How Care City is embracing innovative technologies to improve the lives of the older population.

How Care City is embracing innovative technologies to improve the lives of the older population.
posted 06 September 2016

Technology is ever advancing, constantly changing, updating and driving innovation. For the younger generation it’s relatively easy to keep track, but for many older people it is often overwhelming and they are being left behind.

However, the proportion of the older population embracing technology is steadily increasing. Recent research suggests the percentage of recent internet users aged 75 and over was 19.9% in 2011, which has nearly doubled to 38.7% in 2016. For 65-74 year olds 74% are recent internet users[1]. Furthermore, 50% of 55-64 year olds, the older generation of tomorrow, now own a smartphone, with ownership in this age group having more than doubled since 2012.

One of the ways we can support the older generation to embrace technology is in relation to the management of their health. Many assistive technologies are becoming digitalised and there are now numerous technologies on the market to support older people to stay safe and healthy in their own homes. However, it is unclear which of these technologies provide the most effective solution to meeting the needs of the older population, and should therefore be scaled and implemented across the NHS.

Care City Innovation Test Bed

The NHS Five Year Forward View, set out the intention to develop a small number of ‘test beds’ to evaluate the real world impact of new technologies offering both better care and better value for taxpayers, testing them together with innovations in how services are delivered.

Frontline health and care workers in five areas were selected as national Test Beds in early 2016 to pioneer and evaluate the use of innovative approaches. The two year programme aims to work with frontline health and care workers to pioneer and evaluate novel combinations of innovations to help people to stay well. Successful innovations will then be available for other parts of the country to adopt and adapt to the particular needs of their local populations.

Care City was selected as one of five national Health and Social Care Test Beds, and the only one in London. Care City is a healthy ageing innovation centre jointly founded by NELFT and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The Care City Innovation Test Bed is a system wide collaboration that aims to improve the wellbeing and resilience of older people with long term conditions, older people with dementia, and carers across four London boroughs – Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest – to promote healthy ageing across a million-strong population in North East London.

The Test Bed seeks to test a combination of devices and software alongside new approaches to service delivery and patient participation to assess whether we can increase independence, enhance self-care and improve carer resilience for our population in a measureable and sustainable way. By bringing together innovators with the health and care partners in North East London, Care City marks a step-change away from the traditional approach of isolated technology pilots to a shared, system-wide approach to evaluation and spreading new ideas.

Care City have clustered 9 innovations around three thematic challenges presenting the highest level of need in the patch:

Cluster 1: Older people with LTCs

  • Example - Kinesis, a device which assesses falls risk and mobility.
  • Expected Outcomes - to accelerate self-efficacy, and support better outcomes and patient safety through earlier identification of risks and better management of LTCs.

Cluster 2: Older people with Dementia

  • Example - My Brain Book, a personalised online tool delivering facilitated support to people with dementia. It puts people with dementia at the centre of decisions about their care.
  • Expected Outcomes - to reduce isolation for individuals through peer networks, support patients to receive more appropriate care through patient led support plans and reminiscence tools and encourage greater participation in dementia research - accelerating research findings into practice.

Cluster 3: Carer resilience

  • Example - Canary Care, an online monitoring and notification system which aims to provide round the clock reassurance to family members whilst allowing older or vulnerable people to stay at home.
  • Expected Outcomes - to maximise independence and increase resilience through remote monitoring of real time activity inside and outside the home, and enhanced access to services which can support care givers.

Assessing the impact…

A team of embedded researchers and health economists will work within Care City to provide a formative evaluation of the adoption and impact of the 9 innovations intended to promote healthy ageing and use linked data sets l to support the evaluation and adoption of innovations.

Care City will be demonstrating their combinational innovations and sharing their progress alongside the other test beds at the Health and Care Innovation Expo 2016, which is being held in Manchester next week.

Claire Stidston, Principal Consultant at PPL, is currently managing the delivery of the Care City test bed.

For more information about Care City and their innovation test bed partners visit: http://www.carecity.london/work-programmes/innovation


[1] https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/itandinternetindustry/bulletins/internetusers/2016

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