Start-up raises £5m for COVID-19 health monitors

The company's software can turn cameras into health monitors. Photo: Getty

A UK start-up is set to raise £5m ($6.3m) to meet demand for its software which turns video cameras into COVID-19 health monitors.

Oxehealth's programme can detect pulse and breathing rates from a distance, keeping care home and mental health trust staff safer.

The Oxford-based tech company is undergoing a funding round which is expected to close early next week, The Telegraph reports.

The round is being led by existing investors IP Group and Ora Capital, with the intention of pursing new regions, in particular Swedish care homes and US nursing facilities.

Oxehealth has already made deals to provide its software to 18 mental health trusts, two acute hospital trusts and two police forces across the UK and is piloting its technology in prisons.

The software works by using computer vision and signal processing to detect activity in a room, whilst using sensors to monitor pulse and breathing rates from a distance. This avoids the need to attach finger pulse oximeters, or wired clips to patient's fingers, allowing greater social distancing.

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Oxehealth chief Hugh Lloyd-Jukes told The Telegraph: "We had interest from most mental health trusts in the UK before COVID-19, but it has provided an additional reason. What we've also seen now is the additional benefit of helping to reduce staff contact with patients because you can take pulse and breathing rates, understand the activity of patients without entering the room."

Lloyd-Jukes said new features had been rolled out during the pandemic including a "vital signs trends functionality," which monitors when there is a deterioration in pulse and breathing rate, which can be precursors to the deadly virus.

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest that almost a third of people in the UK have died from COVID-19 whilst in care homes.