Ertin featured in Biomedical Computation Review

Posted: July 17, 2017

Emre Ertin
Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Emre Ertin at The Ohio State University was recently featured in the Biomedical Computation Review for his work in mobile health.

In the article, Ertin and Ohio State cardiologist William Abraham, MD, discuss their device, EasySense, designed to help effectively treat congestive heart failure - an illness affecting almost 6 million Americans.

Abraham said the standard method of managing congestive heart failure is not enough. Patients monitor their own symptoms and body weight, but rarely receive treatment until a significant amount of fluid has accumulated in their lungs and it's already too late. Relapses are common, and readmission rates are higher than for any other cause of medical hospitalization.

EasySense could help change that, Ertin said. The device, roughly the size of a hockey puck, emits pulses of ultra-wideband radio waves and listens to the echoes created as they bounce off various bodily tissues. 

Ertin leads the development of Center of Excellence for Mobile Sensor Data-to-Knowledge's (MD2K) custom-built sensors, which allow EasySense to provide nearly EKG-quality heartbeat detection—and to gauge the fluid content of the lungs.

"Abraham recently concluded a 20-person pilot study that successfully demonstrated the device could gather useful data in a hospital setting. He and his collaborators are now beginning a 75-person study in which participants will take the sensors home with them," the publication reported. "By analyzing the data provided by EasySense, along with the output from other wearables that record parameters such as respiration and oxygen saturation, (Ertin) hopes to determine which signals are most predictive of relapse and rehospitalization. A third and final study will then use that information to make treatment changes 'to see whether or not we can actually keep patients out of the hospital.'"

The goal of their research at Ohio State is to send alerts and notifications directly to patients and their doctors before health issues get out of hand. Such notifications might ask the patient to reduce salt intake or prescribe an extra dose of diuretics when fluid levels begin to rise. As the data set grows, patterns may emerge to allow for tailored interventions on an individual basis.

Having already revolutionized fields ranging from communications to finance, mobile technology and data science are now poised to do the same for healthcare, the journal reports. Thanks to the proliferation of wearable biosensors capable of recording everything from physical activity to blood oxygen levels—and the increasingly sophisticated algorithms used to sift through the mounting pile of data—researchers are finding novel ways of diagnosing illnesses, predicting disease risk, and promoting healthier lifestyles.