In Health

Western Australia Minister for Health Roger Cook

Space Age Innovation Set For Neonatal Lift-Off

Victor P Taffa

  • Premature babies set to benefit from new space technology platform
  • King Edward Memorial Hospital first to implement new software

Computer technology used to track the vital statistics of astronauts in space could one day be saving the lives of seriously ill babies here in Western Australia.

“This is about putting patients first. We are incredibly excited about this cutting-edge project being done in the public health system, through the NICU at King Edward Memorial Hospital.” Minister for Health Roger Cook said.

“Artemis will not replace the doctors and nurses who do an amazing job caring for these vulnerable babies but will serve as an early warning system and arm them with additional, and in some cases, vital information.”

Department of Health is investigating the potential of incorporating such technology into its neonatal intensive care units (NICU), through a small proof-of-concept study.

Known as Artemis, the computer technology platform would act as an early warning system for medical staff, alerting them instantly to potentially significant physiological changes that might signal deterioration in a patient’s condition.

By hooking into an array of bedside monitors which are already standard in NICU Artemis would capture and analyse patient indicators such as oxygen saturation levels, heart rate and respiratory rate to alert medical staff to potentially concerning changes.

Artemis had been known to detect subtle but significant changes in a patient’s physiology up to 24 hours before the patient began to show visible signs of decline.

Computer technology platform was developed by Australian-born computer scientist, Professor Carolyn McGregor AM. Now based in Canada, Professor McGregor is Canada Research Chair in Health Informatics at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

Artemis is capable of collecting and analysing 90 Million pieces of data, per baby per day.


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