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Hertfordshire pilots NHS Digital’s Raspberry Pi telehealth kit

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust becomes first healthcare provider to trial open source telehealth system originally developed by NHS Digital using Raspberry Pi devices

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust has launched a pilot using a telehealth system created on a Raspberry Pi to monitor patients at home.

The trust is the first to trial the telehealth kit, called MediPi, which was created by NHS Digital in 2016. 

The project is led by clinicians at Hertfordshire, and involves giving patients basic medical devices, such as blood pressure cuffs, finger oximeters and diagnostic scales, which connect to a touchscreen tablet running the MediPi system either via Bluetooth or USB.

The measurements from the devices are sent directly to the MediPi system through a secure and interoperable messaging functionality.

Last year, Richard Robinson, a technical integration specialist at NHS Digital, told Computer Weekly that the software is built on JavaFX, which means it’s platform agnostic and doesn’t necessarily need to run on Raspberry Pi

“We’ve taken a very simple approach where we take all the data from the device and send it over raw,” he said.

“Each of the bits of the data can be encrypted separately so they can only be seen by the recipient they’re intended for. Currently, we’re sending it using an NHS Spine message, but while MediPi can use Spine messaging, it’s also able to use other sorts of messaging. We envisage a secure network we can send the messaging across.”

According to NHS Digital, the Hertfordshire pilot currently has around 50 participants signed up, with between 10-15 devices already transmitting data.

“The measurements are also being taken by clinicians during this pilot phase to measure the accuracy of the devices’ transmissions,” NHS Digital said.

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The centre developed a MediPi prototype last year as a response to the numerous expensive telehealth kits out there, wanting to prove it could be done cheaper without compromising functionality or security. It runs on both open source hardware and software. 

The MediPi tablet has a simple interface using a tile dashboard for easy interaction. Each tile represents a device, such as the blood pressure cuff, and also has a quick “yes” or “no” questionnaire for patients to fill out.

The system has three main clinical applications focusing on heart failure, COPD and diabetes, according to its Github page. .... .... .... ....... .... .... ....

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