Kaohsiung Municipal Kai-Syuan Psychiatric Hospital’s iSAFE Won the 2021 GO SMART Award

Article By : GO SMART

Kaohsiung Municipal Kai- Syuan Psychiatric Hospital has developed iSAFE, a real-time psychiatric patient safety monitoring and prediction system.

Ensuring patient privacy has been a challenging issue in the healthcare industry. Kaohsiung Municipal Kai-Syuan Psychiatric Hospital overcame all obstacles and developed the De-identified real-time psychiatric patient safety monitoring and prediction system (iSAFE), which can issue real-time alerts before potential accidents occur, giving caregivers time to react accordingly. This invention has made a positive impact on healthcare solutions in nationwide and won the Global Organization of Smart Cities (GO SMART) Award.

Artificial intelligence (AI), big-data analysis, and image analysis have been widely applied in the healthcare industry, a sector that emphasis the importance of patient and hospital privacy. Healthcare organizations and businesses are constantly working to develop and optimize healthcare solutions through information technology, with the goal of addressing resource scarcity in long-term care as we move towards an aging society.

Dr. Huang-Chih Chou

Dr. Huang-Chih Chou, president of Kaohsiung Municipal Kai-Syuan Psychiatric Hospital, said the major causes of safety events in Taiwan’s psychiatric hospitals are the following: falls (44%) and injuries (40%). While “video surveillance” seems to be the straightforward solution, the Personal Data Protection Act makes it extremely difficult to establish a safety surveillance system in Taiwan. Fortunately, a joint effort between Kaohsiung Municipal Kai-Syuan Psychiatric Hospital and the industry has successfully overcome relevant obstacles and developed the iSAFE system, which applies depth cameras and physiological sensors (non-contact telemetry) to address privacy concerns.

Based on his own clinical experiences, Dr. Chou pointed out that there are detectable signs one can look out for when it comes to detecting falls, such as abnormality in motions and respiration, and an increase in blood pressure and breath rate. When patients have tendencies to hurt others or themselves, their blood pressure and breath rate typically drastically rises. Through AI, the iSAFE system is able to determine the correlation between the telemetry data and the incidents, then alert caregivers in advance—providing precious response time for such an event.

iSAFE’s depth camera technology can de-identify patients by removing their facial features while monitoring their posture. Through AI machine learning technology, the system uses 60Ghz mm wave radar sensors for precise and distant measurements, allowing simultaneous and real-time monitoring of patients’ breath rate and heartbeat. The system is able to locate patients without revealing their identities. The goal is to detect potential incidents three minutes ahead of occurrence and notify the caregivers in advance.

While the results of this invention have yet to be evaluated, Dr. Chou believes that it will benefit the healthcare system in the long run as Taiwan moves toward an aging society. It won’t be long before a lack of labor appears in caring for the elderly and those with mental disorders. Relying on information technology to improve the quality of service in healthcare will undoubtedly become the future trend. Currently, one- third of Kaohsiung Municipal Kai-Syuan Psychiatric Hospital’s hospital beds are equipped with iSAFE. This helps iSAFE accumulate valuable AI datasets that will further polish the algorithm for a higher detection rate. In the future, iSAFE can even be deployed to communities and nursing homes with customized monitoring systems.

Dr. Chou said that there are 40 psychiatric hospitals (with a total of 20,000 beds) and 1,084 nursing homes in Taiwan. However, there are 60,000 mental disorder patients who need medical care. The government will need to make a major investment in healthcare to keep up with the demand. As Kaohsiung City Government puts a tremendous emphasis on AI smart city, Kaohsiung Municipal Kai-Syuan Psychiatric Hospital is leading the way by developing iSAFE in addressing resource scarcity in the healthcare industry. Besides the GO SMART Award, iSAFE also claimed the silver award for the Symbol of National Quality in the long-term care category.

Dr. Chou warns of resource scarcity in healthcare becoming an issue worldwide. Healthcare for the mental disorder patients requires not just medication but also psychotherapy. iSAFE can reduce the demand for human resources, allowing caregivers to provide patients with quality healthcare services.

Taiwan’s smart healthcare system is widely recognized and praised by other nations. The GO SMART Award is an effective magnet which attracts smart city solutions from around the globe. This competition platform encourages medical talents to exchange experiences and promotes collaboration. Kaohsiung Municipal Kai-Syuan Psychiatric Hospital has been developing technologies that can be used for commercial operations and plans to promote smart healthcare via academic exchange programs in Southeast Asia. Long-term care is a common challenge for healthcare systems around the globe. GO SMART Award allows innovative technology applications like iSAFE to be seen by the world and contributes to solving human resource issues in long-term care.

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