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Technology that creates dementia friendly homes receives regulatory approval as healthcare providers line up to pilot system

Technology that creates dementia friendly homes receives regulatory approval as healthcare providers line up to pilot system

An award winning technology system developed by the NHS, academia and industry to help people with dementia live well for longer at home has received CE mark approval.

The TIHM (Technology Integrated Health Management) for dementia system combines digital devices and artificial intelligence to remotely monitor a person’s health and provide clinicians with a continuous assessment of their wellbeing.  

 Sensors monitor activity, devices track vital signs such as blood pressure, hydration, and temperature and Artificial Intelligence detects changes in behaviour and possible signs of infection.  If the technology identifies a person is unwell, an alert is flagged on a digital dashboard and followed up by a centralised monitoring team.

TIHM for dementia has been developed by mental health trust, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with the Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing at the University of Surrey and smart home monitoring provider, Howz. The Alzheimer’s Society is also involved in the collaboration.  

The system’s approval as a CE marked medical device by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) means it can now be marketed to healthcare providers across Europe looking for a better and more targeted way of managing the health of people with dementia living independently in their homes.

In the UK, there has already been a surge of interest in the pioneering system and pilots are about to begin with Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and GPs in Middlesex.

Pioneering machine learning algorithms have been developed as part of the TIHM system to identify if a person has a urinary tract infection and if they are becoming agitated or aggressive. Urinary tract infections are a top five cause of hospital admission among people with dementia.

TIHM is designed to reduce pressure on the healthcare system as well as improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers. One in four hospital beds is occupied by a person with dementia.

Professor Helen Rostill, Director of Innovation, Development and Therapies, at Surrey and Borders Partnership, said: “Our clinicians have worked closely with the technicians at the University of Surrey and the team at Howz to create this pioneering system and we are delighted it has now received CE mark approval. We know from independent research the positive impact TIHM is having on people’s lives. They feel safer, better supported and more confident about being able to stay in their homes for longer and this is improving their sense of wellbeing.  In the future, we believe we will be able to adapt TIHM further to also support people with other healthcare needs.”

Professor Payam Barnaghi, Professor of Machine Intelligence at the Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing at the University of Surrey, said: “People with dementia and their carers, like most, want to live  in their own homes for as long as possible. We believe TIHM provides people them with the support they need to be able to do this. It also has huge potential to significantly cut hospital admissions from preventable illnesses, such as a urinary tract infection.”

The TIHM for dementia system is part of the NHS Test Bed Programme led by NHS England and the Office for Life Sciences. It was launched as a randomised control trial involving more than 400 people with dementia and their carers from across Surrey and North East Hampshire in 2016 and completed in March 2018. Participants were involved in the £5.2 million trial for six months.

Independent research conducted by the School of Health Sciences at the University of Surrey showed people testing the TIHM technology experienced a sustained and significant reduction in neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with dementia, such as depression, agitation, anxiety and irritability. In addition, qualitative data showed the technology provided carers with ‘peace of mind.’ The positive outcomes led to the launch of a second, smaller phase of TIHM for dementia in April this year to refine the range of devices deployed in homes and to further develop the algorithms.  This will be completed at the end of July 2019.

The NHS Test Bed Programme brings together NHS organisations and industry partners together to test combinations of digital technologies with pathway redesign in real-world settings.  The goal is to use the potential of digital technologies to positively transform the way in which healthcare is delivered for patients and carers.

Howz Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Burr, said: "Working with the NHS and academia to develop an effective, sustainable and evidence based tool to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers is a top priority for Howz. The results show the huge potential that TIHM has and we are delighted to be involved in this pioneering work."

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Case Study: 

Phillip Bell and his wife June have been involved in testing the TIHM for dementia technology in their home in Surrey since the start of 2017.  Phillip Bell, who is 69 years old, cares for his wife, who is 76 years old, who has Lewy bodies dementia. 

Here, Phil, provides an insight into the impact of the technology on their lives:  “The objective has been to stay in our own for as long as possible and TIHM helps us to achieve that.  If we didn’t have the technology, we would start to panic.  As June’s health has deteriorated, she has become susceptible to picking up more illnesses so having the support of TIHM is even more important.  In terms of our quality of life, we feel TIHM helps us to stay at home with more confidence.

“Most of the devices in our home are in the background collecting information and we use some on a daily basis to record blood pressure, blood oxygen, temperature and weigh and hydration.  We had an incident recently when we had just taken all the daily measurements and within an hour we got a call from the TIHM Monitoring Team who said we think June has got a urinary traction infection, can you contact your GP. We called the surgery and a paramedic came within an hour, confirmed the diagnosis and prescribed anti-biotics.  So within a few hours of that initial call, the diagnosis had been confirmed and June was on anti-biotics - which was brilliant. You just think, wow, how does that work? June had only recently come out of hospital after being treated for pancreatitis when she went down with the urine infection – so it made me feel relieved because to have gone back into hospital after she had just come out would have been a nightmare so we were very relieved she was treated at home.

Often with this illness, June would be ill late at night and we would end up going to A&E. At one stage, we went five times in five months. But we haven’t been to A&E since we’ve had TIHM – which is incredible.”

Awards won by TIHM for dementia

    • HSJ Awards 2018: winner of the Improving Care with Technology category
    • NHS70 Parliamentary Awards for the south of England 2018: Winner of the  NHS Future category 
    • ehi awards 2017: Winner of Best Mental Health initiative 
    • HSJ Value Awards 2018: Runner up and highly commended in the ‘Use of Information Technology to Drive Value in Clinical Services’
    • Innovate Guildford Innovation Awards 2018: Winner of Most Outstanding Innovation

 Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is the leading provider of specialist mental health and learning disability services for people of all ages in Surrey and North East Hampshire and drug and alcohol services in Surrey and Brighton. We also provide social care services for people with a learning disability in Croydon and autism assessment services across Hampshire. Our high quality care focuses on enabling people to live well with their conditions and to work towards recovery. To do this we employ over 2,400 people across 39 sites.

The Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing's (CVSSP) research spans computer vision, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, audio-visual signal processing and medical imaging pioneering ground-breaking technologies for healthcare, security, entertainment and autonomous systems.

Howz is a smart home system designed to help older people stay independent for longer.  Howz learns a person’s daily routine and uses this to detect short term anomalies and long term changes.  Based in Manchester Howz works with EDF Energy and other corporates in the UK, USA, Europe, Hong Kong and Australia.

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