An inter-institutional partnership, including Caltech, aims to develop clinically validated technologies for remote patient health monitoring

Caltech, the University of Arizona, Baylor College of Medicine, and USC have teamed up to create a new National Science Foundation (NSF) center that aims to shift health care from a patient-in-one model Hospital or doctor’s office must be treated a model in which patients manage their health from home.

Called Center to Stream Healthcare in Place (C2SHIP) and led by University of Arizona Electronics and Computing Professor Janet Roveda, the collaboration aims to connect clinicians with patients through wearable, wearable and implantable devices. These devices enable clinicians to collect and provide patient data without the patient having to leave their home. C2SHIP was selected as the NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Center. It receives an initial grant of at least $ 3 million from the NSF, with this award being complemented by industrial funding.

“At Caltech we will be device-centric and focus on new wearable, wearable or implantable sensor technologies and artificial intelligence tools for data analysis and visualization,” says Chiara Daraio, Director of the Caltech site of the new center and G. Bradford Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics. “The idea is to go from the laboratory to the bedside. To accelerate the transfer of knowledge between science and medicine, we are working with medical schools to have direct influence and access to clinical studies.”

Daraio is already planning a collaboration at Caltech Yu-Chong Tai, Anna L. Rosen Professor of Electrical and Medical Engineering and Andrew and Peggy Cherng Medical Engineering Leadership Chair; and Azita Emami, Andrew and Peggy Cherng Professor of Electrical and Medical Technology and Investigator for the Heritage Medical Research Institute; both are co-investigators of the project. She will work with too Axel Scherer, Bernard Neches Professor of Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics and Physics; and Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Technology. Daraio also hopes to recruit more Caltech researchers across campus to study issues related to medical diagnostics, cybersecurity, data manipulation, and the economic and social impact of remote health care.

“The C2SHIP Center is an exciting program that fits well with Caltech’s engineering tradition of multidisciplinary work that combines basic science with translational opportunities,” said Harry A. Atwater, Otis Booth Leadership Chair, Caltech Division of Engineering and Applied Science.

Over the past two decades, there has been an increase in the number of people who have chosen to monitor their own health using wearable technologies like Fitbit and Apple Watches. But while information is constantly being collected, this data has not been validated at the clinical level and is therefore not necessarily yet usable by healthcare professionals.

Some clinics, Roveda says, are already working on home health care. For example, her own father was recently given a high-end home blood pressure cuff for a few months after he was given a new drug for heart disease. His doctors “wanted to make sure the new drug was regulating his blood pressure, so the device kept sending data to the clinic,” she says. “There were a few days when he didn’t want to wear it and he got a call from the doctor who was checking on him. I see huge potential in such a CVS device and take not just a drug but a home care tool to collect data on your health. “

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown more clearly than ever that on-site care, especially for medically fragile patients who should not attend personal appointments, can make a big difference.

“COVID-19 has disrupted best practices for preventing disease-related complications. In response, many healthcare providers are redesigning their ways to promote ‘local care’, “said Bijan Najafi, co-director of C2SHIP, director of the Baylor College of Medicine Site, professor in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery and Director of clinical research in the Department of Vascular Surgery, in a press release. “On-site care is an increasingly important issue in health care and is becoming the foreground of governance practices to decentralize care and reduce care gaps.”

The team is moving forward with a commitment to remote care that is stronger than ever.

“The proposal brings together a lot of potential research and industry potential to focus on an area that may no longer be ready for innovation,” said David G. Armstrong, director of the USC site and professor of surgery and director of the Southwestern Academic Limb Salvage Alliance, in a press release. “We really have the potential to develop some of the basic fundamentals of how we bring consumer electronics and medical devices together. Working with startups in the early stages through to the largest of the big tech is such a spectacular gift to pay it forward.