Researchers in Qatar develop platform to obtain health data from smartwatches – Doha News


SIHA is an AI-based approach to chronic disease management, and is the latest of the innovative solutions to come out of the Qatar Foundation.

Researchers from the Qatar Computing Research Institute have developed an e-health platform called System for Integrated Lifestyle Health Analytics (SIHA) that can analyze wearable data for clinical purposes.

This wearable data is particularly useful for monitoring conditions that require a lifestyle change, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.


“What these models do is predictive analysis. For example, the team is currently working on a model that will use wearable data and continuous glucose monitor (CGM) data from the diabetic patient to predict the onset of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) before it happens and can send smart notifications to the user to take corrective action,” said Syed Moosavi, software engineer at QCRI and member of the development team of SIHA.

The platform performs the processes necessary for the collection, storage, analysis and visualization of health data.

SIHA is also currently available for copyright licensing. “Lifestyle data captured by wearable devices can be particularly useful in chronic disease management, but the challenge is that clinicians have no way to access it,” said Ummar Abbas, senior software engineer. at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI).

According to the researchers, to track patient information, most hospitals and clinics use electronic health record (EHR) systems. However, EHR-based systems have not yet integrated data from portable devices.

Although the devices were never intended to replace medical treatment, the line between the two has begun to blur as sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) have become increasingly advanced and continue to improve.

“That’s not happening anywhere in the world and the reason is that most consumer wearables are not Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, that’s slowly starting to change,” Abbas said.

The value that smartwatch data could potentially provide is growing exponentially, especially as more features are cleared by the FDA. It was recognition of this value that led to the development of SIHA, which works alongside EHR systems.

The platform mainly requires users’ consent to collect their data, after which they are asked to download an app on their phone, which then extracts the data from their device and transfers it to the cloud of SIHA, located in Qatar, where they are stored. in a secure encrypted database.

However, while the process may seem simple to onlookers, the researchers say it’s much more complicated than that, as the way different wearable devices collect and store data differs. “Some portable devices upload the data to their cloud; others store it on the device itself,” Abbas said.

Another difficulty is that each device has its own data format and collection frequency. Therefore, the team’s initial task would be to harmonize data formats from different brands and present clinicians with a single interface for all.

Through SIHA, data is also used to build and train AI models, in addition to being used by clinicians to design treatment plans and track lifestyle changes.

Because credibility is a common concern with portable devices, the team has been very selective in the devices they support. It currently only works with Apple, Google, Fitbit, Huawei and Withings wearables.

Wearables are set to play a crucial role in precision health, with the global wearables market expected to grow to around $115 billion by 2028, driven by widespread adoption and increased access to patient data.


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