Better Care

Exploring tech in long-term care at home

A pilot project exploring the use of cutting edge technology to improve the quality of life for people receiving long-term care at home is to be launched by BCHC.

The eight-month pilot will build on the findings of an award-winning study exploring how ‘internet of things’ (IOT) devices in patients’ homes, combined with the use of artificial intelligence, can enable clinicians to monitor health indicators remotely around the clock.

If the technology identifies a problem, an alert is triggered and followed up by a clinical monitoring team.

TIHM elderly couple

The Birmingham ‘fast follower’ pilot project is the result of extensive discussions with the research team behind the initial project - the Technology Integrated Health Management (TIHM) for Dementia ‘test bed’ team at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SABP).

Innovation manager Hamid Zolfagharinia said: “This is a very exciting project for BCHC and we’re extremely grateful to the SABP team for their enthusiastic support and backing to get us to this stage.

“Exploring ways to use new technology to support innovation in the care we provide is a key objective of our Fit for 2022 improvement programme.”

The study aims to build on the findings of the initial, award-winning research exploring how technology supplied in patients’ homes can improve the lives of people with dementia, supporting them to stay safe and well while reducing hospital and care home admissions and relieving stress on carers.

The BCHC research and innovation team and clinical effectiveness committee have formally assessed the appropriateness of the project for our patients and clinical services.

This pilot project is the first step towards a potential application from Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SABP)in partnership with BCHC, for a multi-million pound Healthy Ageing grant from InnovateUK later this year to fund further research.

Hamid added: “Even though the original test bed had a focus on dementia, we can use the variety of medical technologies available in the project to monitor a range of patients with long-term care needs.

InnovateUK and NHS England are very excited by the news of us joining the project as a ‘fast follower’ and have agreed to provide additional funds to the pilot so we can recruit more patients. We have the potential to support up to 25 patients.”

The adult community services division is in the process of deciding which team will monitor the system’s dashboards, while both adult community and adult and specialist rehabilitation divisions will jointly identify patients to take part.

The initial TIHM research project was led by SABP, working with the University of SurreyRoyal Holloway University of London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Networkthe Alzheimer’s Society, local clinical commissioning groups, charities and ten technology companies.