Safehinge Primera with NHS and lived experience users collaborate to create dignified smart patient safety aid

Published: 21-Nov-2023

The Glasgow based company has announced multiple live trial partnerships with the NHS across the UK and USA, focused on the treatment of Mental Health, with its move to be first to market non-visual ‘Project X’ safety aid

Glasgow based design company, Safehinge Primera, has announced multiple live trial partnerships with the NHS across the UK and USA, focused on the treatment of Mental Health, with its move to be first to market non-visual ‘Project X’ safety aid. The company positions ‘Project X’ as a platform for the next generation of patient care and engagement. The non-visual patient safety aid (NVPSA) aims to safeguard patient privacy and dignity, whilst providing 100% coverage, 100% of the time, in all areas of the bedroom, including the bathroom.

‘Project X’ features will include:

  • Whole bedroom and bathroom (non-visual sensors cover where cameras cannot), including specific high-risk areas of the room
  • A person collapsed on the floor
  • Multiple occupancy to overcome safeguarding concerns

Huge disparities exist between general and mental healthcare tools available to nurses. Manual observations mean the patient is typically observed only 3% of the time. This places a large burden on nurses, leading to stress at a time when workforces are already under strain.

Based on decades of Mental Health experience and a deep understanding of the sector, Safehinge Primera was keen to look at a better way that helps nurses care for patients and their safety whilst maintaining their privacy. The new non-visual safety development is based on the long-term success of the company’s existing products and insights collected from users about their digital anti-ligature doors. Feedback from all stakeholders, including people with lived experience and nursing staff, has led to the company’s evolution into the digital healthcare space. Rather than simply a technological advancement, this initiative represents a transformative platform for the future of mental healthcare, rebalancing the dynamics between staff and patients, while also nurturing mutual engagement for enhanced recovery and staff support.

Although cameras can be used as a means of patient observation, the suitability of cameras in bedrooms is questionable and unlawful in bathrooms and en-suites, creating an obvious blind spot for patients and staff within a bathroom area. It infringes on the patient's right to privacy – Safehinge Primera is committed to reducing restrictive practice in all clinical areas. The use of cameras to observe patients in bedrooms contradicts this Human Right and forces healthcare providers to choose between the Right to Privacy and the Right to Life.  Safehinge Primera's non-visual patient safety aid (NVPSA) removes the need to choose between these two Rights.

The company’s ethical person-centred approach places the patient's care, well-being, and recovery at its heart. The new ‘Project X’ safety sensors aim to deliver valuable, actionable insights for staff and patients by using data from non-visual sensors located within the ward.

The aim of the trials is to continue the design of the digital platform, which will proactively provide ward oversight for nurses and support decision-making based on real-time information. Reports will also be provided to encourage patient-nurse interactions to discuss patient well-being and participation in their care. The sensors do not capture any identifiable data, only a non-identifiable ‘point cloud’ (see image), ensuring the protection of patient privacy and dignity.

The purpose is to support clinicians to work with the least restrictive approach to patient safety without removing or minimising the therapeutic relationship between clinician and patient.  The digital application also helps reduce the stress burden on nursing staff by providing significantly higher levels of coverage whilst reducing administration workload and reliance on manual methods of observation.  It provides staff with tools for the job and creates more time for nurse and patient engagement.

Philip Ross, Safehinge Primera’s CEO, shared “The biggest challenge for the clinical staff who work on the front line is the ask for them to have eyes on everyone, all the time, as the safety of the people at their most vulnerable time is reliant on their manual observations. We believe there is a role for appropriate technology that doesn’t compromise patient dignity, to better support staff, save time, and  provides them and the patient with insights that can create meaningful therapeutic engagements.”

“Our deep personal connection to ill mental health has always anchored our approach with deep empathy for the people in these spaces, and I believe that has led us to design ‘Project X’ from first principles to find the right technological solution that works for health care providers and the people they serve.”

Martin Izod, Safehinge Primera’s CPO highlights the importance of the co-production voices involved and finding the right technology to get ‘Project X’ off the ground.

“From the outset of the design process, our focus has been people, not technology. To ensure we addressed the diverse needs of all stakeholders, we engaged a group of experts to co-produce the aid, including senior clinicians, nurses, psychologists, safety and IT managers, and most importantly, a large cohort of people with lived experience of the care system.

This collaborative effort steered our design and established clear 'red lines' on what was and what was not acceptable. That was challenging in the best way at times - there are technologies that might be 'useful' in terms of safeguarding - but are simply not acceptable in a mental health setting (audio or visual surveillance, for example).

Consequently, we. We've been committed to openness, active listening, and ensuring our aid is driven by the needs of those we serve. It's not about technology; it's about people.”

Safehinge Primera is actively seeking co-design partners and live trial locations

Through working extensively with NHS staff and lived experience users to co-design the technology, Safehinge Primera understands the impact and harm camera-based surveillance systems can have on mental healthcare patients.

The company is actively seeking to engage individuals with lived experience and organisations focused on the treatment of Mental Health who may be interested in being directly involved in the co-design of this new technology to support mental health professionals to aid recovery, safeguard patient privacy, and reduce restrictive practice.

Register your interest to participate in the co-development or to receive regular updates HERE.


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