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NEW TECHNOLOGY COULD SAVE LIVES AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN HEALTHCARE COSTS


Researchers from the University of Canterbury have developed technology that could get ICU patients off ventilators faster, saving lives, time and millions of dollars in healthcare costs.


Distinguished professor Geoff Chase and Dr Lui Holder-Pearson have focused their research on two of the most intricate and costly elements of the intensive care unit (ICU) - ventilation and sedation.


Their research combines data from various medical devices with a “digital cockpit” (something that allows all these devices to be connected together) to optimise mechanical ventilation.


“The sooner you can get a patient off a ventilator, the better their chances of survival,” Chase said. Longer ventilation comes with a greater chance of adverse effects such as ventilator-induced lung injury, and a longer period of a high level sedation which has its own risks.


Meanwhile, the cost of each day in the ICU doubles when a person requires ventilation, due to “higher intensity everything” including monitoring and medications.

Chase and Holder-Pearson estimate only about 1% of data created within an ICU is used for patient care.


Measurements made by devices at the bedside, such as heart monitors, pressure catheters and ventilation flow and pressure sensors, are displayed as a waveform on monitors.


Some of these devices make between 25 to 50 measurements per second, and nursing staff transcribe metrics of these measurements every 5 to 15 minutes. That means for every value written down, there are thousands of measurements the devices make that are discarded.




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