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1. WO2004061606 - DISPOSITIF EVOLUTIF DE SUIVI DE TELE-SOINS

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CLAIMS
What is claimed is:

1. A scalable tele-care monitoring device, comprising:
a plurality of physiological sensors adapted to collect patient physiological data;
an interface adapted to connect with a personal computer; and
an expansion module adapted to communicate patient physiological data to the personal computer via said interface.

2. The device of claim 1 , further comprising a data store adapted to store the patient physiological data.

3. The device of claim 1 , further comprising:
a data collection module adapted to generate an instructional dialogue guiding a user through a data collection process; and
a user interface communicating the instructional dialogue to the user.

4. The device of claim 1 , further comprising:
a data collection module adapted to generate an instructional dialogue guiding a user through a data collection process in response to a user selection relating to a type of physiological sensor; and
a user interface communicating the user selection to the data collection module.

5. The device of claim 1 , further comprising an output adapted to communicate the patient physiological data over a communications network.

6. The device of claim 1 , further comprising:
a data collection module adapted, under normal operation, to communicate physiological data over a communications network;

wherein said expansion module is adapted to continuously monitor said interface, detect connection with the personal computer via said interface, and cause said data collection module to cease normal operation upon detecting connection with the personal computer via said interface.

7. The device of claim 1 , further comprising:
a data collection module adapted, under normal operation, to generate an instructional dialogue guiding a user through a data collection process,
wherein said expansion module is adapted to continuously monitor said interface, detect connection with the personal computer via said interface, and cause said data collection module to cease normal operation upon detecting connection with the personal computer via said interface.

8. The device of claim 1 , further comprising:
a data collection module adapted to communicate physiological data over a communications network; and
a user interface have an input mechanism permitting a user to input numerical data in place of a sensor reading.

9. The device of claim 1 , wherein said plurality of physiological sensors includes a blood pressure gauge.

10. The device of claim 1 , wherein said plurality of physiological sensors includes a pulse oximeter.

11. The device of claim 1 , wherein said plurality of physiological sensors includes a thermometer.

12. The device of claim 1 , wherein said plurality of physiological sensors includes a scale.

13. The device of claim 1 , wherein said plurality of physiological sensors includes a blood glucose meter.

14. The device of claim 1 , wherein said plurality of physiological sensors includes a PT/INR sensor.

15. The device of claim 1 , wherein said plurality of physiological sensors includes a spirometer.

16. The device of claim 1 , wherein said plurality of physiological sensors includes a pedometer.

17. A scalable tele-care monitoring system, comprising:
an acquisition server connected to a communications network and adapted to receive patient physiological data over the communications network, to store the patient physiological data, and to communicate the patient physiological data to a clinician over the communications network;
a scalable tele-care monitoring device operably connectable to the communications network, adapted to obtain patient physiological data, and adapted to communicate the patient physiological data to said acquisition server over the communications network, wherein said device has an interface adapted to connect with a personal computer operably connected to the communications network, and adapted to communicate the patient physiological data to the personal computer; and
an expert system guiding a user through a physiological data collection process that includes using the personal computer to obtain physiological data via said device, and affecting communication of the physiological data from the personal computer to the acquisition server.

18. The system of claim 17, wherein said device is adapted to communicate the patient physiological data to said acquisition server over the communications network only under normal operation, and is further adapted to cease normal operation upon connection to the personal computer via the interface.

19. The system of claim 17, wherein said device is adapted to guide the user through a physiological data collection process via said device only under normal operation, and is further adapted to cease normal operation upon connection to the personal computer via the interface.

20. The system of claim 17, wherein said expert system is adapted to include collection of patient physiological data corresponding to digital audio data, and to affect communication of the digital audio data to the acquisition server over the communications network.

21. The system of claim 17, wherein the personal computer has an electrocardiograph, and said expert system is adapted to employ the electrocardiograph to collect patient physiological data.

22. The system of claim 17, wherein the personal computer has a stethoscope, and said expert system is adapted to employ the stethoscope to collect patient physiological data.

23. The system of claim 17, wherein said device has a pulse oximeter, and said expert system is adapted to employ the pulse oximeter to collect patient physiological data.

24. The system of claim 17, wherein said device has a blood pressure gauge, and said expert system is adapted to employ the blood pressure gauge to collect patient physiological data.

25. The system of claim 17, wherein said device has a thermometer, and said expert system is adapted to employ the thermometer to collect patient physiological data.

26. The system of claim 17, wherein said device has a scale, and said expert system is adapted to employ the scale to collect patient physiological data.

27. The system of claim 17, wherein said device has a spirometer, and said expert system is adapted to employ the spirometer to collect patient physiological data.

28. The system of claim 17, wherein said device has a pedometer, and said expert system is adapted to employ the pedometer to collect patient physiological data.

29. The system of claim 17, wherein said device has a blood glucose meter, and said expert system is adapted to employ the blood glucose meter to collect patient physiological data.
30. The system of claim 17, wherein said device has a PT/INR sensor, and said expert system is adapted to employ the PT/INR sensor to collect patient physiological data.

31. The system of claim 17, wherein said acquisition server is adapted to support teleconferencing capability between the clinician and the personal computer via the communications network.

32. The system of claim 17, wherein the personal computer and a clinician computer are equipped with video conferencing equipment, thereby being adapted to provide mutual communication between the clinician and the user.

33. The system of claim 17, wherein said expert system is provided online via web browsing capability, and provides questionnaires to the user, and said device has a web browsing capability.

34. The system of claim 17, wherein said expert system is provided as installable software to the personal computer, and is adapted to provide questionnaires to the user via the personal computer.

35. A method of operation for a scalable tele-care monitoring device, comprising:
determining whether a connection to a personal computer has been established;
obtaining patient physiological data; and
communicating the patient physiological data to the personal computer if the connection is established; and
communicating the patient physiological data to an acquisition server over a communications network if the connection is not established.

36. The method of claim 35, further comprising guiding a user through a data collection process if the connection is not established.

37. The method of claim 35, wherein said obtaining patient physiological data includes sensing patient temperature via a thermometer.

38. The method of claim 35, wherein said obtaining patient physiological data includes sensing patient pulse oxygen level via a pulse oximeter.

39. The method of claim 35, wherein said obtaining patient physiological data includes sensing patient blood pressure via a blood pressure gauge.
40. The method of claim 35, wherein said obtaining patient physiological data includes sensing patient weight via a scale.

41. The method of claim 35, wherein said obtaining patient physiological data includes sensing patient blood glucose level via a blood glucose meter.

42. The method of claim 35, wherein said obtaining patient physiological data includes sensing patient lung condition via a spirometer.

43. The method of claim 35, wherein said obtaining patient physiological data includes sensing patient movement via a pedometer.

44. The method of claim 35, wherein said obtaining patient physiological data includes sensing patient PT/INR via a PT/INR sensor.

45. The method of claim 35, further comprising continuously monitoring an interface adapted to connect to a personal computer.

46. The method of claim 35, further comprising storing patient physiological data in a data store.

47. The method of claim 35, further comprising accepting user numerical input in place of a sensor reading.

48. A method of monitoring health of a patient via a communications network, comprising:
providing an expandable device adapted to obtain patient physiological data, adapted to communicate patient physiological data over the communications network, and adapted to interface with a personal computer;
providing an expert system adapted to guide a user of the device through a data collection process using the device interfaced with the personal computer, and adapted to affect communication of the patient physiological data over the communications network via the personal computer;

receiving the patient physiological data over the communications network; and
communicating the patient physiological data to a clinician over the communications network.

49. The method of claim 48, further comprising storing received patient physiological data.

50. The method of claim 48, further comprising providing teleconferencing services between the clinician and the personal computer.

51. The method of claim 50, wherein said providing teleconferencing services between the clinician and the personal computer includes providing videoconferencing services via a phone line connected by modem to the personal computer and a clinician computer, wherein the personal computer and the clinician computer have teleconferencing software and audio visual equipment supporting the video conferencing capability.

52. A method of monitoring patient health via a communications network, comprising:
acquiring patient physiological data via a clinician computer;
evaluating the completed questionnaire on the clinician computer; and
teleconferencing with the patient via the clinician computer.

53. The method of claim 52, wherein said acquiring a completed questionnaire includes:
browsing the Internet via the clinician computer;
accessing a website storing patient physiological data; and
downloading the physiological data from the website over the

Internet.

54. The method of claim 52, wherein said teleconferencing includes video conferencing with the patient via a phone line connected by modem to the clinician computer and a personal computer of the patient.

55. A method of operation for a personal computer for use in expanding functionality of a tele-care device capable of interfacing with the personal computer, comprising:
monitoring an interface capable of connecting with peripheral devices;
detecting connection with the tele-care device via the interface, wherein the telecare device has a plurality of digital physiological sensors;
launching a program for obtaining patient physiological data in response to said detecting connection with the tele-care device;
guiding the user through a data collection process via the program, including use of sensors of the tele-care device to obtain physiological data;
receiving patient physiological data from the telecare device; and
communicating the physiological data over a communications network.

56. The method of claim 55, further comprising:
guiding the user through an audio data collection process via the program, including using audio sensors not provided to the tele-care device to collect patient physiological data in a wave form; and
receiving audio data from the audio sensors, thereby collecting patient physiological data in a wave form.