Medical IT Specialist Pioneers Real Time Fetal Monitoring Solution
Global IT firm Wipro created Wipro AssureHealth for high risk pregnant women. The remote monitoring platform and scalable cloud-based information system provides real time mobile access to patient health data in collaboration with Microsoft and Monica Healthcare. Pregnant women now know that their condition is constantly monitored, doctors can make decisions based on up-to-the-minute data, and hospitals can also monitor cardiac and chronic disease patients at home, freeing up their resources.
The risk of complications during pregnancy can be a source of great anxiety for women and their families. Every year there are more than 4.5 million stillbirths around the world, and the rates are highest in developing nations with quickly growing populations. To help hospitals and doctors better manage high-risk pregnancies, India-based IT firm Wipro worked with the Microsoft Enterprise Alliance Partner group to develop the Wipro AssureHealth remote fetal monitoring system.
Wipro AssureHealth provides pregnant women with a lightweight, wearable sensing device that collects and transmits real-time health data back to their doctor, who can access it at any time in the hospital or remotely on a tablet PC. This lets patients make fewer hospital visits, which is particularly beneficial in emerging nations like India where 70 percent of the population lives in rural communities and may not have easy hospital access. With Wipro AssureHealth, pregnant women can spend more time at home with their families, knowing that their doctor has access to accurate, current data and can make an informed decision should any complications occur.
“We want to create solutions that make a real difference in people’s lives and also help organizations do business better,” says Pallab Deb, Head Global Alliances at Wipro. “Based on our medical industry experience, we believe Wipro AssureHealth will have a significant impact on the management of high-risk pregnancies, giving doctors access to high-quality medical data and giving women and their families peace of mind during what can be a very stressful time. The platform can also be applied to the management of cardiac and chronic disease care, letting patients leave the hospital and return to their lives sooner while ensuring that their conditions are continuously monitored.”
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Twenty-First-Century Healthcare Challenges
As populations grow and age, managing acute and chronic medical conditions has become a financial and logistical challenge around the world. High-risk pregnancies are one area with an increasing need for flexible, innovative solutions that can address the requirements of a variety of patients and medical settings. There is a particularly pressing need in developing nations where large rural populations lack easy access to healthcare and the funds available to implement new technologies may be limited.
Wipro, based in Bengaluru (Bangalore), India, is a global IT company with customers in 57 countries and many years of experience developing technology solutions that help medical providers and facilities work more effectively and give their patients the highest quality of care. Since 2000, Wipro has invested in creating Wipro HIS, a modular hospital information system that streamlines all business processes for a hospital, from records management to patient diagnostics.
Advanced Technology for Advanced Healthcare
“In India alone, there are more than 25 million births annually,” says TK Padmanabha, Chief Technology Officer, Wipro Infotech. “About 15 percent of those pregnancies are considered at high risk for complications, and more than 600,000 families lose a baby to stillbirth every year. In India, most medical expenses are paid out of pocket, and 70 percent of the population lives in rural areas and may have difficulty getting to medical facilities, so there is a need for simple, cost-efficient ways to help doctors and patients address pregnancy risks and complications.”
Drawing on its deep understanding of the healthcare domain and its extensive experience in emerging markets, Wipro partnered with United Kingdom-based Monica Healthcare to develop a solution for managing high risk pregnancies. The Monica AN24 is a wireless fetal-maternal monitor that uses electrodes positioned on the mother’s abdomen to track electrophysiological signals—such as the unborn baby’s heart rate—that can help identify potential problems before and during the birth process.
“By combining remote sensor technology with a robust software solution that integrates with our Hospital Information System, we saw the potential to have a significant impact on prenatal care,” says TK Padmanabha. “Since Microsoft technology already provides the foundation for Wipro HIS, it made sense to partner with Microsoft for this project.”
Together, the companies created Wipro AssureHealth, which combines the wearable patient sensors with information management software, cloud communication, and mobile devices to provide doctors with accurate, up-to-date information on patients’ conditions, wherever patients are located. Wipro offers both an on-premises version and a hosted, cloud-based version of the solution, and both can be easily customized to meet hospitals’ specific service needs, financial resources, and regulatory compliance requirements. The system is flexible and configurable enough to be used for the management of cardiac and chronic disease patients as well.
In addition to robust software tools that interoperate seamlessly, Wipro found that the people at Microsoft were an important part of the project’s success. “We worked extensively with the Microsoft Enterprise Alliance Partner group,” says TK Padmanabha. “What we saw was that they clearly understood who needed to be involved, and that really accelerated the process of getting the solution ready. And knowing that Wipro AssureHealth is built on industry-standard Microsoft applications gives hospital IT decision makers confidence in the solution.”
Helping Caregivers, Patients, and Communities
Doctors need accurate, appropriate information to make well-informed decisions about patient care. Wipro AssureHealth provides this information in situations that may have been problematic in the past. For example, in the later stages of pregnancy, the baby should be moving actively. If the mother isn’t feeling those movements, it can indicate complications, and that fear can cause great stress for her and her family. It is also not a situation where the doctor can make an accurate diagnosis over the phone.
“The only solution before now has been for the mother to go to the hospital every few days for a 20-minute monitoring,” says TK Padmanabha. “This can be a problem if the mother lives in a remote area and can’t easily travel. With Wipro AssureHealth, the doctor has access to complete, up-to-date vital statistics on the mother and baby—whether the doctor is in the hospital or working remotely on a Surface Pro tablet or Windows 8 Phone—and this empowers him to decide whether the situation is serious enough to merit hospital admission.”
In situations like this, the remote monitoring system reassures the patient that her condition is constantly monitored, wherever she is. It can even give patients face-to-face contact with doctors from home. “One nice thing about working with Microsoft technology is the broad array of products that integrate quickly and seamlessly,” says TK Padmanabha. “We have incorporated Skype videoconferencing into the system to open yet another communication channel between doctor and patient.”
One of the first hospitals to implement the remote fetal monitoring system is Manipal Hospital in Bangalore, where it is already making a difference. “Wipro AssureHealth is truly a wonderful marriage of healthcare and technology,” says Manipal Hospital. “This solution will be more commonly used in the future, making life easier and safer for the mother, the unborn child, and the caregiver.”
By Wipro on November 16, 2014
Filed under Process Manufacturing & Resources