An innovative and advanced fall monitoring system using Apple Watch

iOS, Android Mobile Application Development

Health data integration

Digital Health

About

BTC developed a fall detection system for one of the largest health systems in Louisiana​​. The solution comprised a custom iOS app and a companion Apple Watch app that monitors for falls and responds immediately when a fall is indicated. BTC implemented the first-of-its-kind integration of fall detection with Apple Health alert released with watchOS.

The Challenge

  • Collect patients’ health data and sync via API in the background, i.e., without patients’ actively submitting the data.
  • The code had to be efficient to handle custom data transfers via APIs where the callbacks were short.
  • No documentation for fall functionality and associated permissions was available.
    Producing falls via simulator was not possible.
  • The solution required that it adhere to Apple standards for development, such as Stack-based UI.
  • Ensure compliance with healthcare industry regulations such as HIPAA to safeguard patients’ sensitive health information.

The Solution

  • BTC developed an iOS app and a companion Apple Watch app.
  • While developing the app, to make up for the lack of documentation on fall functionality, the team at BTC researched and interacted heavily with folks at Apple.
  • Since the use of a simulator was not possible, the development team performed physical falls to test the application.
  • The iOS and the Apple Watch apps were used to set up user profiles and securely collect and send the patient data to the hospital’s data center (monitoring center and database).
  • The app authenticated patients by requesting email or a unique identifier assigned to them by the hospital.
  • The app obtained patient-user consent for tracking and storing their health information, giving patients control of their data.
  • The functional features of BTC’s app included assisting users in pairing the Watch, installing the Watch app, and contacting technical support.
  • Every day, the mobile app monitored and stored a set of parameters from ‘Health,’ including sleep, a 6-minute walk, GPS data, and activity (steps covered, distance, number of falls, etc.). The app captured this data without any user inputs.
  • The patient ID or the unique identifier was used to tag the data sent to the data center.
  • The data was synced to the server and sent to the hospital data center via a REST API.
  • This app also provided the ‘Consult a Nurse’ functionality, which would change to ‘Contact Fall Response Team’ during the event of a fall.
  • During the fall, the watchOS followed a routine of sending notifications to all apps registered. The iOS app would then send the details provided by the watchOS to the hospital’s 24/7 monitoring center.

Devices: Apple ioS

Tech Stack:

Xcode 12 (IDE)
Swift 5 (Language)

Frameworks:

HealthKit
Core Data
User Notifications
UIKit & CoreMotion

The Outcome

BTC’s solution helped the client manage fall detection and response for its patients with mobility challenges. The iOS app tracked and stored patient information and sent the details to the hospital’s data center. User authentication and data transfer via API protected patients’ sensitive information. During the event of a fall, the app notified emergency contacts or helped dispatch EMT responders to the patients immediately, ensuring patient safety and care.

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