Skip to main content

Canadian medical project demonstrates the health care potential of smart homes

The average person uses smart home technology to streamline miscellaneous tasks and make day-to-day life more efficient, but for people with severe medical problems, the technology can be life-changing. That is the idea behind a pilot project currently underway in London, Ontario.

According to, the premise behind the project, led by the Lawson Health Research Institute assistant director Cheryl Forchuk, is to use connected health devices to allow medical professionals to monitor patients from afar. This provides the patients with the ability to live on their own or with friends and family rather than in an assisted living situation. This kind of technology has existed for several years, but rarely has it been used to treat mental illness.

Treating mental illness is never as simple as “take this medication twice a day.” There are so many variables and factors to consider on an individual basis that it is significantly harder for physicians to address these issues — especially with conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which can affect memory function and decision making.

Connected technology can circumvent these issues by dispensing medication at specified times throughout the day. Heart monitors can report blood pressure and pulse rate directly to physicians. Connected glucose meters can give up-to-the-minute warnings about blood sugar levels. All of these devices help doctors offer personalized medical care and independence patients might not have otherwise.

Security, however, is a major point of concern. Forchuk assured the reporter that multiple steps were taken to ensure patient privacy. The Wi-Fi connections in participants’ homes and Lawson Health Research Institute has manual control of software and firmware updates. These steps, combined with regular security checks, will go a long way toward protecting patient privacy and ensuring data remains encrypted.

Another obstacle is the cost of the program, but Forchuk hopes that government agencies will provide the necessary funding, particularly if the program saves as much money as estimated. This unexpected use of smart home technology points toward a brighter future; as the technology improves, people that once had no choice but to stay in expensive assisted living facilities might be able to live on their own for no more than the cost of a few smart home devices.

Editors' Recommendations

Patrick Hearn
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Patrick Hearn writes about smart home technology like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, smart light bulbs, and more. If it's a…
SimpliSafe now offers live home monitoring with new Smart Alarm Wireless Indoor Security Camera
The SimpliSafe Smart Alarm Indoor Camera.

SimpliSafe is already one of the best options when shopping for home security solutions, and it’s looking to become even more enticing with the launch of the new Smart Alarm Indoor Camera. Coinciding with the latest product is a new service -- 24/7 Live Guard Protection -- which allows agents to access a live feed of your property for enhanced response times.

The 24/7 Live Guard Protection service is only available on the Smart Alarm Indoor Camera. Previously, SimpliSafe agents could only review recorded footage after an alarm was triggered. Now, the team can monitor a live stream through the Smart Alarm Indoor Camera for improved response times. They can even interact with the intruder thanks to two-way audio, informing them that the police are on the way and that they’re being recorded.

Read more
Aqara launches U100 smart lock with full Apple HomeKit support
A person unlocking the Aqara U100 smart lock with their phone.

The list of smart locks that support Apple HomeKit isn’t quite as impressive as those of Google Home and Alexa, but Aqara has officially added one more to the list with the Aqara Smart Lock U100. Clocking in at $190 and now available on Amazon, the premium smart lock offers full support for Apple HomeKit -- along with tons of cool features that should position it as a top option for smart home enthusiasts.

As you’d expect, the Aqara U100 comes with a keypad that lets you enter a passcode to unlock the deadbolt. However, you’ll also find a fingerprint scanner that can hold up to 50 unique prints and the option to set up Apple home keys to unlock it with your Apple Watch or iPhone. Aqara also tossed in a physical key in case of emergencies.

Read more
Alexa vs. HomeKit: which smart home platform is best?
Apple HomePod 2023

When it comes to building a smart home, few steps are as important as choosing your smart home platform. Pick the wrong one, and you could be left using dozens of separate smartphone apps to control all your gadgets.

Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa are two of the best options available today -- but which one is better for you? Here’s a comparison of the two platforms to help you decide.
What is a smart home platform?

Read more