The road so far

Born from an innovation challenge and co-creation

In 2018, Oulu University Hospital ran a competition internally for clinical staff to identify unmet clinical needs. Out of hundreds of submissions one, faced by triage nurses in the Emergency Department, stood out. The problem was obtaining and recording accurate measurements of respiratory rate and being able to ensure the safety of unmonitored attendees in the waiting room.

In early 2019, a challenge was opened to solve this problem. Funded by the European Union as part of the inDemand program, companies were invited to compete to build a Respiratory Rate Monitor using computer vision. Relying on our previous experience in computer vision at NE Device SW, we entered and were subsequently selected as the winner. Since then we have been working in co-creation mode with clinicians and specialists, running trials in the Oulu University Hospital testbed. The collaboration culminated in Vitacam being piloted in the Oulu University Hospital Emergency Department since June 2020.

Quality management and getting certified

In the beginning of 2021, SGS Fimko Ltd. audited and certified the Quality Management System for Vitacam, according to the ISO 13485:2016 standard. The certification was granted for design, development, testing, production and distribution of standalone medical software for measuring vital signs. The QMS also incorporates key features from other relevant international standards including ISO 14971, IEC 62304 and IEC 62366. Full announcement on our blog here.

Soon to follow was our CE mark in May 2021 as a class IIa device, enabling Vitacam to be used for the purpose of monitoring vital signs for clinical purposes. Read more here.

Pilots, trials and further research

In the fourth quarter of 2021, first pilot of a Vitacam mobile application was launched in an assisted living facility in Taivalkoski, Finland. The case showed promise and has been summarized in a study on our website.

In 2022, researchers from the University of Plymouth started a scientific investigation of Vitacam’s performance and accuracy against gold standard measuring devices, and a usability study of the Vitacam smartphone application, with a group of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients. The results will be published shortly.

Global reach and new opportunities

In late 2021, Vitacam opened its UK office in beautiful Cornwall, and shortly after in November, we were accepted into Propel accelerator hosted by Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network, to support Vitacam’s entry to the UK market.

In the time since, global interest in Vitacam has grown and many new projects are in the works or ongoing. Most recently, in late 2022 and early 2023, Vitacam has teamed up with organizations such as Faizan Global Relief Fund, a leading non-profit, and Sehat Kahani, an innovative telehealth provider, to pilot Vitacam among the underprivileged, hard-to-reach communities of Pakistan.

Some of our activities

Triaging patients at the emergency department

Born from an innovation challenge, Vitacam has been co-developed with Oulu university hospital in northern Finland. As a part of the collaboration, the first Vitacam installation was deployed in the hospital’s emergency department in 2020.

The installation is active to this day and has been used to measure thousands of faces for respiratory rate and pulse. The project has been widely regarded as an example of successful co-creation and effective use of testlab environments. In late 2022, Vitacam received the first ‘co-created’ OuluHealth Labs label as a form of recognition for the successful project.

Piloted in assisted living

In late 2021, Vitacam was piloted in elderly care at assisted living facility Kataja in northern Finland. Daily measurements were gathered from select elderly residents during otherwise routine care, amounting to hundreds of measurements over the course of the pilot. Abnormal results and trends were followed up on by the carers and the facility nurse.

Over the course of the pilot, three major interventions were made in the care of the residents, including one hospitalization and two changes to medication following facility guidelines. Feedback gathered from the staff suggested the application was found easy to use, while the residents were reported to have positive reactions to having their measurements taken via video.

Triaging walk-in patients in a busy urban clinic

As a part of a strategic commercial agreement with a leading non-profit organization, Faizan Global Relief Fund (FGRF), Vitacam was deployed to the new Madani Healthcare Centre in Karachi in February 2023. At the busy clinic, the application is used for triage assessment, with over ten thousand patients measured so far.

Since its installation, user testimonials suggest Vitacam has proven simple to use and is now established in daily practice.

Validated for performance in elderly COPD patients

In the autumn of 2021, Vitacam teamed up with the Centre for Health Technology at the University of Plymouth to develop a research protocol targeting a patient group ‘The Breathers’ in Cornwall. This group affected by COPD is known for their active participation in their own treatment and openness to innovation.

The protocol was approved in the following summer and the study concluded in January 2023. The results from the research were positive, and will be published in due course. We were honoured to co-operate with a strong independent research team and an active patient group who could articulate their feedback so clearly.

Clinically investigated for viability of measuring oxygen saturation

Vitacam uses remote photoplethysmography to obtain heart rate pulse and rhythm. The technique can also be adapted to measure oxygen saturation, similarly to reflectance pulse oximetry but with ambient light instead of red and infrared light.

As this functionality can benefit those with chronic respiratory conditions, we are actively investigating the possibility of adding it to Vitacam. After some initial studies, a research protocol was created in cooperation with leading experts from Tampere University to validate our algorithms according to the ISO 80601-2-61-2017 standard, ensuring accuracy and performance to clinical standards. Ethics committee approval was granted in June 2023 and planning for the study continues.

Meet the team

Founded in 2014, NE Device SW has since its beginnings grown into a versatile and diverse group of industry professionals, delivering software for smartphones, sports-watches, health devices, cameras and more.

Moyeen Ahmad

Management

Miikka Kirveskoski

Management

Henri Tikkala

Computer vision

Timo Huttunen

System integration

Mikko Heikura

Testing

Laura Niemi

Brand identity & UX

Esa Rauman

Systems admin

Ahmed Shaheen

Research & algorithms

Emmanuel Etchu

Testing

Get in touch

We’re always looking to hear from those who share our vision for the future of healthcare. Whether you’re working in a hospital or primary care, an investor looking for an innovative solution to back or another professional of your trade, we welcome you to get in touch.

For Integrated Care Services and Social Care providers wishing to deploy Vitacam in the UK, we are listed on the Spark Dynamic Purchasing System.

We are always looking for partners and are interested in both commercial and non-commercial pilots.

Our solution is ready to deploy immediately, so drop us a message and we can find the perfect customized solution for you.