Healthcare technology firm, snap40, has won a £1 million contract from NHS England to help the start-up company trial the wearable monitoring device in two UK hospitals.

The funding has been awarded through the Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI), to help the company expand and move towards the goal of getting its tech into seven more hospitals by the end of 2017.

The armband device monitors a range of health indicators. Using machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms, it alerts doctors and nurses to when a patient’s vital signs indicate further potential health risks.

Chris McCann, snap40’s CEO and founder said: “Snap40 allows our world-class healthcare staff to care for many more patients by helping them to prioritise who needs attention most.

“This contract from NHS England is a recognition of the value our product can bring to health services all over the world.

“The device is worn on the upper arm and it monitors six different vital signs: heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturations, temperature, emotion, posture and changes in the blood pressure.

“The device transmits raw signal from six different sensors then we do a significant amount of computation in our back-end to say this is a vital sign.

“All told, we transmit about 15,000 data points off the device every 30 seconds.”

The trials will begin in April and May 2017, on up to 500 patients at the Victoria Hospital, run by NHS Fife, and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, controlled by NHS Lothian.

Chris McCann emphasises the product is “100% not about trying to replace” doctors. It’s there to assist them so they can use their time better.

Karen Livingstone, National Director at SBRI Healthcare, said: “People are increasingly taking control of their own health, using tools to inform their behaviours and decisions.

“Artificial intelligence technology is becoming more and more powerful, and will play an increasing role in healthcare over the coming years.”

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