A pilot programme has underlined the transformative potential of technology following a healthcare trial that significantly reduced unnecessary GP appointments, 999 calls and specialist team visits for vulnerable patients while cutting hospital appointments by 80%.
Conducted by SCC, Europe’s biggest independent IT solutions provider, and South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT), the pilot represents a practical demonstration of the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enable greater numbers of vulnerable patients to be cared for in their own homes – maintaining dignity, independence and control.
The project – a finalist at last week’s prestigious Health Service Journal Value Awards – has been delivered by Stratford’s ground-breaking Digital Hub, a first-of-its-kind in-house facility enabling clinicians to work alongside technologists on the design, build, testing and implementation of front line solutions to real world healthcare challenges.
In a UK first, the partners deployed a system utilising wearables and passive sensors in the home – MySense – to enable 24-hour monitoring and a targeted response from healthcare teams across a selected group of vulnerable patients.
Recording thousands of data points in each individual’s home, the MySense application learned the daily habits and key responses of every patient, enabling it to both monitor key clinical data and alert a network of health organisations, carers and families of any adverse events, enabling timely preventative action.
Delivering a highly significant reduction in the burden on health professionals, hospitals and care homes in the post covid environment, the joint SCC and SWFT deployment achieved immediate results, including a 58% reduction in GP appointments, 53% reduction in 999 calls and a 43% reduction in unnecessary visits from place-based teams.
The pilot, initiated in May 2020, opens the door to more effective deployment of specialist teams, ensuring patients that need services can access them when it counts.
SCC is working across the NHS to create and deliver transformative IT solutions to enable better outcomes for patients through the provision of digital healthcare. Key to this strategy is helping NHS Trusts and associated stakeholders change their behaviours and help redesign care pathways.
MySense is revolutionising the delivery of digital healthcare through sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) and helping bridge the gap between NHS Trusts and integrated care systems across the UK. A preventative rather than reactive care solution, MySense is providing valuable insight which helps patients remain independent and supported in their own home for longer, which in turn frees up hospital beds and reduces admissions to A&E.
This initiative is the first innovation sprint from the new Digital Hub, built in partnership between SCC and SWFT. The hub enables clinicians to perform on-going trials of new technologies to demonstrate practicality and validate improvement. Most notably, the hub will help to accelerate the deployment of cutting-edge digital care solutions into the NHS and integrated care teams.
With SWFT having invested significantly in its digital transformation journey in recent years, it now faces the challenge of reducing the backlog of patients caused by the COVID-19 pandemic by keeping patients healthy at home and reducing hospital interactions where possible.
Glen Burley, Chief Executive at SWFT, said: “It is great that we are able to work with MySense and their deployment partner SCC to develop technology that will enhance the care our clinicians can provide.”
MySense collects data related to daily living, using a combination of discreet sensors, a wearable and a MySense home hub. AI constantly analyses the data to create a unique profile of what is ‘normal’ for each individual and presents the insight through a simple dashboard. If the patient’s data patterns stray outside of normal – based on factors including hydration, mobility, nutrition, independence and general wellbeing – it is flagged on the dashboard and support staff are notified. Such insight helps care staff prioritise those who are most vulnerable.
Elaine Martin, Dementia Clinical Practitioner at the Trust, said: “Using the data collected through MySense, we are no longer carrying out unnecessary visits, and when we do check in, we know what to focus on. It’s another set of eyes for us. Our carers feel more supported and use the data to ensure the right care and support is being offered at the right time.”
With access to predictive healthcare for the first time, NHS Trusts can safely discharge more patients to home by providing 24/7 monitoring of wellbeing, free up domiciliary care capacity through remote 24/7 risk management and reduce normal hospital demand by facilitating preventative care.
Dan Cartter, Head of Innovation at SCC, said: “This first sprint from the new Digital Hub is extremely exciting and is working exactly as designed. SCC brings at-scale access to customers, deployment and support capabilities through our national services capability. If we can deploy this technology at scale across the NHS and integrated care systems, we believe we have an opportunity to radically transform the way healthcare is delivered digitally.