Continuous remote monitoring of ill children

Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Trust

  • Project led by Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Trust in partnership with the McLaren Formula 1 team.
  • Based in the intensive care unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
  • Aimed to develop a paediatric early warning system to accurately identify deterioration in very sick children in paediatric intensive care.
  • Used innovative technology from Formula 1 racing telemetry systems to enable continuous monitoring and developed an adaptive algorithm that acts as a sensitive and specific predictor of deterioration.

Birmingham Children’s Hospital worked in partnership with the McLaren Formula 1 racing team to translate real time, continuous monitoring and analysis for racing cars into a system that could predict deterioration in very sick children. The aims were to:

  • accurately predict deterioration and reduce life-threatening events
  • enable continuous monitoring to detect transient or combined vital sign indicators
  • reduce the length of time sick children spend in hospital for observation purposes and enable some children to be discharged sooner for observation at home.

The system they developed collects physiological data from patients through adhesive sensors and analyses it in real-time. The algorithm used to analyse the data is able to learn trends in the patient's physiology and identify any deviation from normality.

Impact

The early warning system was tested and proved to be successful in:

  • determining when oxygen saturation is deviating from normal and developing an abnormal trend
  • predicting oxygen saturation trends up to two minutes in advance.

The team identified a potential annual saving of £3 million by reducing length of stay in paediatric intensive care.

Challenges

Adapting the technology developed specifically for Formula 1 was challenging and time-consuming. More time than anticipated was needed for managing issues around contracts, intellectual property and analysis.

Further reading

Learning report

Shine: Improving the value of local healthcare services

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Shine 2011

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