Leading new technology drive to modernise care for patients with long-term health conditions

The Sheffield City Region has today (22 January 2016) been announced as one of seven national Test Bed innovation centres to take part in a major new drive to modernise how the NHS delivers care

(Read more detail on the background / plans for the SCR Test Bed here)

patient and doctorTest Beds are new collaborations between the NHS and innovators including the University of Sheffield which aim to harness technology to address some of the most complex issues facing patients and the health service.

Successful innovations will then be available for other parts of the country to adopt and adapt to the particular needs of their local populations.

The ‘Perfect Patient Pathway’, as the Sheffield City Region Test Bed will be known, aims to bring substantial benefits for patients suffering from long-term health conditions, such as diabetes, mental health problems, respiratory disease, hypertension and other chronic conditions.

New technology coupled with new ways of delivering care will be used to keep patients with these conditions well at home, often avoiding the need for hospital admission or further support.

A range of home-based monitoring devices and smart phone apps will mean patients can be supported to understand their condition and how they can manage it at home.

Data received from these devices will then be collated and interpreted in an integrated intelligence centre to assess individual patient wellbeing and anticipate changing demands and patterns of care requirements in long-term conditions both at patient and at a regional level, enabling a timely and effective response.

The ‘Perfect Patient Pathway’ Test Bed involves more than 30 partners including the University of Sheffield, the region’s NHS, Social Care, Industry and Voluntary organisations.

By using new technology, the intention is to keep patients with these conditions well, independent and avoiding crisis points which often result in hospital admission, intensive rehabilitation and a high level of social care support.

It will include monitoring falls risk, tracking locations for people with dementia as well as sensors in the home, for example, on televisions, kettles and fridges to monitor mobility, nutrition and general wellbeing.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield said: “The University’s role as a lead evaluator of the technology and system change is critical not only to ensure the Test Bed improves health in our region, but also provides good economic value.

“A flagship for the Sheffield City Region’s Care 2050 initiative, it demonstrates our ability to deliver the technologies and systems necessary for affordable and sustainable future healthcare.”

The Test Bed innovation centre is just one initiative in the pioneering Care 2050 collaboration led by the University of Sheffield. Care 2050 is a Sheffield City Region-wide initiative which is developing a visionary pipeline for providing and producing innovative solutions in health, wellness and social care.

Sir Andrew Cash, Chief Executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Perfect Patient Pathway Test Bed is a fantastic way of bringing together the region’s health and social care providers with a number of technology and research organisations. By utilising this expertise we will be able to share data and plan, in partnership with patients, the best way to deliver care to people with long-term conditions based on their needs using the latest technology to support this.”

Initially the Perfect Patient Pathway will focus on people with three or more long-term conditions, the vision of the programme is to create a model that will support holistic care for people, irrespective of age or condition, and that will be available across the country.

John Mothersole, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council, said: “As one of the main social care providers in the area, we are always looking at how we can improve the care and support that is delivered to people. A major part of this will be adopting new technologies and this test bed will allow us to work together with industry experts to provide individualised care and help keep people well in their own homes.”

Colin Lewry, Partner at GE Healthcare Finnamore said: “We look forward to using our knowledge and expertise to work with health and social care providers across the region to revolutionise the way care is delivered to people in their own homes and in the community through the use of new technology.”

Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive described the Test Beds as a key strand of the NHS Five Year Forward View, which will help realise the ambition of reforming the NHS so that it is fit to face the challenges of the 21st Century – particularly an ageing population and an increase in patients with long-term health conditions – while remaining financially sustainable.