The RAPID (Real-Time Adaptive and Predictive Indicator of Deterioration) project is the first of its type in the world. A pioneering research study at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, using real-time diagnostic information inspired by the world of Formula 1, is aiming to save thousands of children and young people’s lives.

What is the RAPID project?

The RAPID (Real-Time Adaptive and Predictive Indicator of Deterioration) project – is the first of its type in the world. It constantly collects data from children on our cardiac wards including their:

  • heart rate
  • breathing rate
  • oxygen levels

This is a new and exciting way for children to be monitored and gives important early warning signs of deterioration that can be acted on quickly. 

The three-year study was jointly funded by a £1.8 million grant from the Welcome Trust and Department of Health, through the Health Innovation Challenge Fund. The study was based on McLaren’s expertise in using hundreds of sensors to collect and analyse real-time data during a race to optimise its strategy on the track.

This technology has been adapted to be used in healthcare for the first time. Hi-tech wireless sensors, designed by Isansys Lifecare are attached to the chest and hands/ankle of children to measure vital signs. The information collected is processed in real-time using machine learning techniques developed by mathematicians from Aston University which are embedded into McLaren’s data analytics platform, LIFEINSIGHT™.

This new technology means that signs normally recorded every one to four hours on paper charts could potentially become a thing of the past. Children will have access to continuous individual monitoring that gives more accurate information helping them to receive faster treatment and shorter stays in hospital.

The wireless technology and wearable sensors remove the need for cables and leads, which can restrict effective monitoring. This means parents can hold and interact normally with their child while knowing they are being safely and continuously monitored.

The three-year study, which started in November 2014, aims to recruit around 1,200 patients when it reaches its completion in late 2017.



Project Partners

Principal Investigator and Study Lead

Birmingham Children's Hospital

Dr. Heather Duncan

Consultant Paediatric Intensivist and PI, BCH RAPID team



McLaren Applied Technologies – provides real time data analysis platform with graphical user interface for visualisation of patient data and associated dynamic trends.

Richard Nicholson

Chief Engineer and PI, MAT RAPID team



Aston University – develop real time data analytics software using machine learning techniques. Develop smart alarm systems which will go off when a child’s condition deteriorates, alerting nurses and doctors allowing a swift response.

Prof. David Lowe

Professor of mathematics and PI, Aston University RAPID team



Isansys Lifecare Ltd – provide wireless sensors to monitor patient vitals such as Heart Rate, Respiration Rate and Oxygen saturation levels.

Keith Errey

CEO of Isansys Lifecare and Lead, Isansys RAPID team



The University Of Birmingham - provide statistical analysis to review the data and efficacy of the study.

Prof. John Deeks

Professor of Biostatistics and Lead, University of Birmingham RAPID team


Our RAPID team

Dr Heather Duncan, Birmingham Children’s Hospital Intensive Care Consultant and RAPID study lead, said: “This technology is truly transformational. For the first time it allows us to analyse patients’ data in real-time in the same way that various other high-risk industries have done for years”

Parent testimonials

Noreen Akhtar - Noreen’s daughter Anayah is currently being cared for at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and is taking part in the RAPID Study. Here’s what she had to say…

 “The wireless technology that is being used has made things a lot easier, especially when it comes to the creating that bond between a mother and her daughter, which is really important.”

“When Anayah was being monitored using wires it was difficult to hold her and pick her up. The wireless monitoring means I can do this and move around. It makes the bond more special.”

Ministerial visit

On the 11 November 2015, Birmingham Children’s Hospital welcomed the Minister for Life Sciences, George Freeman, to meet the RAPID team and find out more about the study. You can watch what happened during the in the video.

Minister for Life Sciences, George Freeman, said: “Combining world class Formula 1 data analytics technology with the expertise of the NHS in diagnostics is vital if we are to provide patients with the most innovative 21st century diagnostic treatments, and maximise the efficiency and performance of the NHS. This is just one of many pieces of exciting research we are funding that will help to provide NHS patients with better and more effective care.”

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