had to base our equipment on adapted commercially available equipment along with open source software or software we designed ourselves.”
COMPAMED.de; Source: Universidad Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M)