Iceni Labs has been awarded funding from Innovate UK to trial a new medical variant of its SafeScan technology for remote COVID-19 patient monitoring.
The six month trial will begin in early 2021 at the Royal Papworth Hospital, Cambridge.
The award will further assess the potential for the SafeScan vital signs radar sensing system variant to remotely detect the early deterioration of COVID-19 patients and track their condition so that relevant treatment can be given and overstretched medical resources safeguarded.
Key to assessing risk factors for those COVID-19 patients at risk of poor medical outcomes is the ability to continuously monitor respiratory rate (RR), according to Iceni Labs.
Studies have shown that patients infected with cornavirus and other respiratory diseases display a signature breathing pattern at different stages of the disease and in response to treatment.
When RR increases above 26 breaths per minute (bpm), further intervention, including ventilation support and potentially Intensive Care Unit facilities, are required.
Typically in medical settings, RR is monitored via nurse observation or the use of contact systems, both of which have consequences for NHS staff safety, COVID-19 cross-contamination between patients, and PPE requirements. Additionally, current ‘spot’ assessment methods fail to detect some 52% of abnormal RR.
The SafeScan breathing motion/heart rate monitoring device offers the ability to monitor the RR of patients remotely and continuously, including supporting the NHS-recommended National Early Warning Score (NEWS) 2 scoring system which determines the degree of illness of a patient and prompts critical care intervention.
The system has undergone first clinical trial during a 12-month study of 400 patients at the Royal Papworth Hospital in 2019, to assess its ability to track movement and breathing of sleep apnea patients.
In particular, this study will focus on the ability of SafeScan to monitor patients in a home or care home setting, with the goal of further reducing the burden on the NHS by enabling patients to be kept out of hospital until needed, and improving outcomes for at-risk patients.
It will also support ongoing work to understand how BAME patients are currently over-represented in death rates due to COVID-19.
Alexander Giles, chief commercial officer at Iceni Labs, said: “Resource allocation in the healthcare setting is the most significant limitation to providing improved healthcare for the world’s population.
“More affordable and more automated monitoring and diagnostic tools can directly address this global issue, and we are pleased that we have the opportunity to prove that the medical variant of SafeScan can have a real impact on this disease and the devastation it is causing.”
SafeScan has been in development since 2013. The system allows non-contact, continuous monitoring and recording, and has the potential to record trends and give visual and/or audible alarms when adverse events occur. Being non-contact and resilient to movement, patients are free to rest or sleep without restraint.
In addition to supporting CV-19 research, the system is anticipated to have high value for patients hospitalised in the acute sector, in intensive care units, theatre recovery areas and A&E.