TIME The 25 Best Invention of 2016
Anyone who has ever had a sick child knows what a hassle it can be to take someone’s temperature using the traditional method—slipping a thermometer under her tongue, getting her to sit still for minutes at a time and hoping that whatever reading you get is accurate. That’s why, in recent years, many brands have started to make no-touch thermometers, which use infrared technology to measure core body temperature quickly and precisely. But one model stands out both for its design and its efficacy: Arc’s InstaTemp (and its more precise, clinical version, InstaTemp MD), which was recently approved by the FDA. Once the device is placed roughly an inch from a patient’s forehead, it spits out a temperature in 2.5 seconds—coded red, yellow or green, depending on the reading. “If you can take a temperature this way, why would you do it any other way?” says Irwin Gross, CEO of Arc, which is marketing the InstaTemp devices to consumers and health care professionals alike. “We think this is the way all temperatures will be taken in the future.”
We developed an integrated framework of various tools and technologies for enabling standalone medical devices such as thermometers to communicate with legacy Health IT systems, via a healthcare mobile application. Thus, it gives a contemporary side to a legacy-based Health IT system.
The project involved development of a mobile app (on both Android and iOS platforms) which will connect to a Bluetooth-enabled thermometer and read the temperature measurements from it. The thermometer, called InstaTemp, has been manufactured by ARC Devices Ltd., Boca Raton, Florida. We focused on millennial mothers for the first use case of this application.
The objectives achieved by the above-mentioned framework are as follows:
- Enable standalone medical devices to interface with mobile apps using wireless technology
- Store patient’s vitals recorded by medical devices to the patient’s EHR (Electronic Health Record) in existing Health IT systems
- Ensure interoperability through exchange of information using latest standards
Providing interfaces between standalone medical devices and EHR systems will allow the upload of the vitals measured directly into an individual’s EHR. The individual is able to monitor and track his/her health from home; and the health service provider will have access to the individual’s vitals via the online EHR. This may improve health care and reduce cost. As the framework ensures interoperability by using recently established standards for exchange, data from each individual element of the system can be exchanged easily.
The framework developed uses, or allows for the use of, various open source tools and technologies; this will help lower app development cost and adapt to the academic environment.
For developing the application, we used Android SDK and Java language for the Android application. For the iPhone application, we used XCode SDK and Swift language. For the back-end, we developed a cloud-based server setup which included – Intersystems Cache as the MUMPS (NoSQL) Database, Intersystems Health Connect (from the HealthShare product family) for API development, and Amazon Web Services for Cloud Deployment. An equivalent open source system is under development.