Pioneering B-Secur research project harnesses technology to help local caregivers
Belfast-based health technology company B-Secur is taking part in a major project alongside Ulster University researchers to understand how cutting-edge digital technology can best meet health and wellbeing needs caregivers in Northern Ireland.
The project, eCareWell (Enhancing Carers Wellbeing) will also assess health and social care delivery at the community level and identify barriers to the use of technology for carers.
The pilot project, funded by the UK Community Renewal Fund, will focus on carers in the Derry City & Strabane District Council area. Caregivers will be interviewed and then matched with the most appropriate technology for their individual needs to help researchers understand the impact of technology on their mental and physical health.
B-Secur along with five other Northern Irish funded companies, Elemental, EthelCare, Kraydel, ActionSense Ltd and TakeTen will provide the various technologies to be used in the research project.
The B-Secur team, led by Clinical Research Engineer, Stacey Murray and Data Research Manager, Holly Easlea, provides a ready-to-use Holter device that facilitates ECG recording via company’s HeartKey algorithms that process and analyze data to create insights into caregiver health and well-being.
B-Secur’s suite of FDA-approved HeartKey algorithms generate medical-grade health and wellness data that is encrypted by the user’s unique heart rhythm.
The software can be implemented on a range of consumer and medical devices, putting heart health monitoring in the hands of the consumer and reducing the burden on clinicians.
Holly Easlea said the company is privileged to be part of the project because the results will be used to help the caregivers who do such a good job in our community.
She continues: “The first phase of the project consists of identifying the most suitable device for each caregiver and their needs. The system that B-Secur provides to the project is a Holter device, which facilitates the recording of the ECG.
“The caregiver will use the wearable device during the follow-up period of the project, recording continuous ECG data that can be used to help build a picture of their overall health. Our HeartKey algorithms can measure stress levels, expenditure energy, heart rate, and heart rate variability of a user, which is a powerful tool for analyzing heart and physical health.
“B-Secur’s software can also be used in more clinical situations to help detect arrhythmias (an abnormal heart rhythm). Irregular blood flow due to arrhythmia can increase the likelihood of more serious conditions, including ischemic stroke, heart failure, and other heart complications. With so many caregivers fully focused on caring for a loved one, their own health considerations can often become secondary.
“By using B-Secur’s HeartKey algorithms, they can get an accurate picture of their condition and take the necessary lifestyle actions to improve their health, if needed.”
Led by Professor Joan Condell from the University of Ulster, the researchers are working in partnership with the Design Innovation and Assisted Living center ([email protected]), the Health Innovation Research Alliance Northern Ireland (HIRANI), Digital Catapult NI (DCNI), several local charities and community groups.
Professor Condell added: “Caring for a loved one is an extremely demanding role, so this research project is a great opportunity for carers in the region to get involved and support their own well-being by trying to new digital tools. Their vital feedback will help us adapt existing technologies and develop new ones to better support the health and wellbeing of carers in Northern Ireland.
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