A new electronic health records-agnostic tool from Cerner can identify patients at risk for falls with a 90 accuracy rate, according to the vendor.
The tool measures how a patient is walking, the speed of walking and every aspect of acceleration around the bodys center of gravity as the patient moves, the company explains. Used on a patient with knee surgery, for instance, the tool would read that the patient is accelerating differently by putting more pressure on one knee and the stride is off-balance.
Patients walk independently or with help around a clinic or down a hospital hallway for 10 minutes. The data then assesses overall stability by comparing acceleration patterns of individuals who fall against those who dont fall.
The tool, the size of a five-piece pack of gum, fits in a pouch that is belted around the waist. It plugs into Cerners CareAware iBus integration product that connects medical peripherals to EHR systems or other computers. The tool costs about $100, is reusable and designed to be used in clinics and smaller hospitals. Data from the tool uploads to a computer and caregivers receive a personalized assessment of the patient.
The tool does not yet have a formal market name, for now, in-house, it is called the Cerner fall prevention model and tool.
Separately, the National Council on Aging has a new Falls Prevention Action Plan describing how the nation can reduce falls among older Americans. One in three individuals age 65 or older will fall each year, according to the council.
Recommendations in the plan, available here, cover physical mobility, medication management, home safety, environmental safety in the community, funding and reimbursement, expansion of prevention programs, public awareness and advocacy.
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