e-Mutakalo: Smart toolkit’ could help ailing Gauteng healthcare industry

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A device, named e-mutakalo (Tshivenda word for ‘health’) has been   developed by University of Johannesburg’s Institute Intelligent Systems (IIS) . It is an intelligent, low-cost, smart toolkit that may assist healthcare practitioners monitor and diagnose patients the

e-mutakalo is able to do this remotely by collecting, processing and analysing real-time vital signs data. It can therefore automatically detect problems and alert medical staff in the event of an emergency.

“This technology allows for a more natural and unobtrusive approach to continuous monitoring and observation of patients, as it works on the principle of non-invasive monitoring,” he said.

“It uses wireless sensor nodes, ambient intelligence techniques to monitor the patient’s comfort and condition and it is able to detect and diagnose problems.”

The  e-mutakalo technology is especially needed for patients seeking medical attention whilst healthcare practitioners or care providers are on intervals between patients, said Doorsamy.

Short staffed

In a statement, the university said a shortage of skilled staff and budget shortfalls were a growing concern in the healthcare industry, with an ever-increasing number of in-patients in hospitals and elderly-care facilities. This was particularly the case in Gauteng province, owing to migration patterns.

The device brings together technologies of the fourth industrial revolution to make real impact in society, said Wesley Doorsamy, an associate professor and researcher at IIS.

Multifunctional toolkit ‘cost effective’

The device could be deployed for home-care purposes, allowing patients to stay at home rather than in expensive healthcare facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes, as it provides an efficient and cost-effective alternative to on-site clinical monitoring.

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a major role in the delivery of health services. AI has already transformed some areas of health and medicine towards clinical decision-making,” said Doorsamy.

“We trust that the rollout of the wearable sensing technologies might serve as a foundation for value-based care approaches while improving outcome and efficiency of healthcare delivery.”

– African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa

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