“Lifelight” contactless vital signs tool being tested for use in mental health settings

Care City, North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT), Essex Partnership University Trust (EPUT), and UCLPartners is working with DigitalHealth.London Accelerator company Xim to test a new method of monitoring and measuring patients’ vital signs.  

Xim’s Lifelight technology allows completely contactless measurement of three vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure and respiration) in just 40 seconds using the camera built into a standard tablet device. It aims to make the process less distressing for mental health staff and patients, supporting them build their confidence in physical health assessments, and ultimately improve outcomes for patients.

People with serious mental illness often face significant disparities in physical health compared to people without mental illness. NELFT and EPUT want to use the test to maximise opportunities for their mental health staff to support people to improve their physical health alongside their mental health.

The project will evaluate the effectiveness of the tool as well as service users’, carers’ and staff acceptance of its use in mental health wards. The aim is to reduce the distress and discomfort of having vital signs taken in comparison to current methods, and to enable mental health professionals to deliver more effective detection and intervention for physical deterioration or physical disease risk factors.

Hannah Harniess, Deputy Chief Executive, Care City, said: “People with long-standing mental ill health often suffer a greater burden of physical health conditions. Technology which can help staff better monitor and manage physical health during an acute mental health admission could contribute significant steps towards addressing this disparity.”

Dr Kallur Suresh, EPUT’s Deputy Medical Director, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to test the use of this exciting technology in our care for people with mental ill health. It is very important that we look after people’s physical health as well as treating their mental health conditions. This innovation has the potential to improve people’s health outcomes – as we could better monitor any deterioration in their health – and also improve their experience of care.”

Dr Caroline Allum, Executive Medical Director, NELFT, said: “We are really excited to be part of this project. This will help in situations where taking manual observations may be difficult and allow better patient care. The staff are excited to find technology that helps them in their daily work.”

Professor Mike Roberts, Managing Director, UCLPartners AHSN, said: “The NHS Long Term Plan challenges us all to implement new technologies that provide solutions to key clinical challenges. This exciting programme is one such innovation that will help us develop a technologically enabled workforce to meet the needs of our patients today and tomorrow.”

Notes to editors
  • Contact: Rachel Fuller, 07976 037576, rachel.fuller@carecity.org
  • About Care City – Care City is an innovation centre for healthy ageing and regeneration and works as the innovation partner to East London’s health and care system. Every project it takes on is about improving both health and the determinants of health.
  • About Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) – EPUT provides community health, mental health and learning disability services for a population of approximately 1.3 million people throughout Essex and Suffolk. EPUT also provides immunisation and some inpatient services in Bedfordshire. It employs more than 5,000 staff across 200 sites.
  • About NELFT – North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) provides an range of integrated community and mental health services for people living in the London boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest and community health services for people living in the south west Essex areas of Basildon, Brentwood and Thurrock.
  • About UCLPartners – UCLPartners is a founding partner of DigitalHealth.London and brings together people and organisations to transform the health and wellbeing of the population across parts of London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex. As one of 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across England, UCLPartners has been commissioned by the Office for Life Sciences to provide ‘Innovation Exchanges’ to identify, select and support the adoption of innovations that improve patients’ lives and support the economy. As part of this work, UCLPartners has commissioned Care City to help deliver its work to support innovation in North East London.
  • About Xim – Xim is an SME focussing on innovative digital health applications. The team has over 16 years’ experience delivering R&D projects across Europe including multi-modal, emotional recognition, usability for the older generation, workplace wellbeing, and now camera-based vital signs technologies.​