SPACE technology will be trialled at King Edward Memorial Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in the hope it could one day help save the lives of premature or ill babies.
The Department of Health is investigating the technology’s potential through a small proof-of-concept study.
The technology, known as Artemis, has previously been used to track the vital statistics of astronauts and has been known to detect subtle changes in a patient’s physiology up to 24 hours before visible signs of decline occurred.
It would hook into bedside monitors that are already standard in NICU to capture and analyse oxygen saturation levels, heart rate and respiratory rate to alert medical staff to potentially concerning changes.
The computer technology platform was developed by Australian-born computer scientist Carolyn McGregor.
Now based in Canada, Professor McGregor is the Canada Research Chair in Health Informatics at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
Health Minister Roger Cook said this was extraordinary work being done.
“We are incredibly excited about this cutting-edge project being done in the public health system, through the NICU at King Edward Memorial Hospital,” Mr Cook said.
A proof-of-concept study is designed to show the feasibility of a particular concept and in the of Artemis, it will be to show that data from the bedside monitors can be streamed live and continuously to a supercomputer at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Kensington, where Artemis software has been installed.
If demonstrated, work would then begin on aligning infants’ individual clinical data, such as date of birth and any tests results, with their physiological data like blood temperature, oxygen saturation levels and heart rate.
This proof-of-concept project is expected to take anywhere from six to nine months.
If the concept is shown to work, the Department of Health would begin working with relevant stakeholders to develop an implementation plan and business case.