Of the 1.5 million children admitted to UK hospitals every year; 650 suffer cardiac arrests and 3000 die. Most have signs that indicate deterioration before the life-threatening event. Current early warning scores have reduced avoidable life-threatening illness and death, but these systems need to be improved.
Deterioration can be missed when vital signs change rapidly, observations are made infrequently and slowly deteriorating trends can occur between alarm thresholds. A team led by Dr Heather Duncan of Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust proposes a system where continuous observations are taken from patients and this data is used to understand, in real-time, what is normal for each patient and detect the changing patterns in their physiology. Small chest and hand sensors wirelessly connect patients in the wards. Continuous monitoring allows deterioration to be recognised, triggering an alert and provoking timely intervention to prevent patients suffering further deterioration and death.
The technology uses software adapted from Formula 1, with Aston University and Birmingham Children’s Hospital algorithms to interface seamlessly with NHS IT systems. The key goals are to deploy RAPID in two cardiac wards, demonstrate reliable collection and processing of data, provide clinical interpretation of processed data and create new patient pathways for better and more effective utilisation of nursing and doctors.