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VirtuSense : The AI pioneer of fall prevention 

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Deepak Gaddipati, Founder and CTO of VirtuSense, has always been an analytical thinker, problem solver, and champion of AI technology.

Deepak’s early work included developing the body scanners used by most airport security and working on special projects with the U.S. Department of Defense.

However, in 2009, Deepak’s otherwise independent and healthy grandmother fell and broke her hip. The fall caused several complications and within ten days she passed away.

Traditionally, healthy older adults have only been considered a fall risk after they experience their first fall, so no one had considered her a fall risk until it was too late.

After this personal experience, Deepak dedicated himself to preventing the same thing from happening to other families by developing artificial intelligence (AI) technology for early fall-risk detection and prevention.

By 2014, VirtuSense released its first solution, VSTBalance, which used AI and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors to determine long-term fall risk in older adults through a 2-minute assessment.

From there, Deepak guided the company to develop VSTAlert, a solution for long-term care, and VSTOne, for acute care in hospitals.

Both solutions use in-room sensors to monitor a patient’s intention to exit their bed and proactively alert care staff.

Today, VirtuSense solutions VSTBalance and VSTAlert are now being used in hundreds of long-term care organisations across the country and have entered several hospital systems with VSTOne.

On average, organisations see a 74 per cent reduction in falls with injury when using the solutions.

Clinicians have seen huge improvements in older adult mobility, patient safety, and data-driven care in the communities using VirtuSense solutions.

A social impact report from Impactable X shows that VirtuSense has prevented just under 23,000 hospitalizations, prevented 105,943 falls, and saved over $780 million in medical costs related to falls, as of 2021.

Comparing VirtuSense’s fall prevention solutions with current bed exit alarms demonstrates how far technology has come.

Traditional alarms operate in black and white. The patient triggers the alarm by shifting weight or crossing a sensor boundary, without any context for where the patient actually is.

With AI, monitoring can be done with nuance.

The LIDAR sensor is mounted across from a patient’s bed and scans 30 times a second. From this data, the AI-based sensor can recognize patterns of movement that indicate an intention to exit the bed. The system then alerts care staff and instructs the patient to wait for assistance.

The AI is trained on massive quantities of data (over 2 million hours for VSTOne) so natural patient movements like rolling over or reaching across the bed won’t trigger an alarm.

This greatly reduces false alarms and allows patients to be comfortable and unrestrained while maintaining their safety.

At its core, VSTOne is 24/7, one-on-one fall prevention monitoring.

Each VirtuSense instance includes built-in data reporting for the client facility.

VSTAlert and VSTOne have onsite performance and medical record integrations, so each alert is logged immediately, both within the platform and shared with the electronic health record (EHR).

VSTOne can also report group data for falls across a particular unit or site over time. This allows teams to see trends in their fall prevention strategy and create the safest environment possible for recovering patients.

Where VirtuSense data provides the most lift for longer-term rehab and recovery is with the VSTBalance solution. VSTBalance conducts 2-minute fall-risk assessments that can identify deficits in gait, balance, and function.

From there, clinicians can use the data to determine the best care plan for that patient’s specific deficits and easily track improvement over time with subsequent assessments.

VSTBalance has been used in hundreds of skilled nursing organizations to improve the mobility of older adults and is beginning to be used in primary care offices to detect fall risk earlier than ever.

By preventing falls either in the long term with VSTBalance or in the short term with VSTAlert and VSTOne, VirtuSense removes the painful, complicated, and expensive consequences of a fall for both healthcare professionals and patients.

In the clinical day-to-day, VSTAlert and VSTOne are much more accurate than traditional solutions, boasting 95 per cent reduction in false alarms when compared to pressure alarms. This reduces alarm fatigue and frustration for nurses who are already stretched thin.

During the launch of VSTOne at one hospital site, the nursing team was wary of added stress from using a new system.

About a month after VSTOne was implemented, their opinion had shifted completely after seeing how efficient and reliable the system was, and they requested removing pressure alarms altogether from rooms using VSTOne.

VirtuSense solutions have shown how AI technology can not only reduce the fall risk for patients, but also affordably streamline patient monitoring, record keeping, broader patient safety initiatives, and improve nursing efficiency.

Currently, the average fall reduction at skilled nursing organisations using VSTAlert is 75 per cent, going from a baseline rate of falls of 63 per cent to just 16 per cent.

Assisted living communities have seen an average fall reduction of 82 per cent, with their fall rate baseline dropping from 48 per cent to just 9 per cent.

VSTBalance has been used by hundreds of physical therapists to determine fall risk and improve mobility and function in older adults.

Assisted Living sites using VSTBalance have seen an average fall reduction of 59 per cent, and Skilled Nursing has reduced fall injuries by an average of 68 per cent.

VirtuSense believes that embracing cutting-edge technology is necessary to keep patients safer and healthier than ever before, and the company has big plans for the next phase of its solutions.

Currently, new patient safety features are in development such as pressure ulcer prevention and vitals monitoring, telehealth capabilities, and a Siri-like virtual assistant for patients.

The established solutions are never static, always seeing an improved AI and upgrading software for the best results possible.

VirtuSense is striving to enable proactive healthcare today and into the future.

This is an excerpt from our Special Report – Falls Management: Innovations for an Ageing Population

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