In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on the earlier detection of deterioration in patients’ in order to prevent adverse outcomes. This is especially important in the Emergency Department, a dynamic environment with large volumes of undifferentiated patients which carries inherent patient risk.
Techniques to improve the detection of deterioration have included early warning scores such as National Early Warning Score (NEWS) which requires staff to monitor and record patient’s vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, oxygen levels and temperature). These recordings help the staff to recognise any changes in patient’s clinical condition. However, this relies on staff taking and documenting these vital signs at set intervals, something which can be problematic in a busy Emergency Department. To try to help this issue, we are investigating the use of a new, innovative medical device called SNAP40.
SNAP40 is a device that monitors vital signs. It is small, portable and has no leads or wires, allowing for patients vital signs to be continuously monitored anywhere in the department. The device is smaller than most mobile phones, and is held within a blue casing attached to an armband (please see image). When fitted to a patient’s arm, the device will continuously monitor their vital signs whilst they are in the Emergency Department.
SNAP40 uses artificial intelligence algorithms to analyse data provided by its sensors in order to recognise indicators of health deterioration. The raw data collected by the sensors is converted into vital signs, which are analysed for signs of deterioration. An alert will be sent to staff if the device detects any signs of deterioration in the patient’s readings.
We will be exploring if this device can detect any changes to patients’ vital signs earlier than the ways we currently measure them in the Emergency Department. This may improve our ability to recognise any patients at risk of becoming unwell, potentially resulting in earlier medical attention for patient’s in the department.
We aim to recruit 250 patients from our Emergency Department in Edinburgh, and hope to get the study started in May 2017. Look out for more updates coming soon as the study begins!