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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Smartwatch to track missing Alzheimer's patients

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One of the major worries for family members of people with Alzheimer's is having their loved ones go missing and forgetting the way back home.


There have been missing incidents in the past, triggering this innovation.


White Horse Company introduced a smartwatch for senior citizens and individuals with special needs on Wednesday at the National Alzheimer's Forum 2023, organised by Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Ministry of Health, and Oman Alzheimer's Society.


Dr Sara Mohammed Shabaan from the company said she was inspired to do something after noticing many missing cases of elderly individuals.


WhatsApp Image 2023-09-17 at 12.19.37
WhatsApp Image 2023-09-17 at 12.19.37


In some cases, they were lost and sometimes found dead because there was no way to trace them, and if they were found alive, they were in bad condition.


"There was no communication link between them and their families. I put myself in their shoes and searched for tools or equipment to aid the families. I did not find it, so I started to develop some features as my company is related to the medical innovation industry, and that is how we started the journey towards this watch," said Dr Sara.


The smartwatch was launched in July, and since then, they have had more than 96 Alzheimer's patients, 11 visually impaired individuals, 12 individuals with Down Syndrome, and 32 senior citizens over 75 years of age who were bedridden due to paralysis.


Many families tried smartwatches during the khareef season as they travelled during the summer holidays.


"We had a special programme for Oman Alzheimer's Society and some other organisations that enabled us to provide it to them at a special cost as they have the patient's records," she noted.


She pointed out that it is important to know to whom they are providing the watch to avoid misuse of the smartwatch. "We make sure we know who the patient is and their caregivers are, and only then we hand over the watch," Dr Sara stressed.


All customers have to go through a screening process to acquire the smartwatch.


The watch is characterised by genuine features that serve the needs of all patients.


The watch monitors oxygen level, blood pressure, heart rate, and other health parameters.


"If the individual moves beyond 200 metres, caregivers would be able to determine as there would be a notification. Over 15 individuals can communicate with the patient, but only three will be on the priority list. The first on the list will be the direct caregiver, followed by the other two to keep the response accurate. The watch works in Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Pakistan and Bangladesh. When we receive requests, we add the countries according to regulations.


"If the patient falls, there will be a notification in the application. Even if the patient is blind, communication is made easy because by just pressing a button, he can call even if he has no balance in his regular SIM card.


"He can can leave voice messages. So, it is a two-way call. The watch also has voice reminders. The waterproof watch will also send out a notification to the caregivers if the patient removes the watch. If the patient has a movement problem, the watch has a feature where calls can be automatically answered. For patients with mobility issues, the watch can be made motion sensitive so caregivers will receive notifications during an emergency situation," Dr Sara said.


Any customer who wants to purchase the watch is encouraged to come with a reference from the organisation. If they come on their own, they have to provide proof of the patient's details, and only after the verification, we hand over the wristwatch to him.


In addition, the smartwatch is handed over to the family member with a declaration that he will be responsible for the patient and that the watch will not be resold.


"Each watch has its own production number that is confidential for registration. Privacy and security of each patient is our priority, which is why we take care of regulations," noted Dr Sarah.


The company spends time ensuring that customers/caregivers understand the technology and will use the watch properly.


"They have to take care of the patient as we are dealing with the life of a person. The one who will be purchasing it for his parents will be the person who will have the authorisation, although there could be up to 15 members who could be watching and communicating with the patient. Life is precious, so it is important to verify," she explained.


The Omani company is currently working on different medical manufacturing projects and is now developing innovative mobile clinics and medical equipment that are in demand but are made at affordable cost to people.


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