We have devices that can detect falls, but what if we were able to predict falls before they occurred in elderly patients? That’s the concept behind one of the Janssen HaTCH finalists, Footprints.

Based in Melbourne, Philip Goebel of Quanticare Technologies has come up with a way of predicting the risk of falls in seniors, using a sensor attached to their walking frames.  Decades of human gait research informs the device, which offers clinicians a method of predicting and therefore preventing falls, and reducing costly hospitalisations and complications.

Mr Goebel says the clinical utility of the data is clear but the true potential of predictive analytics has not yet been realised. “The business of healthcare is not well suited to deliver proactive care because of the prevalence of the fee for service model,” he says.

The sensor will measure the clinometric properties of gait that clinicians currently use to understand fall risk, but with the added advantage that it does so “continuously, passively and contextually”.

Judging notes: “Falls are such a huge cost and burden to the patient, the system, and carers.  There are so many wins that arise from a device that will help us prevent falls.  We would see a huge shift in  quality of life and outcomes for the elderly with such an intervention.  We can’t wait to see a prototype in action.”