Predicting problems

A technology originally developed for predicting aircraft engine problems before they arise has begun clinical trials in the US for use in patient monitoring.



The BioSign system, developed by OxfordUniversity spin-off Oxford BioSignals, of which Rolls-Royce owns a 30 per cent stake, provides an early warning of severe health deterioration in patients.



The technology monitors the patient’s heart and respiratory rate, temperature, blood pressure and blood oxygen saturation. This data is combined to produce a second-by-second picture of the patient’s condition, said Matthew Walls, chief executive of Oxford BioSignals.



‘By fusing signals from these five vital signs we get an overall representation of the patient’s condition and can see early indications of deterioration,’ he said.



As well as alerting nurses if the patient deteriorates, the system also provides a complete audit trail from the time of the alarm sounding through to treatment.



Last week the system began a 10-month trial on between 250 and 350 patients in three trauma units at an Indianapolis hospital, in conjunction with US group Clarian Healthcare. The technology will be used outside the Intensive Care Unit to help cut the number of patients returning to the ICU with complications, and to reduce costs.



BioSign is also due to complete a two-year blind trial at Oxford‘s JohnRadcliffeHospital in June. Following peer review of the results the company hopes to launch a commercial product by early 2006.



The data fusion technology is also used in Rolls-Royce’s Quick engine health monitoring system, which is due to enter service in 2006 in its Trent 900 engines for the Airbus A380.


Oxford BioSignals