Antari, GMV’s telemedicine platform, helps to delay the onset and progression of frailty in the elderly

The Geriatric Services of Getafe and Albacete Hospitals, prestigious at national and international level, have taken part in the European research project (FACET) to monitor frailty care at home. The technology multinational GMV has taken on technological coordination of the project, using its inhouse telemedicine platform Antari®. This GMV product allows the physician to prescribe remotely a personalized therapy plan to suit patients’ development as monitored continuously in their homes.

The clinical trial (prospective, randomized and blind) was held over one full year, studying the health trend in males with an average age of 82 and females with an average age of 65, monitored to detect the onset of frailty and keep track of it thereafter. Sensors were set up in their homes to record a series of key frailty variables such as level of physical exercise (walking speed, leg power, etc.), adherence to the therapeutic plan or recommended diet.

This research has thrown up a frailty report on those persons most likely to suffer functional deterioration and develop disability or suffer adverse events (falls, frequent hospital stays, etc.). The trial shows that, as from the third month of observation, the progression of frailty was slowed down in persons monitored with the telemedicine platform and likewise the transition from non-frail to frail.

The net result is a reduction in the use of healthcare resources. Physicians were able to monitor changes in the patients’ functional state and prescribe therapy plans to suit the evolution of the main process and any concomitant ailments. Physical exercise, diet recommendations to suit each person’s needs and observance of the therapy plan prescribed in each case are the keys to delaying frailty or disability in this group.

Furthermore, continual use of the platform encourages the patients involved, instills confidence and provides them with ways to monitor their state without having to visit the physician or healthcare professional in charge of their case.

Besides the direct benefits for the monitored patients, the report also concludes that the telemedicine system was warmly welcomed by the clinicians and gladly taken up in their daily routine.

In the words of Doctor Carlos Royo, healthcare strategy director of GMV’s Secure e Solutions sector, the Antari® Professional Care telemedicine platform for clinical management of the elderly and pre-frail incorporates «therapy plans and personalized interventions (nutritional algorithms, medication, physical exercise plans) for all-in, coordinated and continuous care, involving all stakeholders (clinicians and patients)». GMV has also developed the necessary technology for guaranteeing privacy of research data, pursuant to current law and regulations. FACET, after all, «is one of the few frailty randomized controlled trials (RCT) at national and international level».

Data, sensors and alerts

A series of sensors was fitted in the patients’ home to track their progress. An ultrasound floor strip measured their walking speed; a chair sensor recorded the number of times they sat down and got up again in 30 seconds. In their tablet app the patients checked daily on the exercises to be carried out and the results were sent on to the clinicians. The sensors were interconnected by Bluetooth to the tablet; whenever the person walked alongside the floor strip the sensors sent information on the time they had taken to walk the whole route. In the chair exercises the sensors sent information on the number of times the person had got up and sat down again in 30 seconds.

GMV’s telemedicine platform processes the data and gives information on the patient’s physiological state and his/her nutritional, functional and cognitive behavior. This allows the monitoring clinician to track the process continually and adapt the treatment to suit. The sensor data enables the clinician to keep track of the person’s state continuously without this person ever leaving his or her home.
Doctor Royo goes on: «a system of alerts has been set up, triggered by all types of qualitative and quantitative parameters to flag up any malfunction and allow the monitoring clinician to react in time». For instance, a panel of biomarkers facilitates precise and objective monitoring of any changes in the dietary patterns associated with frailty risk.

Frailty, a European challenge

Frailty as a healthcare concept defines a state of special vulnerability in the elderly with a high risk of disability. It was coined about two decades ago and is hence one of the newest within the healthcare and social science field. It now poses a particular challenge to health systems.

Recognizing and understanding frailty calls for a change of mindset. Former strategies focusing on treating illnesses now have to switch to others based on early detection of and intervention in functional deterioration. Over 40% of adults aged over 50 suffer from some functional limitation; about 40% of the elderly can be identified as pre-frail and 15% as frail or slightly disabled. Health systems have to cope with this situation. Mindful of this, the European Union has set up research initiatives like FACET, which set out to boost the quality of life of 13.05 million people. GMV has participated in FACET with a specially adapted version of its telemedicine platform Antari® Professional Care.

GMV has worked in the EIT Health brokered FACET alongside Getafe and Albacete hospitals and the Biomedical Research Foundation (Fundacion de Investigación Biomédica) of Hospital Universitario de Getafe plus other organizations and companies like Abbott, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Aberystwyth University and Quirón Prevención. The work has been carried out with the aim of enhancing the quality of life of 13.05 million people. To find out more:

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Supported by the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (Acciones de dinamización «Redes de Excelencia BIO2017-90878-REDE»)


EIT Health is supported by the EU organization EIT


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