Students at the University of Virginia are working to patent a new technology that could help prevent falls among nursing home residents. 

Vuetech Health Innovations, a startup company comprising UVA nursing, medical and engineering students, invented the Emergency Video Alerts system, or EVA. 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 or a nursing home. The technology will then alert a healthcare provider if it detects a risk. 

The technology could help save lives and the healthcare industry billions of dollars, said Kathryn Reid, Ph.D., RN, FNP-C, CNL, associate professor of nursing at UVA, who serves as a Vuetech adviser. “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, but also pain and suffering, complications, possibly even loss of life,” Reid said. 

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

Vuetech CEO Jefferson Griscavage, a third-year student in UVA’s School of Medicine who is pursuing M.D./MBA degrees, told UVAToday that EVA is different from other fall prevention products because it is proactive. 

“Other products are designed only to be reactive, and alert providers after an adverse event has already occurred, or rely on human operators to monitor video, thus compromising end-user privacy,” Griscavage said. 

He added that while EVA is currently focused only on fall prediction and prevention, its potential applications within the healthcare sector are widespread, and could include ulcer prevention, seizure monitoring, neonatal monitoring and gait assessment.