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AI-Aided Fall Prevention System Gains $30M in New Funds

Old person with walker

(PXHere, https://pxhere.com/en/photo/867917)

3 Dec. 2021. A developer of a system using artificial intelligence to process video for preventing falls by older people is raising $30 million in its second venture round. The company, SafelyYou Inc. in San Francisco, is also receiving $10 million to install the fall-prevention system in long-term health care facilities owned by one of its new investors.

The SafelyYou system seeks to monitor residents in danger of falling, such as those at long-term care facilities serving older people in frail condition or individuals with dementia. Cameras are installed in rooms of participating residents that consent to monitor their movements. In the event a resident falls, says the company, facility staff are alerted in seconds. And the video is saved for staff to determine the cause of the resident’s fall, and take action if a systemic problem is revealed.

SafelyYou says its system collects and analyzes videos of falls, with videos and data on more than 20,000 falls to train its machine learning algorithms, in collaboration with nurses, occupational therapists, and other experts. The company says its analytics, from more than 1,500 videos each month, can produce reports noting similar falling incidents and environmental conditions to enable long-term care facilities to correct any problems, and institute measures that head-off risk factors contributing to resident falls. In addition, SafelyYou provides a framework for facilities to hold regular meetings called Fall Huddles, for care teams to discuss its record with resident falls and recommend corrective actions that may be needed.

Based on doctoral research in computer science

In November, SafelyYou released a report of its systems in use at 25 Belmont Village memory care facilities in the U.S. (registration required). The results, says the company, show over two years, 4 percent of emergency room visits by residents of those facilities with the SafelyYou system were caused by falls. For that population nationwide, according to data from National Center for Health Statistics, 12 percent of emergency room visits by people age 70 to 79, are due to falls, with that number rising to 17 percent for age 80 to 89, and 25 percent for age 90 and over.

SafelyYou is a six year-old company founded and led by George Netscher, based on his doctoral research in computer science at University of California in Berkeley. The new $30 million funding, the company’s second venture financing round, is led by Omega Healthcare Investors, a real estate investment trust in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Taking part in the round are SCAN Group, whose holdings include a Medicare Advantage plan, and current investors Eclipse Ventures, Foundation Capital, Founders Fund, and DCVC. In September, the company raised $19.5 million in its first venture round.

Omega Healthcare Investors’ portfolio is mainly long-term senior care centers, and it’s spending another $10 million to install the SafelyYou system in 944 of its facilities.

For Netscher, SafelyYou is a personal as well as business mission, since his mother, grandmother, and aunt had Alzheimer’s disease. “This is personal,” says Netscher in a company statement released through Cision. “Every fall that can be prevented means another son, daughter, sibling, friend or relative won’t experience the suffering I witnessed. Seeing our technology being rapidly adopted by care centers across the country means we are helping prevent head injuries, hip fractures, and the associated stress, grief, and cost to caregivers and affected families.”

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