Two million older adults are treated in the ER every year for fall-related injuries. Healthcare professionals everywhere are searching for better solutions, asking the question: how can we keep our older generation safer, and better yet, how can we not only prevent falls, but also find out why they are happening so frequently? In efforts to answer these questions, the healthcare industry is turning to more technologically advanced solutions like AI.
Where does technology fit in?
Using technology for fall prevention isn’t new. For years, pressure pads, motion detectors, video analysis, and other electronic systems have been used to alert hospital staff of potential risk. The problem with solutions like these is not only the number of false alarms they put off, but these options only react to potential risk—they can’t predict it. Another issue is that they only address the initial problem of falls—they have no ability to adapt to a patient’s needs as their condition changes over time. The static nature of these solutions is the reason they have been only partially successful in the past, while many high risk patients still fall through the cracks.
How are these problems being solved?
Knowing where these technologies fall short, another solution stands out from the rest. A technology with capabilities to use and gather data to predict at-risk behavior and learn a patient’s habits will ultimately be what keeps older adults safe. Artificial intelligence makes this possible. It’s the solution that healthcare professionals have been searching for all along. So, on the base level, what makes AI different from other forms of fall prevention?
AI technology uses machine vision to detect movement and patterns to make a faster and more accurate assessment of a patient’s problem. Systems like this train the computer to act like the human eye, seeing and understanding objects that are placed in front of it. For this to happen, the computer uses algorithms to process images, which allows it to quickly understand and diagnose deficiencies. AI-driven technology can take many forms and be used in a variety of contexts—from analyzing mobility deficiencies to predicting bed exits.
“The promise of [AI] in medicine is to provide composite, panoramic views of individuals’ medical data; to improve decision making; to avoid errors such as misdiagnosis and unnecessary procedures; to help in the ordering and interpretation of appropriate tests; and to recommend treatment,” said Eric Topol, in Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again. AI opens doors for accuracy that will save time and have the capacity to expand care beyond tests and treatment. Topol goes on to say that AI will enable deeper communication between doctor and patient, restoring connection and trust in every aspect of the medical field.
Getting Started with Preventative AI
If you’re a healthcare provider, the question remains: which AI technology would be a good fit for your facility? VirtuSense offers a suite of products specifically tailored to hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. Our fall prevention products including VSTBalance and VSTAlert are reducing falls all over the United States. VSTBalance acts as a screening tool and analytics tracking platform where communities can track their residents’ fall risk level on an individual level as well as on a population level over time. Additionally, VSTAlert acts specifically as a bed exit indicator, predicting bed exits 30 seconds faster than other bed exit solutions, which will allow your staff to prevent falls faster, and more efficiently. These technologies are vastly changing the healthcare industry in ways that were unimaginable a decade ago. AI is the way of the future in fall prevention.