By rolling out seven different projects using mHealth, telehealth, wearables and predictive analytics across the region, NHS officials believe they will be able to help millions of people access real-time healthcare resources straight from their home.
“Over the next decade major health gains won’t just come from a few ‘miracle cures,’ but from combining diverse breakthroughs in fields such as biosensors, medtech and drug discovery, mobile communications and artificial intelligence (AI) computing,” said NHS England Chief Executive, Simon Stevens, during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Three of the projects focus on mental health. In Birmingham and Solihull in the West Midlands, residents at risk of serious mental illness will be connected through an RPM platform developed by Accenture to crisis centres that can dispatch specialists in emergencies.
In Surrey in South East England, another project will use remote monitoring through the use of wearables to help dementia patients at home.
Meanwhile, in Sheffield in South Yorkshire, an “intelligence centre” launched by IBM, GE and a dozen other participants will use RPM to help people with mental health issues and chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and respiratory disease live independently.
The fourth project involves a remote monitoring programme for diabetics in West England, which is backed by HP.
In Rochdale, Heywood and Middleton in North West England, Merck and Verily, formerly Google’s life sciences division, will initiate a telehealth project that uses predictive analytics to target serious health issues in residents with chronic conditions like COPD and heart failure. The Long Term Conditions Early Intervention Programme (LTC) will combine electronic medical records (EMRs) with environmental and socio-economic data to predict which patients are most at risk of a health crisis.
In North London, Orion Health will join more than 10 partners in a healthy aging programme that includes online tools, a mobile device that assesses mobility, and a social media app to help elderly residents live independently.
The seventh project in Lancashire and Cumbria in North West England is backed by Philips and other companies who will work with local healthcare agencies to use online resources, including social media, to promote healthy aging and help frail elderly get any support they need at home.
These seven projects are seen as important in establishing whether such eHealth technologies could have a real impact on people’s lives.
“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,” concluded Stevens.