Surrey and Borders NHS Trust unveil IoT trial for dementia sufferers
Nearly all patients are willing to share their health metrics, collected from wearables, with clinicians, survey finds
Nearly all patients are willing to share their health metrics, collected from wearables, with clinicians, survey finds

Surrey and Borders NHS Trust unveil IoT trial for dementia sufferers

Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be put in patients’ homes to monitor wellbeing.

An NHS Trust is looking to recruit 700 volunteers to take part in a trial that will look at how the Internet of Things could help in looking after people with dementia.

The Surrey and Borders NHS Trust has obtained funding from the NHS England and Innovate UK to start a two-year project to explore how IoT could help people with dementia have more control over their health and wellbeing.

IoT for Good

The project is looking to demonstrate how the use of network-enabled devices such as monitors, robotics and wearables will be able to provide better healthcare for older people in the comfort of their own homes.

Using remote monitors, carers will also be able to look at the behavior of the person they are caring for without needing to be at their specific location.

Related: NHS to rely on mobile apps and wearables

The project will also be made up of 10 technology companies, including, whose virtual, personal assistant Molly is capable of providing tailor-made medical advice using advanced AI and speech recognition; Intelesant, whose product Howz is able to learn a dementia sufferer’s routine and thus detect any deviations from the routine that may lead to dangers; and Healtrix, who will provide an ‘Internet of Things’ Integration Hub, as well as an alerting engine that raises real-time alerts and a dashboard that allows for remote monitoring and analysis of data.

All information provided by these companies is then gathered and processed at the University of Surrey, where the data is digested and transformed into a ‘common language’ detailing a range of results taken from the people using the service. The insights and alerts provided by the devices will then allow healthcare staff to deliver more responsive and effective services.

Quality of Life

“I’m really excited that we have been given this opportunity to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their families,” said Fiona Edwards, chief executive of the NHS organisation.

“With a growing elderly population likely to experience long-term physical and mental health conditions, innovative new technologies such as those we are trialling through the Internet of Things project will help more people to receive the support they need to live well in their own homes.”

“It is also about improving responsiveness of the health and care system, providing support at an earlier stage and reducing the amount of time people spend in hospital,” she added.

The University’s project technology lead, Payam Barnaghi, commented that “The Test Bed will provide continuous monitoring and observation data in a secure environment and will provide mechanisms to extract information.”

“This, in turn, will support better and faster decision making for caregivers, clinical teams and support groups.”

Roger Bou, director of Internet of Things Solutions World Congress, told Internet of Business that IoT has the potential to allow patients with long-term and chronic illnesses to monitor themselves remotely in an effective way, without the need for intervention by healthcare professionals – barring emergencies.

“With healthcare providers increasingly under strain, this means patients would be allowed to leave hospitals and clinics earlier, as physicians are enabled to monitor them from home rather than keeping them in hospitals for observation. For those with long-standing conditions, this prevents or delays the need for costly long-term care in nursing homes,” he said.

“IoT also offers greater possibilities for friends and family to monitor patients suffering from conditions such as dementia. Wearable devices can ensure that the patient’s whereabouts are known at all times; carers can monitor the behavior of the patient even when they aren’t on site, and data can be sent to medical professionals for analysis without a face-to-face checkup being required.”

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