Oxehealth advances baby safety with camera-based vital signs monitoring

Oxecam video baby monitors measure heart and respiratory rate of a baby remotely

New technology, successfully trialled at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, will drive a significant change in baby monitoring.

Oxehealth, the camera-based health monitoring company, has developed software that will enable a new generation of smart video baby monitors to measure a baby’s vital signs without the need for physical contact or wearable devices.

Oxehealth’s technology promises to revolutionise the world of baby monitoring – turning a passive video monitor into one that provides genuinely useful health information

Using its Oxecam technology, video baby monitors will be able to measure the heart and respiratory rate of a baby remotely. The technology will send accurate alerts to parents or caregivers when it detects sudden changes in vital signs, allowing them to react to potential health risks that otherwise would not be visible.

The software, which has been successfully trialled at the John Radcliffe Hospital, part of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, demonstrated its abilities to monitor key vital signs continuously in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The accuracy of the product met the clinical standards expected of a medical product, opening the door to a whole new world of neonatal camera-based health monitoring possibilities.

“Virtually every new parent in the UK buys a baby monitor when they first have a child, and some will buy multiple monitors as they seek to find the best on the market,” said Jonathan Chevallier, chief executive at Oxehealth.

“Many current monitors with their passive audiovisual feedback do not provide warnings of problems – other than baby distress. Building vital signs monitoring into these devices would enable constant feedback to parents on the baby’s heartbeat and breathing rate, providing considerable reassurance to parents and early warnings of any problems. This is a huge step forward in infant monitoring.”

Oxecam benefits include:

  • Many current video monitors only provide a video feed of the baby with no contextual health information, making it impossible for a parent to determine whether their baby is just asleep or potentially has a much-more-serious problem
  • Monitors are designed to give parents the freedom that comes with the comfort of knowing that their baby monitors are keeping an eye on their little ones. Many video monitors currently on the market are not able to detect and alert parents to accurate signs of health-related problems, meaning parents end up extensively checking their monitors and maybe even needing to do physical checks. Oxecam is able to send accurate alerts of sudden changes in vital signs which is often an early indicator of ill health, giving parents what they want from their baby monitors, peace of mind
  • The ability to monitor babies’ vital signs without the need for contact is a significant advantage in baby safe vital signs monitoring. Contact-based devices can be uncomfortable and irritate delicate skin, especially among pre-term infants. Using camera technology can also eliminate the need for potentially-dangerous cables from mat-based devices and potentially harmful close-proximity wireless transmitters
  • Utilising camera technology only, there is potential to reduce the cost for parents wishing to monitor vital signs, as contact and wearable devices may need to be replaced as they can become easily damaged, worn and outgrown and often depend on integrated rechargeable batteries which decay over time
  • Contactless monitoring offers a significant benefit for active babies. While asleep or laying in their cots it can be hard to maintain reliable sensor connection in any contact-based monitors as the baby moves around
  • The Oxecam can provide ongoing monitoring through the night and day simply – it can also alert to a number of risk factors such as the baby turning onto its stomach or covering itself in bed clothes

Oxehealth is a spin out from the University of Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. Its monitoring technology is also being funded to monitor patient wellbeing in other situations such as secure hospitals, including Broadmoor; and post-operative cancer and renal wards. Its technology is based on algorithms which monitor patient movement and breathing for signs of distress, as well as heart rate and other parameters that can be measured to assess a patient’s wellbeing.

In a world in which people are choosing to install and use cameras in ever more settings, this is just one example of how Oxehealth’s technology will invisibly monitor personal health, enabling us all to live safer, healthier and longer

“Oxehealth’s technology promises to revolutionise the world of baby monitoring – turning a passive video monitor into one that provides genuinely-useful health information,” said Chevallier.

“In a world in which people are choosing to install and use cameras in ever more settings, this is just one example of how Oxehealth’s technology will invisibly monitor personal health, enabling us all to live safer, healthier and longer.”

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