Fall prevention tech made by UVA students could save lives, billions of dollars

EVA, or Emergency Video Alerts, notifies healthcare providers when an at-risk patient is moving and could fall.
Updated: Oct. 1, 2020 at 5:05 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Graduate and undergraduate students of many different backgrounds are coming together at the University of Virginia’s School of Nursing to test their new fall prevention technology, which could help save lives and the healthcare industry billions of dollars.

“What if we could have something to monitor the patient such that the caretaker can kind of step away and be able to do things they want to do with the peace of mind that if something bad is about to happen, that they would get an alert so that they would still be aware, but not at the bedside?” Tien Comlekoglu, chief scientific officer of Vuetech, proposed.

That question led Vuetech, a biotech startup comprised of UVA students in nursing, biotechnology and engineering to create “EVA," also known as an Emergency Video Alerts system. Using cameras and screening technology, EVA takes live video feed and analyzes if an at-risk patient tries to get up on their own while in the hospital. The technology will then alert a healthcare provider if it detects a risk.

“It knows there’s a person here in this position, it knows there’s a bed there, it knows there’s a computer over it. So it does take all of that into account,” Comlekoglu said.

Data from the live feed is continuously deleted to protect a patient’s privacy and prevent hacking.

Associate professor Dr. Kathryn Reid, who helped oversee the creation of EVA, said the technology can help save families stress and grief when caring for an older loved one.

“If you look at an older adult who falls and breaks a hip, then there are financial implications in terms of hospital stay, surgical repair, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, complications, possibly even loss of life. So there’s not just financial implications, there’s all the implications for the quality of life that people live," Reid said.

Vuetech’s Victor Aquino said preventing these dangerous, sometimes fatal falls has heath and financial benefits, too: “We could potentially save the healthcare industry $60 billion," he said.

The group is trying to get that technology into assisted living and healthcare facilities as quickly as possible.

“It’s exactly what they’re wanting, especially how covid has hit the senior living community, there’s been a decrease in funding, there’s the burnout in the healthcare sector," Daniel Chen with Vuetch said.

EVA is still in its prototype phase and must go through a series of trials before being used by assisted-living facilities and other healthcare centers in the area.

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