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The non-contact vital signs monitoring (NVSM) study was a joint collaboration between the Department of Engineering, the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, and Oxehealth Ltd.

The non-contact vital signs monitoring study (NVSM) was sponsored by the University of Oxford and funded by Innovate UK. Working closely with Oxehealth Ltd, the research group ran a feasibility study to test the practicalities of using new monitoring equipment in the intensive care unit.

Using visual signals based on standard video camera technology the Oxehealth Ltd software is already able to extract heart rate and breathing rate. New algorithm development will focus on recognising blood pressure, temperature, and level of oxygen in the blood.

The research members of the team included clinicians from the Nuffield Division of Anaesthetics and research engineers from the Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering.

Lay summary for the non-contact vital signs monitoring study

Vital signs, including heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure are monitored in hospital to assess health. Normally vital signs are measured using equipment that has many wires and sensors. When attached to a patient they can be uncomfortable, and make moving around difficult. Often it can be time consuming for the nurses to setup and clean this type of equipment between patients.

A local company, Oxehealth Ltd, has developed a new system for measuring vital signs.  It is able to measure vital signs without any contact with the patient. The system uses software to process data collected from camera sensors. This system has been proven to work in some settings, but it is untested in hospital.

We are testing this system by collecting up to 48 hours of video data from participants whist they are admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).  We hope the data we collect will help to determine how practical it would be to use this new type of vital sign monitoring technology in a hospital environment.  We are also using the data collected to further develop the system and associated computer software for future clinical use.

Media coverage of wireless monitoring of patients in hospital

New Scientist published an article about the Oxecam technology which is being used in the non-contact vital signs monitoring research study (24th October, 2016) . 

The article captured the importance of contact-free vital sign monitoring in hospitals and Peter Watkinson, clinical lead for the Critical Care Research Group and intensive care consultant for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said the wireless monitoring "gives the opportunity in the future for pervasive monitoring throughout the hospital".

The article is available online

Significant project milestones

28th February 2017: Project closed to recruitment. Twenty-two patients consented to take part in this study.

28th May 2016: First patient data collection complete

9th May 2016: First patient recruited!

March 2016: Local R&D approval granted.

January 2016: Ethics approval (16/WA/0024) granted

Contact details for the non-contact vital signs monitoring research team

For all general enquiries please contact Oliver Gibson, Research Lead at Oxehealth Ltd.