FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, October 08, 2004

Program Senses Level of Patients' Pain

Medical researchers in New Zealand are testing out a new computer program that senses a patient's level of pain, and administers the precise amount of pain relief and sedative medications. The program uses sensors and video cameras to monitor a patient's level of agitation and, by using complex algorithms, determines the exact amount of medicine necessary to comfort the patient. The system could administer the drugs automatically, but more likely it would notify a nurse, who would do the administering.

Hospitals would be highly interested in such a system, as it would free up nurses' time, promote faster recovery, and prevent waste in medication. All of which add up to better patient care and potentially billions in cost savings.