Metrics for assessing the reliability of a telemedicine remote monitoring system

Telemed J E Health. 2013 Jun;19(6):487-92. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2012.0143. Epub 2013 Apr 23.


Objective: The goal of this study was to assess using new metrics the reliability of a real-time health monitoring system in homes of older adults.

Materials and methods: The "MobileCare Monitor" system was installed into the homes of nine older adults >75 years of age for a 2-week period. The system consisted of a wireless wristwatch-based monitoring system containing sensors for location, temperature, and impacts and a "panic" button that was connected through a mesh network to third-party wireless devices (blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter, weight scale, and a survey-administering device). To assess system reliability, daily phone calls instructed participants to conduct system tests and reminded them to fill out surveys and daily diaries. Phone reports and participant diary entries were checked against data received at a secure server.

Results: Reliability metrics assessed overall system reliability, data concurrence, study effectiveness, and system usability. Except for the pulse oximeter, system reliability metrics varied between 73% and 92%. Data concurrence for proximal and distal readings exceeded 88%. System usability following the pulse oximeter firmware update varied between 82% and 97%. An estimate of watch-wearing adherence within the home was quite high, about 80%, although given the inability to assess watch-wearing when a participant left the house, adherence likely exceeded the 10 h/day requested time. In total, 3,436 of 3,906 potential measurements were obtained, indicating a study effectiveness of 88%.

Conclusions: The system was quite effective in providing accurate remote health data. The different system reliability measures identify important error sources in remote monitoring systems.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Florida
  • Humans
  • Remote Sensing Technology / instrumentation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Telemedicine*