Patient monitoring  

Bracelet with GSM and GPS alerts when Alzheimer patients wander

Paris, France. Medical Mobile and Orange have developed the Columba telephone bracelet which integrates mobile phone and geographic location technology in a watch-sized device that a patient can wear on the wrist. An alarm is signalled when a patient leaves a safe area.

The fruit of three years of research, this revolutionary technology is based on intelligent detection and alarm software, a GPS assisted geolocalisation system, and a GSM/GPRS transmitter-receiver that integrates a SIM card. Telephone communication and data transfer are realised via the Orange mobile network and the services of AXA Assistance.

The Columba telephone bracelet, which integrates an alarm button, is attached to the wrist like a simple waterproof watch, thus providing the patient with a secure and safe environment without limiting their freedom of movement, in conformity with the procedures set by France's Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libert├ęs (National Commission on Information Technology and Freedom).

If an Alzheimer's patient wearing a Columba bracelet leaves the geographic area with which they are familiar and in which they have points of reference, the device automatically triggers an alarm that notifies the patient's family or caregiver of the problem.

A medical call centre (available to families and caregivers 24/7) immediately ascertains the patient's exact location by satellite. The bracelet's loudspeaker and hands-free functions also enable direct communication with the patient and the medical call centre.

Increased life expectancy has made Alzheimer's a major public health challenge. There are 850,000 Alzheimer patients in France and 165,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. By 2008, every French family will be affected directly or indirectly by Alzheimer's, one of whose major symptoms is loss of spatial and temporal orientation. About 60 per cent of all Alzheimer patients either wander off or live in a disoriented state.

Having been piloted from October 2005 to February 2006 in household and retirement home settings, the Columba is now being marketed via a network consisting of 22,400 pharmacies and 700 France Telecom branch offices.

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