by Michael Pontrelli july 2021
Prometheus is an innovative digital medicine service detecting a series of vital parameters from remote and providing indications on the Users’ current and future state of health thanks to Artificial Intelligence systems.
Digital healthcare is increasingly becoming a reality. Predictive medicine, focusing on collection and processing of patient data to provide indications on their present and future state of health, is certainly one of the main application areas. A very interesting use case is Prometheus, an innovative service developed by Klinik Sankt Moritz and Tiscali. We met Sergio D’Arpa, founder of the Swiss clinic, to discover what it is all about.
Mr. D’Arpa, what is Prometheus and how does it work?
“Prometheus is a revolution: it is your medical Digital Twin. It collects the Users’ health data, thus creating their Digital Twin, which is further analysed by our AI systems to protect the Users’ health, preventing it from entering in risk areas. Our Users are constantly connected to their Digital Twins through devices and Apps detecting their data and retransmitting them to us in real time.”
Why is this a “revolution,” where is the novelty?
“Many devices currently available on the maket collect health data but their data flow ends in the device itself or, at most, in the relevant app on the User’s smartphone. Prometheus, instead, connects said devices to a centralised system and analyses the data to make advanced prevention.”
What is this “centralised system”?
“It is a platform developed by Klinik Sankt Moritz, based on an AI system and on the supervision by a staff of physicians. Continuous supervision and safety of the personal data storage grant serenity to our Users. In case the User loses or changes their smartphone or device, the collected data remain stored on their profile on the platform. In addition to this, upon authorisation by the User, personal data can be shared with family members, such as discendants, and with their general practitioner.”
Which vital parameters are detected by Prometheus?
“Before listing them, I would like to explain where the game-changing solution lies. Each individual parameter we read is important, but the disruptive innovation offered by Prometheus is the simultaneous reading of several indicators. Today nobody measures their body temperature while undergoing an electrocardiogram. But if a temperature alteration may indicate a possible infection in progress, the association of this data with a certain cardiac behavior may indicate, more specifically, the presence of a virus. This allows more precise diagnoses. May I also add that the data collected by apps and devices are put in relation to other information, collected from the Users’ former medical records or examinations and from their therapeutic plans. In a hypertensive patient, for example, the mere measurement of blood pressure is insufficient to provide an accurate picture in lack of information about their therapy compliance.”
I understand that this is also one of the innovative elements of the service.
Back to the single parameters measured, what are they?
“There are five essential parameters to be monitored: body temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and blood oxygenation. They are detected by a single device, produced by a spin-off of UNI.MO.RE (University of Modena Reggio Emilia). I would like to say that there is also a certain amount of pride in presenting to the general public a product made by Italian scientists and entrepreneurs”.
Picture: The device used by Prometheus to detect people’s 5 essential parameters
Does Prometheus detect other indicators besides these 5 essentials?
“Yes, the system also reads the data collected by two additional devices, which are very simple to use: a scale and a water bottle. As for the first one, it is an impedance scale that measures, in addition to the overall weight, the percentages of fat and lean mass, the heart rate and number of daily steps, which are counted by the smartphone connected to the scale. These data allow to monitor how the body composition varies over time. Overall weight being equal, variations between the fat and lean mass ratio can be thus detected: fat mass decreasing and lean mass increasing mean that a process of body recomposition is taking place, or, in other terms, that our new lifestyle is producing positive effects on our body”.
What about the water bottle?
“It is a bluetooth water bottle measuring the hydration status. By entering age, weight and height, the water bottle’s app calculates the User’s recommended daily water intake and keeps reminding them, thanks to customisable colored light signals, when it’s time for a refreshing sip.”
So, summarising, information about our health is collected using just three specific devices, plus the smartphone, which gathers all the data and transmits them over the network to Prometheus.
At this stage, what happens to the collected data? How are they processed?
“The data are analysed by our AI algorithms. As said, they are read and analysed together because the combined reading of multiple parameters provides the wide vision which is the added value of our service. Taking a drug, for example, produces different effects on a hydrated organism or on a dehydrated one. So far, it was impossible to know in real time a person’s hydration state, although this parameter is very important for pharmacokinetics and provides the physician with useful information to assess the effectiveness of a therapy. The aim of our AI systems and of the staff of physicians working on the platform is to make advanced prevention, providing indications on our state of health and suggesting to see a physician for tests or other in-depth checks”.
Who is the service targeted on?
“On everyone, but it is highly recommended for people who need to monitor and protect the health of their loved ones, for example parents advanced in age”.
The service is carried out in collaboration with Tiscali. What role does the Sardinian smart telco play?
“First of all, I’d like to say that I’m very proud of this partnership with the Company that has revolutionised the world of internet in Italy, which today puts its more than decennial know-how in telecommunications at the service of medicine and health. Tiscali will also be a business partner since the service has been specifically developed for its customers”.
WHat can you tell us about Prometheus’s subscription fees?
“All I can say is that we have made our best effort to make this service accessible to the widest possible audience. Detailed information on terms and conditions of use as well as subscription fees are available on Tiscali’s website.”
Discover the commercial offer of Prometheus