Simultaneous Safety: Purposeful Physiological Detection

The Million Pound Challenge was a new event at the International Forum of Quality and Safety in Healthcare #Quality2013. Judges included Donald M. Berwick, Fiona Moss, Helen Bevan, ‘e-patient’ Dave deBronkart and JoInge Myhre.

The challenge: Junior health care staff to pitch an idea for what they would do with One Million Pounds to transform healthcare. Four finalists were shortlisted for presentation. The video of my presentation is here:

I was very humbled to be not only shortlisted but win the award with my idea for a multi-purpose saturation probe. In  summary the technology exists to not only calculate oxygen saturations and heart rate, but also temperature and respiratory rate from the same device. These four measurements together, adjusted by an internal microcomputer for a designated age range, could be used to simply display a green, amber or red light to given an impression of the patients health. This would NOT replace clinicians judgement but would support health care professionals and potentially those without significant medical training to make decisions on patient care. The probe would be powered by a small solar panel enabling its use in the developed and the developing world.

My presentation is attached. I am not a big fan of bullet points but the general sense is there.

A picture of my mock of what the device would look like is below (click on it to expand):

Annotated Picture of Monitor

So what turned out to be a ‘back of packet’ scribbling seems to have caught peoples attention. Could this really be taken forward?

To do this I need the help of the world-wide health community.

Do you work in medical technology industry?

Do you have a friend who is expert in solar panels?

Can you program algorithms into motherboards?

Would you like to just simply help!

Please get in touch by commenting on this blog. This is a real opportunity to change the world. Don’t just believe me. Donald Berwick said so….

8 thoughts on “Simultaneous Safety: Purposeful Physiological Detection”

  1. Firstly, congratulations on winning the million pound challenge with such an ingenious idea. Sitting here reading your blog,I was struck by how incredible useful a multi purpose sats probe/ traffic light system could be in Sierra Leone (and other low income countries). In Freetown we are fighting an uphill battle to try and get acutely unwell child to the hospital promptly, making the mortality rate stubbornly difficult to shift.

    You’ve clearly got lots of technical challenges of developing the multi purpose probe.

    I think one of the barriers to using the probe in low income counties might be the lack of early warning score that has been validated with tropical diseases and/or malnutrition. This lack of an early warning score clearly needs to be addressed.

    I’m not sure I can offer you much help at the moment. But if you were interested in adapting/testing the probe in Sierra Leone, I’d be very keen to help.

    (via Matthew Clark of the

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