IncluSens: Democratising progress in healthcare through the development of wearable, low-cost technological platforms✎
Knowing about one’s own day-to-day health appears to be very challenging, because the body often seems like a black box. This research involves the development of cloud-based platforms for wearable and affordable devices that can be used at home by patients at a very low cost.
IncluSens aims to create novel technological platforms for healthcare that are accessible on a mass scale. At the social level, this project aims to provide tools for home-based healthcare that are simple to operate, easy to access and highly affordable. People will therefore benefit from better and affordable control of their health and improved quality of life. Society will also benefit from effective tools that can help to redefine healthcare by leveraging progress in communication tools and channels.
an industrial designer with a high level of expertise in design thinking and human-centred design.
Through this collaboration, the team conducted observational research by testing the devices
among patients and doctors. Ethnographic studies were carried out and the insights gained
were discussed in focus groups to translate them into inputs for research. This helped to improve
the development of useful, applicable solutions, since it highlights different layers of value, latent
needs etc. The team also included two target groups: doctors and patients. Since the goal of
the project is to provide tools to improve healthcare and well-being, these patients and doctors
were included as co-developers of the project. For this reason, periodical review meetings were
organised with them, at which progress was shared and their feedback and needs were captured
in order to identify how to proceed or what the limitations are.
To reflect on the broader issues involved in implementing wearable devices, the team has set
up a panel of experts from different areas (medical, legal, social, ethics, etc.), who are consulted
periodically to evaluate the ethical and social implications of the results. The analysis of the
project’s impact used a matrix in which the different aspects (social, environmental, economic)
were evaluated as a function of the time-frame (short, medium, long-term). The feedback captured from the different panels (doctors, patients, stakeholders) and from the experts was classified accordingly. This matrix allowed the identification of previously unsuspected problems, and also the detection of many opportunities.
concentrated among only a small fraction of the world population, while large numbers of people
suffer from conditions that seriously compromise their life and well-being. Science cannot be
indifferent to this problem since the incorporation of technology in society might become a
source of inequality. In healthcare, for example, technological progress is creating unprecedented
ways to detect and cure diseases early. At the same time, increasing numbers of people
in both developed and developing nations cannot afford basic medical care. The World Health
Organisation has recently admitted that technological progress is directly linked to the skyrocketing costs of healthcare. Treatment is better but accessed by fewer people. To avoid this, an understanding of progress that goes beyond improving current performance to include the
extension of existing benefits to larger numbers of people is therefore required. Many challenges
lack academic appeal because the focus is on the scientific challenge. Nevertheless, little is being done to allow the benefits to reach the whole population. New models of inclusive social progress are needed. IncluSens aims to create novel technological platforms for healthcare that are accessible on a mass scale. At the social level, this project aims to provide tools for homebased healthcare that are simple to operate, easy to access and highly affordable. People will
therefore benefit from better and affordable control of their health and improved quality of life.
Society will also benefit from effective tools that can help to redefine healthcare by leveraging
progress in communication tools and channels. Another social challenge that is mentioned is
the pressure the devices put on the interaction between patients and their doctors and the
position adopted by doctors on the devic
- Leading organisation: Nanosensors Research Group, Universitat Rovira I Virgili Research location Tarragona, Spain
- Cooperation partners: International university partners, local private organisations and the Hospital St. Joan de Déu Barcelona