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Thursday March 10th, 2022

Harnessing ECG technology to benefit local carers

Belfast health tech company, B-Secur is taking part in a major project alongside researchers from Ulster University aimed at understanding how cutting-edge digital technology can best meet the health and wellbeing needs of carers in Northern Ireland.

The project, eCareWell (Enhancing CARErs WELLbeing) will also evaluate health and social care provision at a community level and identify barriers to the use of technology for caregivers. The pilot project, funded by the UK Community Renewal Fund, will focus on carers from the Derry City & Strabane District Council area. Carers will be interviewed and then paired with the most appropriate technology for their individual needs in order to help researchers understand the tech’s impact on their mental and physical health. B-Secur along with five other funded companies from Northern Ireland, Elemental, EthelCare, Kraydel, ActionSense Ltd and TakeTen will provide the different technologies to be used in the research project.

The B-Secur team, led by Clinical Research Engineer, Stacey Murray and Data Research Manager, Holly Easlea, is supplying an off-the-shelf Holter device that facilitates the recording of ECG via the company’s HeartKey® algorithms which process and analyse the data to create insights into the health and wellness of the carer. B-Secur’s suite of FDA cleared HeartKey® algorithms generate medical-grade health and wellness data which is encrypted through the user’s unique heartbeat. The software can be implemented on a range of consumer and medical devices, putting heart health monitoring firmly into the hands of the consumer and reducing the burden on clinicians.

Holly Easlea said the company is privileged to be taking part in the project as the findings will be used to help carers who do so much great work in our community.

“The initial phase of the project involves identifying the device that is most suitable to each carer and their needs. The system that B-Secur is supplying to the project is a Holter device that facilitates the recording of ECG.”

 

“The carer will use the wearable device during the project monitoring period, recording continuous ECG data which can be used to help build a picture of their overall health. Our HeartKey® algorithms can measure a user’s stress levels, energy expenditure, heart rate and heart rate variability which is a powerful tool for analysing cardiac and physical health.”
Holly Easlea, Data Research Manager, B-Secur

 

She also added: “B-Secur’s software can also be used in more clinical situations to help with the detection of arrhythmias (an abnormality of the heart’s rhythm). The irregular blood flow due to an arrhythmia can increase the likelihood of more serious conditions, including ischemic strokes, heart failure and other heart related complications.With so many carers completely focussed on looking after a loved one, their own health considerations can often become secondary in importance. By using B-Secur’s HeartKey® algorithms they can get an accurate picture of how they are and take the necessary lifestyle steps to improve their health where relevant.”

Led by Professor Joan Condell of Ulster University, researchers are working in partnership with the Design Innovation and Assisted Living centre (DIAL@NWRC), the Health Innovation Research Alliance Northern Ireland (HIRANI), Digital Catapult NI (DCNI), several charities and local community groups. Professor Condell said: “Caring for a loved one is a hugely demanding role, so this research project is a great opportunity for carers in the local area to get involved and support their own wellbeing by trying out new digital tools.Their vital feedback will help us adapt existing technologies and develop new technologies to better support the health and wellbeing of carers in Northern Ireland.”