Oxehealth, the company which turns cameras into health monitors, has completed a proof of concept study in collaboration with Broadmoor Hospital. The study was part funded by the government under the Smart scheme administered by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

Using the Oxecam, the project trialled camera-based health monitoring software to enable the unobtrusive, non-contact monitoring of patient vital signs in a secure room setting, increasing patient health and safety.


The six-month study has been successful, monitoring volunteers’ heart and breathing rates as they carry out typical activities – in particular, enabling them to rest with seven hours’ undisturbed sleep and a lower level of manual supervision. The new trials will seek to further develop this technology into a real-time prototype capable of operating in the day to day of a working high security mental health hospital, with volunteer subjects.

Those detained in secure facilities are at significant risk of deteriorating health, self-harm or suicide. This includes patients in mental health hospitals and detainees in prisons and police custody suites.  Recent figures show England and Wales has seen the highest rates of suicide in prisons in 2014.

“With over 18,000* inpatients detained in 2013/14, under the mental health act, this is a significant step forward in patient care,” said Jonathan Chevallier, CEO at Oxehealth. “We are confident that this technology can help increase wellbeing and safety of those most at risk, reduce fatalities and significantly improve quality of care provided by these facilities.”

“We are delighted with the results we’ve seen so far from our trial use of Oxecam,” said Dr Amlan Basu, Clinical Director at Broadmoor. “There are some very clear benefits for both our staff and patients which means it is in the interest of all parties to pursue this area of innovation.”

Through the successful award of further funding, Oxehealth will be able to work with a selected partner to develop the prototype camera, network and monitoring system that could be used for in-patient care in secure mental health facilities. The company is currently looking for partners to further develop the prototype research project.

The study was carried out through the monitoring of five non-patient volunteers at the hospital, recording health parameters for extended periods during both day and night and while volunteers partook in typical activities.

Situations in which the secure room automated camera-based monitoring technology is beneficial include:

  • Providing extended monitoring. Currently with regular periodical monitoring – which occurs every 15 to 30 minutes by staff under normal circumstances -changes in critical health signs between checks may be missed.

  • Better status reporting. It can be difficult to determine health by sight only – individuals can often be seen to be asleep, but may have a health issue that needs to be acted upon. The view of the patient may also be obstructed, meaning staff may have to enter the room and at night switch on a light, which is counterintuitive to rehabilitation. 

  • Reduction of staff/improvement in productivity – high-risk individuals often require around the clock monitoring, which reduces staff ability to carry out other functions and puts further demands on limited resources.

With the Innovate UK funding, Oxehealth is now looking for selected partners in both camera and secure facilities management industries, to develop the prototype research project.

How it works:
Oxecam is a set of algorithms, which analyse data from standard video cameras and measure vital signs and other parameters. In this new application, the algorithms will monitor the patient’s movement and breathing for signs of distress, as well as heart rate and other parameters that can be measured to assess the patient’s wellbeing and mood. The video camera feed works in the dark, using invisible infra-red illumination, so patients can sleep undisturbed, and information does not need to be transmitted or viewed by staff. Instead it processes video data inside the camera unit and transmits vital sign readings and alerts staff as necessary.

*Prison figures taken from HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales Annual Report 2013 -14 which states the total prison population had risen to 85,252 by March 2014.

*Patient figures taken from Health & Social Care Information Centre, ‘Inpatients formally detained in hospitals under the Mental Health Act 1983, and patients subject to supervised community treatment’ Annual Report, England, 2013/2014.

Notes to Editor:
Oxehealth Ltd is a biomedical software development company spun out from the University of Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering in 2012. Oxehealth is focused on the continuing innovation of its Oxecam technology which turns cameras into healthcare monitors. It does this by using a range of software products with embedded intelligent algorithms which combine three key attributes: complex signal processing to allow accurate non-contact monitoring; machine learning, to provide personalised healthcare models; and clinical validation.

Initially developed at the University of Oxford in the research labs of world-leading scientist Professor Lionel Tarassenko and backed by IP Group plc., Oxehealth’s patented Oxecam technology enables digital cameras to monitor individual physiology and provide accurate healthcare information with a number applications in both clinical and non-clinical settings.

Oxehealth continues to extend the potential of camera technologies for healthcare monitoring, having developed camera-based vital signs monitoring algorithms, clinically validated at the Oxford Kidney Unit and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, John Radcliffe Hospital.

Innovate UK is the new name for the Technology Strategy Board – the UK’s innovation agency. Taking a new idea to market is a challenge. Innovate UK funds, supports and connects innovative businesses through a unique mix of people and programmes to accelerate sustainable economic growth. For further information visit

Managed by Innovate UK, the Smart scheme offers funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to engage in R&D projects in the strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology, from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge. 

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