Broadmoor study validates remote camera monitoring of patient vital signs and secures government funding


Oxehealth completes successful trial at Broadmoor to improve patient clinical care in secure rooms and secures Innovate UK prototype funding

Oxehealth has completed a proof of concept study in collaboration with Broadmoor Hospital.

The study was part funded by the government under the Smart scheme administered by Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency.

Using the Oxecam, the project trialled camera-based health monitoring software to enable the unobtrusive, non-contact monitoring of patient vital signs in a secure setting, increasing patient health and safety.

The six-month study has been successful, monitoring volunteers' heart and breathing rates as they carry out typical activities - in particular, enabling them to rest with seven hours' undisturbed sleep and a lower level of manual supervision. The new trials will seek to further develop this technology into a real-time prototype capable of operating in the day-to-day of a working high-security mental health hospital using volunteer subjects.

Those detained in secure facilities are at significant risk of deteriorating health, self-harm or suicide. This includes patients in mental health hospitals and detainees in prisons and police custody suites. Recent figures show England and Wales saw the highest rates of suicide in prisons in 2014.

"With over 18,000 inpatients detained in 2013/14 under the Mental Health Act, this is a significant step forward in patient care," said Jonathan Chevallier, chief executive at Oxehealth.

We are confident that this technology can help to increase wellbeing and safety of those most at risk, reduce fatalities, and significantly improve quality of care provided by these facilities

"We are confident that this technology can help to increase wellbeing and safety of those most at risk, reduce fatalities, and significantly improve quality of care provided by these facilities."

"We are delighted with the results we've seen so far from our trial use of Oxecam," said Dr Amlan Basu, clinical director at Broadmoor.

"There are some very clear benefits for both our staff and patients, which means it is in the interest of all parties to pursue this area of innovation."

Through the successful award of further funding, Oxehealth will be able to work with a selected partner to develop the prototype camera, network and monitoring system that could be used for inpatient care in secure mental health facilities. The company is currently looking for partners to further develop the prototype research project.

The study was carried out through the monitoring of five non-patient volunteers at the hospital, recording health parameters for extended periods during both day and night and while volunteers partook in typical activities.

Situations in which the secure room automated camera-based monitoring technology is beneficial include:

  • Providing extended monitoring. Currently with regular periodical monitoring - which occurs every 15 to 30 minutes by staff under normal circumstances - changes in critical health signs between checks may be missed
  • Better status reporting. It can be difficult to determine health by sight only - individuals can often be seen to be asleep, but may have a health issue that needs to be acted upon. The view of the patient may also be obstructed, meaning staff may have to enter the room and at night switch on a light, which is counterintuitive to rehabilitation
  • Reduction of staff/improvement in productivity - high-risk individuals often require round-the-clock monitoring, which reduces staff ability to carry out other functions and puts further demands on limited resources

With the Innovate UK funding, Oxehealth is now looking for selected partners in both camera and secure facilities management industries to develop the prototype research project.

How it works

Oxecam is a set of algorithms that analyse data from standard video cameras and measure vital signs and other parameters. In this new application, the algorithms will monitor the patient's movement and breathing for signs of distress, as well as heart rate and other parameters that can be measured to assess the patient's wellbeing and mood. The video camera feed works in the dark using invisible infra-red illumination, so patients can sleep undisturbed, and information does not need to be transmitted or viewed by staff. Instead it processes video data inside the camera unit and transmits vital sign readings and alerts staff as necessary.

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