MOTION CAPTURE DEVICE ON ITS WAY TO IMPROVING CHILDREN’S POST-OPERATIVE CLINICAL CARE
Anticipating a time when hospital identification bracelets will be replaced by wearable devices communicating live clinical data, a consortium of Adelaide researchers is developing technological solutions to improve post-operative clinical care for kids.
In a pilot study into the recovery process of young patients, motion data was used to identify movement signatures associated with health conditions and stages of recovery, building a better understanding of the healing progress of children, for whom the challenge of quantifying pain can be inhibited by communication barriers.
The Data Dissect team of computer scientists, data scientists, mathematicians, surgeons, anaesthetists and students led by Sanjeev Khurana, a paediatric surgeon at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and Dr Damith Ranasinghe, head of the Auto-ID Laboratory at the University of Adelaide, has recently completed phase two of the research.
“We envision the situation where the doctor on the ward can take out a tablet and view a live data feed on the patients under their care, remotely monitoring any number of variables and receiving alerts, predictions and updates according to personalised patient-specific care plans,” said researcher and University of Adelaide medical student Stefan Court-Kowalski of the project’s potential.
The first of the research phases was an exploratory trial involving six volunteers spanning childhood and adult ages, with the second recruiting 50 children aged between five and 17 for research designed to capture and interpret the “deluge of data” produced by patients.
“Our research team uses the rather vivid image of a patient as a deluge of data: information is flooding out constantly in their words, their actions, their vital signs, nursing notes, doctors’ notes, allied health assessments, demographic information and so on,” Court-Kowalski said.
“Our general philosophy is to imagine new ways to capture as much of this information as we can, harness the power of modern analytical and artificial intelligence methods to synthesise it, and then present meaningful information to clinicians so it can be folded into their own decision-making process."
Clinician response following the pilot study has been encouraging.
“Having set out to answer a very specific question – namely, how feasible is it to capture clinically relevant motion data – we’ve found that our approach has captured many clinicians’ imaginations in terms of the potential for wearable technology to provide fresh insight into their patients’ health status.”
This extends beyond motion data, with advances in technology extending the possibilities further to include conventional vital signs, as well as novel metrics.
“Our vision for the project involves developing a comprehensive system that encompasses many different metrics and leverages the incredible techniques modern data science can offer, including powerful analytics and vivid data visualisation tools,” Court-Kowalski said.
“Harnessing the vast quantities of information available – clinical parameters, medical history, written notes, demographic data, population health statistics, new measures like motion, and many more – could further empower clinicians to make rational, evidence-based decisions about the care of their patients.
In the next stage of the project, researchers will aim to double the patient number while studying the recoveries of children who have undergone appendectomies.
MAKING DATA COLLECTION EASY AND AFFORDABLE FOR CLINICIANS AND RESEARCHERS
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OFFSITE TAKEAWAYS: DOING IT THE A LEARNING HEALTHCARE SYSTEM COMPANY WAY
With Data Dissect, clinicians and health researchers are now able to gather detailed information specific to any health condition in a fraction of the time and resources, when compared to current data collection processes
The idea arose for founder and surgeon, Dr Sanjeev Khurana through the frustration that he shared with many clinical colleagues in not having access to often expensive resources required to perform routine quality control audits in their everyday practice.
This set Sanjeev on the path to creating Data Dissect, a healthcare system in which knowledge generation processes are embedded in daily practice to produce continual improvement in care – also known as a Learning Healthcare System.
Data Dissect has been successfully deployed in South Australia where it has generated a 22 per cent reduction in hospital stay for children with complicated appendicitis.
“As a senior clinician who has been exposed to the problems around data collection in health and the power of modern data science, I am driven by the urgent need to fill this huge gap in the healthcare system,” says Sanjeev. “The Data Dissect platform is an affordable tool that works for clinicians and researchers in their quest for capturing clean data.”
Sanjeev joined The Accelerator in 2019 to learn what it takes to be successful in creating a MedTech startup and to connect with a supportive network of people and companies.
Delivered by the MedTech Actuator, the 15-month, industry-led, venture-backed program aggressively funds and accelerates early-stage medical, health and biological technology startups. The MedTech Actuator works alongside venture capital partner Artesian to support startups on their journey.
Since coming on board with The Accelerator six months ago, Data Dissect have raised funds and generated a proof of concept and product validation.
“I highly recommend The Accelerator to MedTech entrepreneurs,” says Sanjeev. “Knowing what we know now, it is critical for success.”