3-D app measures up to prevent falls

3D app measures up to prevent falls
Credit: Brunel University

People prone to falls could be safer pottering round at home with smart mobile 3-D software to help healthcare workers measure their surroundings.

With more older than 80 around than ever before, falls, and injuries and from them cost the NHS an estimated £2.3bn a year.

People at extra risk of falls have themselves and their homes measured up for aids like bathroom grab rails, ramps, wheelchairs and walkers. But 50% of this equipment never gets used, partly because it's a bad fit.

Computer scientists at Brunel University London tested a mobile 3-D visualisation app that guides through measuring. It could help save billions on health care, make homes less hazardous and give people safer, more independent, better quality lives.

"Having technology that addresses issues with prescribing the right assistive equipment could have significant cost-saving implications for the health and social care system," said Brunel's Dr Arthur Money."

The 3-D-MAP under development at Brunel shows 3-D models of the things most linked to home falls – bed, bath, toilet, chair and stairs. Audio instructions and arrows pinpoint exactly where to measure specific pieces of furniture and users can rotate the models and zoom in and out to get a better look.

3D app measures up to prevent falls
Credit: Brunel University

The study, in Health Informatics Journal found experienced occupational therapists said a prototype of the tool helped them better understand the precise measurement locations than the NHS 2-D paper diagrams. It could be used to help train junior occupational therapists and help OTs handover work to colleagues they suggested.

Using new technology to solve longstanding problems in health care is part of a government push aimed at 'liberating the NHS' by cutting bureaucracy.

"It is a promising result," said Dr Money, highlighting that one of the key challenges is the lack of mobile, touch screen devices among clinicians.

A larger scale study is now underway to compare measurements taken with 3-D-MAP with ones using paper guidance in terms of accuracy and consistency. Further research will look into whether patients themselves, plus family members and caregivers could benefit.

Explore further

Occupational therapy reduces hospital readmissions

Provided by Brunel University
Citation: 3-D app measures up to prevent falls (2017, August 21) retrieved 22 August 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-d-app-falls.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more