Wednesday, September 27, 2023

NZ researchers develop tool to unlock respiratory data from devices

Researchers from the University of Canterbury have developed a tool that makes respiratory data more accessible for clinicians and patients.

A team of PhD students of UC Engineering developed the software called Breath-to-Breath Observed Biometrics (BOB) that provides real-time breath-to-breath data. It can also interpret this data and generate a report for GPs, supporting data-driven care. 

Additionally, BOB can also be used with a CPAP device to optimise how it is used. 


The researchers came up with the software after finding how inaccessible respiratory data is for care teams, and even for patients. Ella Guy, one of the researchers, noted how current respiratory disease testing can “take a long time and be costly.” “A diagnosis can take multiple visits to specialised clinics which do not have the capacity to be accessed by everyone.”

There has been a significant rise in various respiratory illnesses over the past years, exacerbated by the global pandemic. And yet, the capacity to treat these diseases has not kept up, said Jaimey Clifton, also one of the researchers. “Because appointments and follow-up can be scarce due to cost and time, it is also possible patients have struggled for some time and needed a change in care,” she mentioned.

Their invention enables more automated diagnosis and frequent condition monitoring, which in turn helps relieve pressure on the health system overall. BOB can also be used by clinicians to make changes in care when it is no longer optimal. 

Besides its application in chronic care, it can also be potentially used in ICUs to check when mechanically ventilated patients can be extubated or when they can be moved out of the unit. 


In rural South Australia recently, SA Health launched a 24/7 remote health monitoring service to help reduce hospital admissions while still providing quality urgent care. Referred patients are provided with a monitoring kit that allows them to measure their own vital signs at home. It also comes with a digital tablet where patients can upload their health data, which is then reviewed by a specialist nurse remotely. 

Signs of patient deterioration are now being closely tracked in real-time in EDs across Western Australia following the rollout of wearable devices for continuous vital signs monitoring as part of the Health in a Virtual Environment service. 

Outside ANZ, Changi General Hospital in Singapore is now predicting the likelihood of patient deterioration using a new AI-powered RPM system. Developed with Respiree, the system features a wearable sensor that has been validated in two studies involving warded patients with respiratory diseases and COVID-19.

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