IBM is to launch a telemedicine project in Bolzano, Italy, designed to improve elderly patients’ independence and quality of life, while reducing health care costs.

Over the next few months a pilot project will be implemented for remote health monitoring of the elderly. The one-year pilot project will involve a group of 30 elderly people, aged between 80 and 89. Called ‘Secure Living’.

The system is based on a net of integrated sensors that send data about the assisted person to a control room. The solution also allows interaction with the end user, providing suggestions on activities, including tutored physical training, exercises to stretch mental faculties, or direct contact to a health worker. The data is collected and analyzed and if necessary, a medical team is alerted.

The aim is to enhance the quality of life of the elderly, providing greater independence and integration into society, while, at the same time, lowering public spending through more accessible and less invasive technologies.

The project forms part of IBM’s Smart Cities initiative, intended to identify and design a new model for a sustainable city through a range of digital solutions

Bolzano, capital of South Tyrol in northern Italy, is the fifth Italian city to sign up to the Smart Cities initiative.

The ‘Secure Living’ solution was developed by IBM, TIS Innovation Park, the technological park of Bolzano, and business partner Dr. Hein GmbH.

"We want to improve the standard of living in the province and tele-medicine is one of the priorities for our local administration," commented said Barbara Repetto Visentini, member of the South Tyrolean government in charge of innovation. "

In the future, the city of Bolzano will also be looking to implement projects allowing improved traceability for food and goods, and a smarter utilities grid.