Fab news as care home technology project receives national award

A new initiative that links up care homes with GP practices using the latest technology has received an award from the leaders of an influential independent website specialising in NHS innovation.

It has now been shortlisted for two national awards.

The scheme was launched in March using £272,000 funding.  It has scooped July’s “5127 Award” from the Academy of Fab Stuff.

The award is for innovative use of technology and the project will now be entered into their annual FabAwards.

The project has seen eight care homes in North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent provided with a specialised medical trolley with an iPad attached, loaded with Skype and self-monitoring equipment. These are then linked to an extended network of primary care specialists, meaning quicker and easier access to expert advice.

Dr Anil Sonnathi, Clinical lead for the project, said: “Because we have an ageing population, demand for services from the care home sector has grown rapidly. If a care home has concerns about a patient, they often want advice as soon as possible. If they can’t get it, they may feel they need to call 999. This can be very unsettling for the patient and often leads to A&E admissions that aren’t necessary.

“Innovative use of this type of technology delivers significant and measureable improvements in outcomes for nursing home patients, especially those in more remote locations. It is something we are leading on here in Staffordshire, which is why we are particularly pleased to receive this recognition.”

Helen Lingham, CEO of the company that runs St Michael’s Care Home in Stoke-on-Trent, said: “We are excited to be part of this project which will bring improvements in access to care and work place efficiencies for residents, home care staff and GP practices. 100% of our residents have signed up to be part of this technological support which is fabulous.”

Local GP, Dr Raju Valasapalli said "This video consultation facilitates the best use of resources and reduces travelling time for both clinician and patient. This use of technology will be a future method of patient management and I am very pleased to be involved in the programme."

The annual FabAwards event takes place on Thursday November 23.

The project has already been shortlisted for an award by The Royal College of General Practitioners as part of their Bright Ideas programme. Those awards will be judged in September.