Video Game Technology Identifies Patient Falls, Helps Improve Quality

Researchers are studying the use of video game sensory depth image technology used in hands-free gaming to non-intrusively study patient falls, according to a study in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing.

In this type of technology, a sensor creates three-dimensional images by obtaining depth data from infrared light patterns.

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Researchers installed Microsoft Kinect sensors, the same ones used in video games, programmed to log continuous data. The sensors were embedded with algorithms from webcam systems to detect falls, so they could differentiate between an actual patient fall and if a person was simply crouching down or tying his or her shoe.

The sensors exhibited a false positive rate of less than one fall per day per room.

Researchers also were able to rewind the data to enable them to see what happened directly prior to the fall, which they suggest can be used in quality improvement analyses. Additionally, they were able to determine which body parts hit the ground or were injured, which could help eliminate unnecessary post-fall care and focus on the body parts known to be injured.

Researchers suggest using detection technology such as the Kinect may help reduce morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs, especially for older patients who are more prone to falls. Using such technology will also allow them to analyze risk factors for falls and help develop future improvement strategies, they suggest.

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