A new system uses computer vision and AI to protect care home residents from falls, while preserving their privacy
Spotted: According to the Centres for Disease Control, around 36 million seniors (over 65s) suffer a fall each year – resulting in more than 32,000 deaths. More than 300,000 seniors are hospitalised each year with fall-related hip fractures alone. This is the healthcare crisis that SafelyYou has set out to do something about. The startup has developed fall protection software for use in care and nursing homes.
SafelyYou founder George Netscher developed the company after noting the high incidence of Alzheimer’s in his family, as well as in the general population. He wanted to help others with the illness. The company uses cameras installed in the rooms of care home residents, and leverages computer vision and AI monitoring. To help preserve the privacy and dignity of residents, the cameras only record once a fall is detected.
By reviewing the recordings, care home staff can determine the seriousness of the fall and whether the resident needs to take a trip to the hospital or not. This last step is important, as hospital trips tend to be very expensive and upsetting for those with Alzheimer’s. At the same time, SafelyYou is building up a unique data set around falls, which could possibly be used in the future to recognise when a fall is likely to happen and alert staff and patients before it does.
That potential is one reason why SafelyYou has recently raised $40 million in a Series B funding round, led by Omega Healthcare. The new funding round brings SafelyYou’s venture funding total to around $70 million. But Netscher is adamant that he is not in this for the funding. “I am not a repeat entrepreneur,” he explains, “This is a company that I plan to be with forever. I’m doing this because it is a calling. And the same is true for my whole executive team.”
This is not the first time that we have seen tech used to detect when a fall has taken place. A couple of years ago, Springwise spotted a device that uses WiFi signals and AI to determine when a fall has occurred. Another similar innovation is a connected shoe that can detect falls and send a location alert. However, this is the first comprehensive system we have seen that is designed to detect falls.
Written By: Lisa Magloff