NHS dementia patients to trial wearable technology

eLucid mHealth and the Business Growth Hub secure NHS contract as part of the first wave of innovation technology test bed sites

People with dementia are set to trial wearable technology to enable them to live independently for longer.

Manchester-based eLucid mHealth has teamed up with the Business Growth Hub, part of Manchester Growth Company (MGC), to secure a contract with the NHS as part of the first wave of innovation technology test beds.

The test beds project enables us to test our technology for the first time in a real-world setting

The test beds project is part of the Technology Integrated Health Management (TIHM) scheme, which will initially be rolled out as a collaboration between Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and health technology providers. It will provide dementia patients and carers with sensors, wearables, monitors and other devices with the aim to give individuals more independence.

All devices interconnect and continuously monitor medication levels and timings through a facial recognition app. This information is relayed back to carers and clinical health professionals to allow them to monitor a patients’ medication and flag possible issues, enabling them to deliver tailored and responsive care. Remote dispensing devices will address the £350m problem of patients not taking their medication, which can lead to further health issues.

According to research from the Alzheimer’s Society, more than 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK today and the organisation predicts that the number will rise to over one million by 2025. Dementia affects people of all age ranges, but mainly those over 65, with sufferers developing short-term memory problems, communication issues, and confusion in new environments.

The project will allow people with dementia to live in their own homes for longer and give them the ability to take control of their own health, while keeping in touch with effective services, GPs and carers on a regular basis.

From the outset, the team from eLucid mHealth needed some financial and marketing support and turned to the Business Growth Hub. They worked with business growth adviser, Yousef Taktak, on a business strategy within the medical technology market, including targeting the NHS supply chain. Taktak also referred eLucid to a number of contacts within the hub partner network, including Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network, to help with expert consultation in order to understand patient care needs and business finance solutions (BFS), for funding.

One of the biggest healthcare issues of today is the need to improve efficiency and effectiveness of patient-centric care and digital technology is set to play a major part in transforming the delivery of accurate medication and wellness solutions

BFS, also part of MGC, provided the firm with a loan of £49,000. This funding allowed eLucid to kick start its programme and recruit key staff to fulfil relationships with the NHS and healthcare companies across the world.

Graham Howieson, co-founder and chief executive of eLucid mHealth, said: “One of the biggest healthcare issues of today is the need to improve efficiency and effectiveness of patient-centric care and digital technology is set to play a major part in transforming the delivery of accurate medication and wellness solutions.

“eLucid mHealth was founded in October 2013 to develop medical adherence solutions to improve patient safety and aid wellbeing. The test beds project enables us to test our technology for the first time in a real-world setting. We are confident that the trials will provide dementia patients with more independence, resulting in a cost-effective outcome for all stakeholders.”

Taktak, business growth adviser from the hub, added: “Helping to put together strategies and connecting with experts is essential to this project as it can shape the nature of the technology provided, ensuring it delivers the most-effective solutions. The idea is for the systems in place to be user friendly and accurate to aid carers and GPs, to understand the issues that each patient faces on a daily basis, and to create a tailored programme of care.

We are confident that the trials will provide dementia patients with more independence, resulting in a cost-effective outcome for all stakeholders

“eLucid has a range of products capable of making a significant improvement in the quality of life experienced by patients across the UK. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the company as it continues to implement expansion plans, here in Manchester.”

And Ian Stewart, Greater Manchester Combined Authority lead on business support and finance, said: “One of the keys strands of the Greater Manchester Strategy is providing integrated advice, guidance and support for local companies to survive and grow. This is a great example of young and innovative company utilising that support to win a significant contract in this increasingly-important sector.”

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