The University of Southampton

Telemedicine System Empowering Stroke Patients to Fight Back

Pervasive Healthcare and Telemedicine

Stroke is a disease with very high socio-economic impact, the third biggest cause of death and the largest single cause of severe disability in the ageing populations of Europe. The World Health Organization has estimated 1.4 million deaths in Europe from stroke in 1999 and 1.17 million Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) lost. In average the healthcare expenditure cost for Strokes across different countries in Europe and USA is 3% of their entire healthcare expenditure. This includes inpatient treatment cost, outpatient hospital visits and long-term rehabilitation and care. Analysis showed that costs of long-term care have increased from 13% to 49% of overall costs in average in recent years. Stroke has also a very serious impact on the life of affected persons. About one third of all stroke patients loose cognitive and physical abilities and return to their home with some level of permanent disability. This has significant impact on their quality of life as well as on the quality of life of their relatives. Therefore there is an urgent need for devising an effective long-term care and rehabilitation strategy for Stroke patients, which will involve the patients actively in the process while minimising costly human intervention. The StrokeBack project intends to develop an automated remote rehabilitation system by blending advances of ICT and practical clinical knowledge that will empower the patients and their immediate carer for effective application of the rehabilitation protocol in home settings. StrokeBack will combine state-of-the-art monitoring devices forming a wireless Body Area Network that enables simultaneous measurement of multiple vital parameters and currently executed movements that are particularly of interest from a Stroke rehabilitation point of view. The measured parameters will be fused using advanced feature extraction and classification algorithms processed on-body, which will denote the accuracy of the executed exercise. The training parameters along with vital data will be stored in a patient’s personal (under patient’s control) or medical (under control of the medical institution) Electronic Health Record (EHR) to which the responsible clinicians and therapists have access so that they can dynamically update the rehabilitation program. The effectiveness of the rehabilitation training and its attractiveness for patients will be enhanced through the use of game-like interface. This way doctors will be able to ensure that exercises are performed correctly and regularly, as well as easily monitor the progress of recovery having also insight into other patients’ medical parameters and results of relevant medical examinations. From the other side patients compliance will prescribed training procedures will be improved by turning the rehabilitation into an interactive game. By linking rehabilitation with Patient/Personal Electronic Health Record (PHR/EHR) the Stroke back project will offer means of correlating the rehabilitation exercises and personal activity monitoring with progressing changes in patients’ medical condition. This way the StrokeBack system will support medical practitioners in developing more reliable health care models for both prevention and rehabilitation from strokes. By employing manual intervention only when actually necessary, StrokeBack will eliminate costly human intervention and thereby significantly reduce the associated costs. The increased rehabilitation speed as well as the fact that the rehabilitation training can be done at home directly improves quality of life of patients. To sum up StrokeBack will increase rehabilitation speed and offer opportunities for prevention of stroke episodes without jeopardising the quality of care offered while significantly reducing associated health care costs. To achieve the StrokeBack goals research far beyond state of the art in the in the following fields is necessary: • telemedicine supervision of rehabilitation exercise • continuous monitoring of impact of the exercises also in “normal” life situations • integration of telemedicine rehabilitation and Personal Health Records for improved long term evaluation of patient recovery providing feedback to health care professionals on the impact of rehabilitation exercise

Primary investigator

Secondary investigators


  • 7 EU partners

Associated research groups

  • Electronic Systems and Devices Group
  • Electronic and Software Systems
  • Electronics and Electrical Engineering
  • Pervasive Systems Centre
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