Camera-based patient monitoring system could free up nurses' time if trial is successful

Optical techniques and algorithms are being used to monitor patients' vital signs.

A trial of patient monitoring technology that uses cameras to record vital signs will start in November with hopes it could improve patient safety and free up nurses’ time.

Medical technology company Oxehealth has been awarded £450,000 by the agency Innovate UK to test its Oxecam technology on patients who have undergone cancer surgery. 

Patients at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford will have a camera continuously monitoring them at their hospital beds from November.

The system uses optical techniques and algorithms to measure breathing, heart rate, blood oxygenation, blood pressure and temperature. It tracks changes in patients’ skin colour to determine heart rate, while breathing rate can be monitored through the movement of the chest and upper thorax.

Video data is processed inside the camera unit and transmitted to electronic patient record systems. 

The technology will be tested on patients two to five days after gastrointestinal surgery, when accurate monitoring is essential.

Nurses will still complete their monitoring rounds every four hours during the trial but if the technology is successful, it is predicted to free up more than an hour of each nurse's shift.

Catherine Stoddart, chief nurse at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, which is collaborating on the trial, said Oxecam has the potential to support staff and improve patient safety by providing round-the-clock monitoring, 'thus allowing sudden and unexpected deterioration to be recognised early, and treated quickly’. 

Oxehealth chief executive officer Jonathan Chevallier said: ‘Funding for this project will enable us to demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology in a demanding clinical environment and provide a strong platform for extending its use into other related healthcare.’

The patient monitoring trial will run until May 2016.


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