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NHS England announces trials to upgrade self-care at home


22 January 2016

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NHS England has introduced major technology trials in order to reduce unneccessary hospital visits that will see dementia patients wearing sensors connected to household gadgets, and intelligence centres monitoring people at risk of a mental health crisis.

NHS England has introduced major technology trials in order to reduce unneccessary hospital visits that will see dementia patients wearing sensors connected to household gadgets, and intelligence centres monitoring people at risk of a mental health crisis.

Seven schemes launched today will see the NHS partner with technology companies like IBM, Philips, and Verily (formerly known as Google Life Sciences) in order to keep patients with long-term conditions healthy at home.

The first wave of test beds includes five health and care test beds and two ‘Internet of Things’ test beds. The sites will be spread across different areas of England, including the West of England, Surrey, Sheffield and Birmingham.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England explained: “Our new NHS Test Beds programme aims to cut through the hype and test the practical benefits for patients when we bring together some of these most promising technologies in receptive environments inside the world’s largest public, integrated health service.”

The results of the trials will be “rigorously evaluated” NHS England said, with the aim to roll out successful schemes and provide evidence to give more areas the confidence to adopt the innovations over the coming years.

The schemes are:

·      North East London will promote healthy ageing by evaluating combinations of technologies to help patients remain as independent as possible, for example with adevice that asseses falls risk and a social network app that offers peer to peer support.

·      Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale will work with Verily to analyse trends related to conditions like heart failure and lung disease to identity who would tele-health and offer these people a more personalised service.

·      Lancashire and Cambria will partner with Philips to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions and help the frail elderly and people with long-term conditions to self-care.

·      Sheffield City will look at the ‘perfect patient pathway’ for those with long-term conditions, avoiding crisis points that often result in hospital admission.

·      Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust will be offering people at risk of mental health crisis access to digital tools like online support, risk assessments and crisis intervention plans.

The two 'Internet of Things' test beds are:

·      The West of England Academic Health Science Network is partnering with Diabetes UK and Hewlett Packard Enterprise to bring together wearable sensors with household monitoring devices so that people with both diabetes types can self-manage their condition.

·      Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and technology providers will look at enabling people with dementia to stay in their own homes for longer. Individuals and carers will be provided with sensors and wearables to create an “internet of things” to monitor their health at home.

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