By Wendy Sarubbi | November 12, 2013 12:53 pm

Students in the UCF College of Medicine’s Healthcare Innovations Club are working on a project that gives a whole new meaning to the term “house calls.” Their involvement in a one-of –a-kind “Intelligent Home” in Medical City, assembled by the Lake Nona Institute and Dais Technologies, is an example of integrating healthy living into every aspect of home life — thanks to technology.

The students were invited by Lake Nona to offer input into the home from a medical perspective to help build a residence that encourages health but is also livable.

The home is built using “choice architecture,” which involves assembling a home to change behavior patterns. For example, the house features readily-available healthy snacks and meals while unhealthy choices are stocked away. The Intelligent Home also has a separate exercise area that resembles a pool house and includes exercise equipment that can monitor the progress of individual family members—with their personal fitness goals in mind.

Perhaps one of the most impressive features of the home is the full-body fitness monitor that resembles a large mirror with a computer screen. The gadget recognizes each family member and measures vital signs like weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. If the numbers have reached an unhealthy range, the user can immediately video chat with a Florida Blue health insurance representative to explore options like seeing a doctor, requesting a change to medication, or simply encouraging healthy eating and exercise. The health insurance company was a partner in creating the home.

“It was really interesting to see this level of technology in a home that’s focused on wellness and prevention, instead of just sickness,” said Healthcare Innovation Club co-founder and second-year medical student, Alex Eskandari. “Being connected with your patients is going to help them to be healthier for longer.”

During October’s Lake Nona Impact Forum, second-year student and Healthcare Innovations club co-founder Brian Mayrsohn led tours of the home for dozens of medical professionals and health business leaders from across the country. He says the house is expected to start a new conversation about wellness. “They created the home to show healthcare thought leaders what was going on in Lake Nona, and what we think a home should look like,” he said. “Not just for a sick person but someone who wants to stay healthy forever.”

Brian, who earned a Masters degree in nutrition before coming to medical school, was able to offer his own expertise in healthy eating to the project. Innovation and health are the topic of his Focused Inquiry Research (FIRE) Project, where his mentor is Dr. David Metcalf, director of UCF’s Mixed Emerging Technology Integration Lab.

Leaders of the Healthcare Innovation Club are looking for ways physicians can be more proactive in their patient’s care. “In the future, I think there will be more of a role of a doctor as an innovator,” Alex said. “Someone who takes ideas and brings them to life.”

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