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Headed into Space – First Tests of Oxehealth’s Digital Care Assistant for Astronauts

Few people are more vulnerable than sick astronauts.  The descent from orbit, let alone the return leg from Mars, is surely the longest ambulance ride of all.  Out of this world it may be, but space medicine has always been a natural application, albeit a longer term one, for Oxehealth’s Digital Care Assistant (”DCA”) which helps clinicians take care of vulnerable people by paying attention to every room when staff can’t be there.

Oxehealth is now working with Mayo Clinic critical care specialists Dr Michelle Freeman, a pulmonologist, and Dr David Freeman, a neurologist, to study how the DCA might be harnessed for space medicine. Both work at Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville campus in Florida, located close to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

As part of its inaugural mission, Exos Aerospace Systems & Technologies Inc., will take an optical sensor into space on the maiden flight of its SARGE suborbital rocket. The rocket is scheduled to be launched on Saturday 25th August from Spaceport America in New Mexico, near the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range.  Exos will be streaming the launch live here.

The Center for Applied Space Technology, a Florida not-for-profit organization with a mission to facilitate the "innovative application of space-enabled and space-enabling technologies", particularly in the advancement of space-based medicine, is coordinating the flight opportunity. Exos is contributing the ride through partnership with Enterprise In Space, and NASA is donating use of the canister that will hold the camera.

Back on earth, Oxehealth places a secure optical sensor in a patient’s room to alert to high risk activity and to enable staff to measure heart rate and breathing rate as accurately as a contact medical device.*

Oxehealth’s Digital Care Assistant is there when clinicians can’t be, paying attention to every patient’s room and alerting staff to when help might be needed.  Oxehealth helps clinicians head off incidents and to resolve them more quickly when they arise.

Oxehealth’s algorithms track minute movements of the human body to derive activity and health data.  On this flight, the optical sensor will monitor the small movements of the second hand of a watch to give initial data on how Oxehealth’s algorithms perform in space. 

Hugh Lloyd-Jukes, CEO of Oxehealth commented, “The descent from orbit is surely the longest ambulance ride of all so it’s essential we develop effective methods for tracking human safety and health if we are to develop space for science and tourism. 

Space applications are a natural fit for Oxehealth’s technology, albeit a longer term one.  Some of our partners on earth already call us the “sixth member of the night staff” - perhaps one day we’ll be the 7th member of the International Space Station team.

Mayo Clinic has a proud history of aeromedicine: Mayo Clinic scientists developed the G Suit and Mayo Clinic experiments have been conducted on the International Space Station.  We are therefore delighted to be working with the Mayo Clinic to explore space applications for our Digital Care Assistant.”

Regulatory note

*Oxehealth’s technology’s accuracy has been demonstrated in research studies in a wide range of healthcare settings in the UK, including acute and mental health hospitals.  The vital signs (remote heart rate and breathing rate probe) product has not been placed on the market. It is expected to be available in Europe from end 2018; this is subject to medical device certification.

About Oxehealth Ltd

Oxehealth gives clinicians, carers & custodians more time for hands on care where and when they are needed most. Oxehealth is an assistant for when you can't be there, paying attention to every room. 

Oxehealth’s solutions can help staff prevent serious incidents, reduce the risk of falls and understand patient behaviour better.  Our software solutions use secure optical sensors to generate the alerts and reports clinicians, carers and custodians need, seamlessly slotted into their existing workflow.  Oxehealth serves customers in mental health, police, prison, acute hospital, care home & homecare settings.

Oxehealth was the first joint spin-out of the University of Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.  The company was founded by Professor Lionel Tarassenko, Head of Engineering at the University of Oxford, in 2012.

For further press information, please contact Hugh Lloyd-Jukes, CEO, on +44 (0) 1865 781 344 or info@oxehealth.com.