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System being used in John Warin isolation ward at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital

A wearable patch (to measure respiratory rate) and wrist-worn pulse oximeter (to measure pulse rate and oxygen saturation), are linked by Bluetooth to a tablet computer

In a Biomedical Research Centre project led by Professor Peter Watkinson (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences) and Professor Lionel Tarassenko (Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Engineering Science), biomedical engineers and medical researchers have been developing and testing the concept of a virtual High-Dependency Unit (vHDU) for the past 18 months.

A vHDU is a general ward in a hospital in which high-risk patients are monitored using a new generation of wearable sensors measuring pulse rate, respiratory rate and blood oxygen saturation, combined with Bluetooth-linked tablet computers and smart alerting algorithms. The twin aims are to reduce the burden on nursing staff, allowing them to perform vital-sign observations for high-risk patients at the same rate as for lower-risk patients (typically four-hourly), and to improve early detection of abnormal physiological parameters.

Read the full story on the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences website