UAMC studies device to predict patient falls - Tucson News Now

UAMC studies device to predict patient falls

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Wearable Zephyr BioModule to predict falling in patients (Source: UA News) Wearable Zephyr BioModule to predict falling in patients (Source: UA News)
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Doctors at the University of Arizona Medical Center are testing out new technology that could predict if a patient will fall - before it happens. 

How will this device help patients in the future - imagine a family member or friend at the hospital recovering from a surgery or an illness and if they fall trying to get back in or out of bed, it could extend their stay at the hospital. Now imagine there is a device that could predict that fall before it could happen.

The new Zephyr BioModule, from Zephyr Technology, based in Annapolis, Maryland, is lending UAMC the equipment and technology for the study, to help predict just that.

Doctors are using this special sensor on more than 40 patients at UAMC.  The sensors go below the patient's heart; they measure heart rate, wakefulness and other biometrics.  Doctors are collecting more than two gigabytes of patient data daily per sensor; it is then plotted against an algorithm that estimates fall risk. 

Right now these sensors are being tested on bone marrow transplant patients.  They typically stay in the hospital for about a month and are at high risk of falling. 

According to one study, over 500,000 patients in hospitals fall each year in the U.S. resulting in 150,000 injuries.

This new study, which began in Sept. 2013 at UAMC will last a year.

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