New app results in 25% fewer emergency hospital admissions from care homes

Using a new digital remote monitoring technology in care homes has been found to significantly reduce hospital and emergency admissions by 25%, according to a new study.

According to the research, which has been published in Age and Ageing, the new technology has helped reduce hospital A&E visits by 11% and emergency admissions by 25%. The technology, which comes in the form of a smartphone app and was created by Health Call – an NHS-owned digital company – provides a way for doctors and clinicians to review care home residents and offer guidance for their care.

silver Android smartphone

Experts involved in the research looked at the impact of using the Health Call app for 8,702 residents in 118 care homes across the North East of England between 2018 and 2021.

Alex Garner, a Ph.D. student at the Center for Health Informatics, Computing and Statistics at Lancaster University and first author on the study, said: ‘As the age of the U.K. population increases, finding solutions that improve care and quality of life for older people has become increasingly important.

‘The findings of our study highlight the potential of data-driven solutions such as remote monitoring technology to improve care through reducing emergency attendances and admissions to hospital. Care home staff also reported that using the app boosted their confidence in being able to identify possible deterioration earlier and support better management of illnesses before hospitalization is needed.

‘Our hope is that these types of digital technology will play a vital role in improving communication between health service providers in the future, benefiting both patients and the NHS.’

In addition to examining the benefits the app can have on hospital admissions, researchers also looked into cost. They found that use of the technology within care homes led to a price reduction for the NHS of £57 per resident in 2018, increasing to £113 in 2021.

Suzanne Mason, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Sheffield and senior author on the study, said: ‘By having the capability to link data recorded by care home staff to data from NHS services, we were able to evaluate the impact of using a novel digital monitoring technology such as the Health Call app. This study highlights the added value in capturing routine health data for research above and beyond that already being collected for the delivery of patient care.’

Image: Rami Al-zayat

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