Dr. Jannik Lockl, CEO and Co-Founder of inContAlert, and his fellow researchers from the FIM Research Center, Claudius Jonas, Robin Weidlich and Prof. Dr. Maximilian Röglinger, have published a research paper in the renowned European Journal of Information Systems.
The increasing use of Internet of Things (IoT) systems in healthcare provides new opportunities to monitor physiological parameters in real time. This study focuses on patients suffering from neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction (NLUTD) who have lacking sensation and control of their bladder management due to diseases such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, bladder cancer or paraplegia. Current solutions, such as catheterization or emptying at certain time intervals, not only carry the risk of urinary tract infections due to frequent catheterization, but also the risk of serious health consequences due to regular overdistension of the bladder.
In this study, the authors develop a set of design principles for wearable IoT-based health monitoring systems (BLMS) following a design science research project. They build a software architecture for BLMS based on the design principles and evaluate the design principles as well as the software architecture in a four-step evaluation approach. The evaluation includes workshops with healthcare technology experts, interviews with patients and doctors, a prototypical implementation of the software architecture, and a field study including the application of the prototype with patients. The developed prototype demonstrates that extracting information on the bladder level is possible based on infrared sensors combined with secondary sensor technology.
The results highlight the existing problems of neurogenic bladder patients who have difficulties emptying their bladder on time due to a lack of sensation over their bladder. Current solutions such as ultrasound measurements are inaccurate, bulky, and not suitable for everyday use. The design principles and software architecture developed use IoT technology to continuously provide accurate information on the bladder filling level. The wearable IoT system not only enables precise monitoring but also helps to positively influence patients’ behavior and integrate the system into their daily lives.
Overall, the research presents a promising approach to address the challenges of patients with neurogenic bladder dysfunction by integrating IoT technology into healthcare.
The full article can be read here: https://doi.org/10.1080/0960085X.2023.2283173
Ethics vote granted by the Ethics Committee of the University of Bayreuth under number: Az.O 1305/1 – GB.
This study is enregistered in the German Register for Clinical Studies (DRKS) under the number: DRKS00026995.