A pioneering study that uses Howz’s technology to enable clinicians to remotely monitor the health of people with dementia living at home has received an extra £1 million in funding from NHS England and the Office for Life Sciences.
Howz, creators of home monitoring systems that record daily routine and identify changes for older people and their families, will see its technology trialled by up to 200 people with dementia and their carers as part of the initiative.
The award-winning TIHM (Technology Integrated Health Management) for dementia study is led by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and aims to identify signs of ill health early on in people with dementia so that they can receive prompt treatment and help.
Howz will be providing wearable health trackers and a network of smart devices which can detect high blood pressure, dehydration, routine activities, the possibility of urinary tract infection or any instances when a participant with dementia may have wandered from home. If the technology identifies a problem, an alert is flagged which will be followed up by the Clinical Monitoring Team.
The funding will pay for the second phase of the TIHM study which will launch in October. The initial phase was launched in 2016, received £4.4 million and involved 400 people with dementia and their carers. Early findings show a significant statistical reduction in neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with dementia such as depression, agitation, anxiety and irritability.
The study is part of the NHS Test Beds programme designed to harness the potential of digital technologies in providing care to improve the quality of life for patients and carers. It is also involves the University of Surrey and Alzheimer’s society.
Jonathan Burr, CEO of Howz, said:
“We are thrilled that our technology has been central to this study, and that the extra funding will allow research to continue. This project is of critical importance, not only for the people with dementia that it has helped already, but in what it signifies for the wider implementation of technology in healthcare. We believe technological innovation has the potential to ease the pressure on the NHS immensely.
Dr Helen Rostill, Director of Innovation and Development at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We are delighted this important study has been awarded additional funding to help us build on the successes achieved during the first phase of TIHM. We believe TIHM has the potential to transform care for people with dementia and also those with other long-term conditions as well as reduce some of the pressures on the NHS.
We are particularly proud of our pioneering work in developing machine learning algorithms to alert clinicians to signs of agitation and urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs are a top five cause of unplanned hospital admission among people in this group. We will further develop this work in phase two to improve early intervention and reduce people’s need for hospital admission.