Finding the right support to provide the NHS with the capacity needed

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Dr Jean Challiner, Medical Director for Medinet, outlines how the NHS must harness spare capacity from all corners of the health and care sector to meet this period of unprecedented service demand.


As has been made abundantly clear by the Prime Minister earlier this month, the NHS is suffering from a severe capacity crisis. In addition to emergency departments tackling the toughest winter on record, 7.21 million people are currently on an elective care waiting list and staff shortages are crippling service delivery.

The Prime Minister himself acknowledged that these trends existed prior to Covid-19 but the pandemic has escalated the problem beyond what the NHS is able to tackle without added support. “With so many people waiting longer and longer for elective care, patients’ conditions are worsening and becoming urgent for some,” reflects Dr Jean Challiner, Medical Director for independent healthcare provider, Medinet.

Dr Challiner stresses that for Medinet, who have a two decade history of providing dedicated ‘insourcing’ for NHS trusts to boost capacity, the time patients are spending waiting for treatment is having a drastic impact on their work. “We used to almost exclusively offer capacity in the NHS for low complexity day cases, but now the priorities within the NHS are very different, and there is a growing need for us to address more urgent and more complex cases.”

Medinet holds the country’s largest pool of expert clinicians across 20 different specialties, and supplies teams to provide additional clinical capacity to enable hospitals to meet waiting times targets and then work with them to ensure these are not breached. In the last 12 months, 170,000 patients have been seen and treated by Medinet’s clinical teams.

The fact that Medinet teams work in close conjunction with NHS clinical teams and within existing estates means that they can adapt their service offering to include more complex surgery when needed. This includes cancer surgery and other procedures that fall under the realm of specialised commissioning. Medinet’s large pool of consultants, often made up of part-time NHS doctors or recent retirees, can perform most procedures, although they rarely tackle acute emergency procedures.


Reforming the referral process

Beyond directly boosting capacity with additional staff, Medinet have looked to enhance NHS efficiency and bring down backlog figures by reducing time to referral for patients. With cataract surgery, (accounting for one of the largest elements of the elective waiting list with 600,000 patients waiting for a procedure) patients are now having to wait up to two years to have their cataracts assessed.

“We are seeing some trusts getting twice as many referrals in certain areas as before and you can’t instantly train the necessary staff to meet this demand in the short term,” says Dr Challiner. “Part of our process is to not only bring in additional direct expert capacity where required but also help enhance overall efficiency or perhaps deploy existing resource differently.”

Based on a study conducted with a customer in Scotland, Medinet consultants have recently put forward recommendations to bring down cataract wait times across England, particularly for low risk patients. The study set out to determine the suitability of community cataract referrals for a one-stop cataract surgery service and the target areas for referral refinement. The results of the study showed that waiting time was significantly reduced – an average of 30 weeks for one-stop patients. Approximately one quarter of referrals were considered suitable for the one-stop service and many more may have been suitable if there had been more information in their referrals.


Capitalising on system reform

While Medinet services are still primarily commissioned by individual NHS trusts, the development of integrated care and closer collaboration between individual providers could potentially create opportunities for Medinet to expand its service offering elsewhere. “There is a huge opportunity within ICSs to change the model of harnessing spare capacity and applying [it] to other parts of the system. ICSs must provide the framework for providers to break out of regional, professional and organisational silos and boundaries to alleviate the capacity crisis currently being faced by the NHS.

“As providers evolve their service offerings to meet new challenges, they must be able to highlight where new capacity where is required without fear of reprimand.”


Encouraging active dialogue

Under no illusions, Dr Challiner acknowledges that the Medinet model is not a magic bullet to NHS capacity pressures as there are fundamental obstacles that can restrict impact. “Operating within existing NHS estate allows us to work much closer with NHS teams,” she says, “but we face regular challenges with bed availability, as we cannot conduct day case surgery unless there are beds available for recovery if needed. We also often have difficulty in simply finding the space within a trust for Medinet to operate in work or having a trust staff lead on hand to provide trouble shooting assistance or can locate replacement equipment if required.

“We encourage trusts to highlight new ways in which we can boost capacity. We are seeing an NHS that is working tremendously hard, and we want to help them. Nothing is off bounds for us, to help tackle what is most important, so we need the NHS to talk to us, and engage in discussions to look for possible solutions that are risk assessed and will work.”

Medinet’s position as a capacity booster has placed it in a unique position to reflect on the various challenges that lie within the NHS backlog. Last year, the organisation released its Manifesto for Better, outlining how they plan on supporting hospitals across the country to support commitments to improve access to treatment, empower patient choice, and provide the capacity required in response to the growing backlog of elective services.

 

Featured, Health Inequality, News

Radar Healthcare report ranks UK second on overall healthcare equalities

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Report from Radar Healthcare shows Canada leading the way on overall healthcare equality, with the UK and other northern European Countries making up the rest of the top six.


A new Healthcare Inequalities Report, released by Radar Healthcare, has ranked 35 of the most developed countries around the world, offering a comprehensive insight into which of these countries offers the best healthcare rights to its citizens through their laws and regulations.

The report places Canada, the UK and Norway in the top three for global healthcare equality, with each generally offering fair and equitable access to healthcare for its citizens.

Radar Healthcare’s report also makes reference to a recent Public Policy Projects report, A Women’s Health Agenda: Redressing the Balance, which produced a series of recommendations aimed at improving the design, delivery and outcomes of women’s healthcare.

While the UK places well overall, the report ranks it number 1 for factors relating specifically to women, with Canada coming in second place.

Below is a snapshot of the report’s findings on maternity and paternity leave.


Maternity and paternity leave

The UK lags behind Denmark and Norway on the ‘paid maternity leave’ metric, offering 39 weeks of paid leave and 13 weeks of unpaid leave, compared with 52 weeks of paid leave in Denmark, while Norway offers 49 weeks of paid leave and 59 weeks of unpaid leave.

The report draws key distinction between paid and unpaid maternity leave; a high number of overall weeks of maternity leave may appear impressive but the degree to which this includes paid leave is highly consequential. For example, Italy offers 4 months of paid maternity leave and 17 weeks of unpaid leave, however, leaving a new mother without a salary for 17 weeks places them in a potentially vulnerable situation, perhaps leaving them more reliant on a partner or family for support.

On paternity leave, the UK scores poorly, scoring offering just 14 days of paid leave to new fathers, while Sweden offers 240 days, the Netherlands 182 days and Denmark 168 days. Germany, meanwhile, has no laws mandating employers to offer new fathers paternity leave, either paid or unpaid.

The lower provision of paid paternity leave is a key metric of gender-based healthcare inequality, since less leave for fathers places more of the burden for childcare on mothers, as well as limiting the valuable bonding time between a newborn and their father.

Further to maternity and paternity leave, the report assesses each country’s standing in regard to the following categories:

  • The legal age of consent – the age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual acts
  • Doctor / patient confidentiality ages – the age a resident can speak confidentially to a healthcare professional without parents/guardians being informed
  • Cervical cancer screening – what age they are recommended for women around the world
  • Mammogram screening tests – what age they are recommended for women
  • Flu vaccines – at what age is this offered to elderly residents around the globe
  • IVF treatment age range – how age impacts the chances of becoming a parent via in-vitro fertilisation in different countries around the world
  • Cosmetic surgery – at what ages someone can have a cosmetic surgery procedure
  • Transgender hormone treatment – at what age do healthcare practitioners in different countries allow transgender patients to start hormone treatment
  • Access to birth control around the world – (age requirements/costs/the countries offering free birth control)
  • Abortion laws – how they differ across the world

Commenting on the report, Hayley Levene, Head of Marketing at Radar Healthcare, said: “Radar Healthcare partners with organisations such as Public Policy Projects who are learning from experience (both their own and others) to make contributions to the policy debate which address real-world choices on the basis of real-world evidence.

“As a healthcare supplier, Radar Healthcare is passionate about helping to make a difference and delivering improved outcomes. Working with PPP to produce reports such as ‘The Social Care Workforce: averting a crisis’, ‘The Digital Divide: reducing inequalities for better health’ and ‘Integrating Health and Social Care: a national care service’ is vital in helping to drive change and improve some of these health inequalities.

“For example, technology could offer oversight that 80 per cent of patients or healthcare workers themselves are having suicidal thoughts – and this could prompt a process to be followed to tackle it, which will encourage decisions of change.”


To find out more, please visit www.radarhealthcare.com.

Featured, Thought Leadership

A view from the front line: the Emergency Department is in need of critical care

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Dr Mark Harmon, A&E Clinician and Clinical Entrepreneur at eConsult, shares his experience at the NHS frontline, and discusses the technology that could help protect the NHS.


As an A&E clinician working in the emergency department during the ongoing strike action, my first priority is the care of our patients. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that even without the ambulance strikes, Accident and Emergency departments are no longer just cracking at the seams. We’re at breaking point.

When I signed up to work in the Emergency Department (ED) because I wanted to provide urgent care to patients in critical – and sometimes life-threatening – conditions, I did not anticipate working for a department in need of emergency care itself. Although I feel incredibly passionate about my job, the scale of the challenges we face need more recognition, and immediate action.

At the start of each shift, I worry about how already burnt-out staff and overstretched teams and services are going to cope with the volume of patients flooding through – and waiting outside – the front doors. NHS staff are working tirelessly to care for patients – so where is the system failing?


Resurrecting patient satisfaction with the NHS

At the end of last year, it was reported that public satisfaction with the NHS has fallen to its lowest levels since 1997, according to analysis of the 2021 British Social Attitudes survey (BSA). Concerns over long waiting times (65 per cent), NHS staff shortages (46 per cent) and inadequate government funding (40 per cent) were cited as key reasons for this drop in satisfaction.

With ongoing funding disputes and consequent staff shortages, it is unsurprising that the top three priorities to drive improvement in satisfaction included making it easier to get a GP appointment, improving wait times for planned operations and increasing the number of staff in the NHS.

To drive forward these changes, there needs to be innovation and digital transformation of how we deliver the healthcare service we currently offer.

As it stands, one of the biggest issues we’re tackling in the department at the moment is flow. When the ED pipeline gets blocked, flow is impeded, a backlog builds up and waiting times get significantly longer, all of which has a huge impact on the clinical care we’re able to provide, our patients’ safety and staff morale.

The sad reality is that around 30-50 per cent of patients we see in A&E could be treated more effectively elsewhere – for example, via their GP or pharmacist, or in an urgent care centre.

If we’re to make any headway, we desperately need support in slowing down the flow of people into A&E. We are not discouraging people from attending the ED. Those in need of critical care should absolutely come and see us. Instead, the ED needs support in implementing technology, combined with deep clinical expertise that will help us to automate digital triage upon patients’ arrival.


Reducing patient flow into the ED

In practice, my vision for a safe Emergency Department is one whereby patients can document their own symptoms on arrival at the ED via an iPad at the entrance and that way, we can prioritise the treatment of patients based on clinical need and reduce the flow of traffic into the waiting room. Technology now plays a vital role in rebuilding patient and emergency staff satisfaction, but most importantly ensuring people who need urgent care can get it quickly.

Gathering a patient’s history upfront, in their own time, not only means they can be automatically routed to the right resource, but the time-consuming task of taking the history from every patient, one question at a time, is done in advance. The case summary emergency staff receive through this process means they move from ‘history takers’ to ‘decision makers’, ultimately reducing waiting lists, and speeding up the patient journey.

To make this vision a reality, we need to introduce better safety measures for the long term.

Right now, working in the ED, I can see that there is a clear challenge with how patients are being triaged. To solve the problem, we desperately need clear and concise guidance that directs those in need of support to the right point of care.

Our ED waiting rooms need support in adopting this digital triage technology to correctly signpost patients to the right place, at the right time. Patients need to be guided as to when they need to attend the ED, or whether they can get help from a pharmacist, GP, or self-help tools.

Whatever we do, we need to eliminate queues at the front door, and identify those sick patients early, in order to maintain quality of care, which in turn will improve flow and working conditions for front line staff. This will help with restoring morale, and staff retention so that front line staff are not forced to strike to have their voices heard.

Featured, Thought Leadership

Accessibility, interoperability, and personalisation: the three pillars for the future of digital primary care

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Mike Fuller explores why accessibility, interoperability and personalisation are the three pillars for the future of digital primary care.


The NHS defines digital systems as the foundation upon which it builds a modern, efficient, and responsive health service. With innovation within the healthcare space ongoing and everchanging, the role of digital technologies is going to be crucial for the very future of healthcare provision in this country.

More funding is being provided to healthcare to drive these innovations. The NHS England London Digital First Programme, for instance, has a funding opportunity to pilot automation solutions within primary care. It will be funding automation grants of up to £65k and is encouraging all pilots/projects across London’s Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) to apply.

The long-term success of primary care across the NHS is more than simply dependent on investment, however. If it is to thrive in the future, primary care needs to reset and rethink its role within the wider healthcare ecosystem, and redesign what it means and does.

With this in mind, it has become clear that the future of digital primary care will be driven by three key pillars: accessibility, interoperability, and personalisation.


Making healthcare more accessible

Over the next two years, in particular, the key driver of digital primary care will be a concerted focus on making healthcare more accessible. It is anticipated that there will be a wider digital response to the consumerisation of health and care, with increased service accessibility and service user inclusion using telehealth for appointments, consultation, prescription refills, and mobile access of records.

The sheer range of apps on offer may be confusing to some patients, so to overcome this, it is expected that there will be some aggregation apps emerging in parallel to the general proliferation.

Accessibility will also be extended to more regionally-led packaged services for discrete patient cohorts, with more frequent use of virtual hospital ward and remote monitoring with wearable 5G connected devices for those who need or want it – and can afford it.

Funding this change will inevitably be a challenge, of course. The commercial and cultural hurdles are probably just as big for integrated care boards (ICBs). These boards will want to unlock more primary care data to better manage distributed patient risk and service provision for preventative and personalised care across the wider health economy, especially for public health use.

Healthcare institutions will need far more than just ease of data access, however. They will need the standards-based interoperability capabilities promised by a universal adoption of the latest editions of HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources®, with widely fed repositories and standardised reporting.

The NHS will need to enforce the use of these standards, because today some industry stakeholders have only ticked the box of ‘compatibility’, and several have not understood or implemented adequate clinical safety compliance for the DCB0129 and DCB0160 clinical risk regulations.


Delivering proactive change

Scrolling forward five years into the future, ICBs will need to decide how they can help primary care fund change management and digital transformation, with a need for structural changes that fund both primary care provision and digital systems.

Unfortunately, the current batch of periodic data transfers and application interfaces are “too passive.” The information provided is scanned “paper behind glass”, amalgamated records that need human interpretation and action, or simplistic robotic automation processes that save people’s time but automate bad processes. Moving forward, what’s needed is end-to-end process interoperability to automate care proactively and intelligently. This will close the gaps in services and stop people falling through them.

Today, the overheads of separate point-solutions make purchasing decisions easier, with quick-wins and immediate gratification for their direct users. Yet the valuable data generated by these siloed interactions dissipates. Such disconnected systems create a whole iceberg of problems below the waterline that is in danger of being ignored.

To see more transparency, interoperability, and automation within digital primary care, the multiple regional stakeholders across ICBs must think in whole-system terms, with shared access and outcomes that span the patient, service users, and care professionals’ experiences. Every service is responsible for a patient’s care, especially those in their care circle, and so must be on par with acute and primary care funding and management.

This is starting to happen with the creation of the ICSs and has been recently evidenced by the redesignation of the P of integrated care partnerships (ICP) to now mean ‘place’, as in ‘place of care’.

There are also good examples of regional thinking such as regional waiting list triaging, and discussions for regional virtual wards for Ambulance Service patients in transit. Elsewhere, artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly being used in numerous scenarios. From analysing patient-generated data from wearable and medical devices, and the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease using image recognition, to facial analysis for ADHD, stress, and pain management. All these examples will provide better patient experiences and outcomes – and save money. And they exist now, albeit it small pockets.

To scale such innovation and sustain digital transformation in healthcare we need to connect the operational systems and use the ‘exhaust data’ generated by their workflows to teach machine learning and AI to ensure objective, informed, and timely decisions are made in the entire chain of care.

This must be accomplished with the transparency required to ensure human oversight and processes to avoid the all-too-prevalent, but overlooked, biases present in AI’s machine learning data, algorithms, and the robotic process automation it can enable.

This connectivity and governance will not be easy to achieve but there are grounds for optimism. There is every reason to believe that the larger, better funded, and visionary primary care regions will be able to achieve these advances in the next five years, provided they are willing to ‘flip the iceberg’ and fully integrate with the whole health economy in which they play a pivotal role.


Looking a decade ahead to a world of personalised healthcare

When it comes to ten years from now, recently published insights suggest that “personalised, precision medicine” could be on the horizon. While it may take more than a decade for wide adoption to occur, digital primary care can make a start with gender, age, and demographic aligned diagnosis and care pathways with measurable more effective medicines.

The future may even witness GPs using augmented reality visual tools supplemented by artificial intelligence and rich clinical decision support systems to diagnose patients faster and more accurately.

By extension, they could then automatically and easily publish that diagnosis with a personalised care plan based on the patient’s epigenetics, lifestyle, and agreed compliance to their approved care circle and patient support groups.

These kinds of fundamental digital changes are all very much in the offing over the next decade. However, to make them happen, it is crucial for the sector to reset and rethink the role of primary care in the NHS with its funding, and redesign what primary care means and does. That’s starting to happen today and so this positive vision is, all the time, beginning to look more like a viable future reality.


To find out more, please visit www.intersystems.com/uk/

Mike Fuller, Regional Director of Marketing, InterSystems
Featured, News

First ICS rolls out award-winning healthcare communications app  

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Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System (ICS) has become the first UK care system to make an award-winning communication app available to all its care providers to help tackle health inequalities. 


The CardMedic app, designed to improve care for patients who face a communication barrier, is now available to all health and care services in the mid and south Essex area.

The ICS states that more than 35 per cent of people have additional communication needs, which can be due to language, visual or hearing impairment, cognitive impairment, literacy, or other reasons. Communication barriers can contribute to healthcare inequalities, which the newly formed ICS aims to tackle.

“Communication is the first key barrier to health equity and, until you solve that, you can’t move forwards,” said Sarah Haines, Head of Patient Experience and Engagement for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.

“Our medical colleagues in the Intensive Care Unit and elsewhere have been excited about using CardMedic, especially the British Sign Language and easy-read options. I’ve been blown away by the potential that CardMedic holds to improve patient experience and safety. It provides people who have struggled to fully participate in their care to be involved in shared decision making with clinicians. Working at ICS level means we can improve communication across multiple settings, enabling more and more people to access the standards of care that they deserve.”


“It helps us to get the simple but important things right.”

Rhona Hayden, a lead out-of-hours nurse at the Trust, and her team, have used the app since May to reduce communication barriers between patients and healthcare professionals, such as language or hearing impairments.

She said: “We have the app downloaded on our tablets and phones and it’s very helpful, especially out-of-hours where we often have to wait for a translator,” she says, explaining that she previously had to rely on picture boards or Google Translate, which are slow and unreliable.

“It helps us to get the simple but important things right, such as not being comfortable in bed,” she adds. “We also use it to make explanations clearer to patients’ families.”

As important stakeholders within the ICS, charity groups have been instrumental in defining how the app can be used to improve patient care. According to Sophie Ede, Chief Executive Officer of Hearing Help Essex, the CardMedic app could be a real “game changer” for improving the accessibility and equity of care across the region.

“One in six of the adult population have hearing loss and acquired hearing loss is most commonly age-related, arriving at a time when people can start to experience many other health conditions” she says.

“All healthcare services have patients with hearing loss, even if the patient themself doesn’t know it,” she explained. “It can be very difficult for people with hearing loss to keep up with what’s being said, especially in an emergency situation.”

Attending A&E can be more challenging for people with hearing loss, as they may not understand what the receptionist, healthcare or allied healthcare professionals are asking. Procedures, such as an emergency c-section, can be even more stressful for people with hearing loss or a language barrier, as they can’t understand what’s being said.

The CardMedic app supports instant translation during consultations and treatment, using a mobile device or tablet. After beginning the roll-out at the Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust hospitals, the ICS will move software deployment into primary care and community-based health settings.

The digital platform hosts a rapidly growing A-Z library of nearly 800 pre-written scripts, replicating conversations between healthcare staff and patients on healthcare topics ranging from obstetrics and maternity to end-of-life care and emergency situations.

The content can be flexed at the point-of-care to different languages, sign language videos, easy read with pictures, or read-aloud. An integrated translation tool supports conversations beyond the content of the scripts.

Dr Sophia Morris, System Clinical Lead for Inequalities, Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System, said, “Being able to ensure all our residents can experience equity of access to healthcare is at the heart of narrowing the gap in health and care inequalities in mid and south Essex. This app will ensure that those who need help communicating and accessing essential services can feel more confident of getting the help and care they need.”


 

Featured, News

Purple AI: Creating Efficiencies with ‘Intelligent Healthcare’

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Manchester-based technology company, Purple, is playing a vital role in the digitalisation of the NHS and wider healthcare system with its innovative ‘Intelligent Healthcare’ solution. Gavin Wheeldon, Chief Executive Officer, discusses the smart technology so desperately needed to create efficiencies.


2022 was undoubtedly another year of weathering the storm, as political instability, the cost-of-living crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine delayed the UK’s post-pandemic recovery.

But for the nation’s NHS and healthcare systems, the storm has been raging for some time, and will continue until drastic action is taken. Spending on healthcare has increased, with core sums expected to reach £176.4 billion for 2023/25 and many are calling for extra funding to be released.

A big injection of cash, however, looks unlikely. Budgets across the UK came under scrutiny as 2022 drew to a close, with tax hikes for all and significant cutbacks due. The government has promised to protect the NHS from such cuts and this is welcome news to many within the healthcare sector, but this alone won’t save it.


The tech making a difference

What the healthcare sector so desperately needs is to free up budget without cutting crucial corners – and at Purple we do just that by using intelligent technology to create significant efficiencies for healthcare institutions.

While it might sound complex, Purple’s smart solutions are actually incredibly simple and deliver ROI and real, meaningful value by increasing day-to-day productivity, reducing loss or misplacement of product, and improving patient experience.

Purple’s new service app, ‘Intelligent Healthcare’, is proudly at the forefront of digital innovations in the healthcare industry. With vital services ranging from real-time location for healthcare employees, digital wayfinding for patients and asset tracking on medicine and products, Intelligent Healthcare provides the most comprehensive, flexible and proven solutions. Our vital tech allows healthcare providers of all sizes to easily adapt their existing tech to meet the growing needs of their patients and speed up processes in the meantime.


Creating efficiencies in healthcare

Purple’s digital wayfinding tech

According to the UK government, increasing employee productivity by just five minutes could save the NHS £280 million a year, yet each nurse spends the equivalent of 40 hours per month searching for equipment. Bridging this gap is our digital wayfinding tech. Combined with the wider Intelligent Healthcare solution, this asset tracking and navigation tool not only allows health experts to monitor and track exact locations of vital equipment, but also provides direct navigation routes to ensure swift and efficient access to these items at all times.

Alleviating unnecessary stress for employees will be crucial for the sector to recruit and retain staff, whilst enabling employees to offer the very best service, achieve job satisfaction and meet rising demands.


A smooth transition for nurses

In September 2022, NHS nurse vacancies reached an all-time high of almost 47,000. In the same breath, NHS agency spend also increased by 20 per cent, according to Nursing Times. With this comes a real influx in temporary (and new) workers flooding into hospitals and healthcare environments. To relieve the mounting pressure on these individuals – and the teams they’re supporting – it’s vital that they have the tools they need to hit the ground running and truly fill the skills gap that is widening every day in the healthcare sector.

Medication Asset Tracking

A smooth transition is made much easier with Intelligent Healthcare. Hospital buildings and healthcare facilities can, for example, be situated in extremely large buildings which are easy to get lost in – and more recently, emergency facilities have been popping up in new and unfamiliar locations to tackle Covid-19. With the Intelligent Healthcare app, however, healthcare bodies can provide staff and visitors with access to a map of a building and it even allows the user to plot routes to specific locations.

Purple’s LogicFlow alerts also ensure alternative routes are always available in periods of high emergency and it allows immediate and real time communication direct to a users’ phone, for example, ‘if x happens, do y’.

For patients, the technology could save lives. If a monitored patient leaves a specific area – or geozone – an SMS message will be sent to the senior nurse. Six in ten Alzheimer’s and dementia patients tend to wander, and here is just one of many invaluable applications of this technology.


The future of healthcare is digitalisation

Giving the NHS the best possible chance means embracing digital innovation. Taking the small but necessary steps will enable vital transformations and help the NHS overcome the growing number of hurdles.

With a record high of 7.1 million people currently waiting for hospital treatment in the UK, it’s with no doubt that the NHS and wider healthcare systems need end of the line help – and digital transformation is the first step in this journey. Purple are wholly dedicated to making our smart tech solutions work hard for the healthcare sector, to help fill the gaps in the system. If we can go even some of the way in supporting the sector on its road to recovery, we will have been successful.

By making simple changes to improve digital processes, healthcare organisations boost output, increase efficiencies and speed up operations – and completely overhaul the sector in the process.


This article was kindly sponsored by Purple.

To find out more, please visit www.purple.ai/solutions/intelligent-healthcare/

Featured, News

Dementia UK bolsters support for families ahead of anticipated rise in helpline contacts 

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Specialist dementia nursing charity launches the ‘I live with dementia’ campaign to support people affected by the condition in one of the charity’s busiest months of the year.


Dementia UK’s Helpline, staffed by dementia specialists from Admiral Nurses, saw a 17 per cent spike in calls, emails and appointments between December 2021 and January 2022 as families reached out for advice and support following the Christmas period.

With data also showing that January was the Helpline’s second busiest month of 2022, Dementia UK is calling on the public to download its free ‘Living with dementia’ guide which contains vital practical and emotional advice, life hacks, information and top tips.

The charity’s specialist dementia nurses, people living with dementia and their families and friends have shared their expertise on a number of topics including diagnosis, coping with behavioural change, family dynamics and finding care options.

Data from Dementia UK’s Helpline in 2022 revealed that almost two fifths (38 per cent) of calls, emails and other contacts were from individuals seeking advice on accessing support for dementia. A further 36 per cent of contacts were from people seeking advice on understanding dementia or getting a diagnosis for the condition.

Dementia is a huge and growing health crisis. There are an estimated 944,000 people living with dementia, set to rise to more than 1 million people by 2025, and the condition is currently the leading cause of death in the UK.

Dementia UK will also be raising awareness of its free Helpline and virtual clinics through a nationwide advertising campaign between January and March 2023. The campaign has been designed to focus on parts of the country where there is a demand for more support for people with dementia, and encourages people to reach out to Dementia UK’s Helpline, virtual clinics and its team of over 400 specialist dementia nurses.

Dr Hilda Hayo, Chief Admiral Nurse and CEO at Dementia UK, said: “If you love someone living with dementia, you’re living with it too, and we understand the challenges that individuals and families face every day. We’re launching this campaign as we know people often reach out to the dementia specialist nurses on our Helpline and clinics after Christmas. In January 2022, we saw a 17 per cent increase in contacts on the previous month.

“We want to let families living with dementia know that they are not alone. The ‘Living with dementia’ guide contains practical and emotional support, and is an extension of the fantastic work carried out by Admiral Nurses on our Helpline, clinics and online resources.”


The Dementia UK Helpline is staffed by experienced Admiral Nurses, who give vital support by telephone or email. Alternatively, you can book a free video or phone appointment at a time that suits you to get expert dementia support from an Admiral Nurse. Find out more at dementiauk.org/book-an-appointment.

For advice or support on living with dementia, contact Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline on 0800 888 6678 or email helpline@dementiauk.org.