How Smart Home is taking shape


Simon Bond

Category: Assisted Living Action Network, Events, Networking, News

The most recent ALAN networking event was on 26 November 2015 at Engine Shed, Bristol. 40 delegates from a wide range of sectors attended this event.

Professor Ian Craddock, Director of SPHERE gave an enthralling presentation called “The doctor will see you now” in which he examined the role of new technologies in a future data driven healthcare system.  SPHERE is a £12 million project funded by the EPSRC, researching into the technologies that could be deployed to monitor the health of people in their homes. The idea behind data driven healthcare is to detect characteristics of the person using sensors and relate particular characteristics to clinical conditions and then to deliver an appropriate intervention. For example if the sensors detect that a person has had a fall in the kitchen an alarm is raised and help will be sent to the home. Data is collected from various sensing technologies and sent into “the cloud” for analysis and storage.

Professor Craddock described three technologies being investigated in the SPHERE house; video monitoring, wearable devices and indoor positioning. Each of these technologies produces complementary information about the person in the home which can be related to the state of health. The various sensors can give information about gait, breathing, heart rate, temperature, mobility and room occupancy. This information can then be linked with other data such as electricity and water usage to give a wider view of how people use their home, which will be used to help detect changes related to health. The use of many sensors in a home will produce vast amounts of data which will need to be analysed autonomously and significant events flagged and reported. The SPHERE project is at the forefront of a health revolution, using sensing systems in the home to monitor health.
To date, the data generated has been from one house, dedicated to the SPHERE project but there are plans to create 100 SPHERE houses by 2018 to investigate issues around scaling up data collection and analysis. In the future the doctor could see and act on information collected 24/7 from sensors around the home leading to greater efficiently in the management of health problems and reducing the number of visits to the GP.

Following on, Jo Hudson from Bristol Community Health and Cees van Berkel form Philips Research gave an overview of the ‘supported self-care’ project which was funded by Philips and the West of England Academic Health Science Network and was run at the Lennard GP Surgery on Bristol. With the demand on healthcare increasing from an aging population with multiple morbidities and an increased pressure on A&E departments, the project aimed to empower patients and improve their experience and outcomes by increasing their knowledge, skills, confidence and sustain behaviour change.
The project ran through a ‘self-care’ hub which was made up of technical and clinical staff with a selection of self-care technologies to suit the patient’s needs. These were; Motiva, a personal health channel for monitoring vital signs and transmitting to the hub; Flo, a text messaging service for reminders and reinforcement messages and uMotif, an app with features including a health diary, medication reminders and graphs.

Initial results show a reduction in A&E attendances and unplanned admissions for those that participated (50% in Motiva group), a reduction in primary care activity levels, largest in the Motiva group and an increase in patient activation levels, largest in the Flo group. Reports of high patient and clinical satisfaction were recorded, one patient said “It’s made me more aware of my own condition, I’ve learned to read the signs and able to judge when I need to contact someone.”
The report on the results of the project will be released soon.

Professor Lars Sundstrom from the West of England Academic Health Science Network brought the evening to a close with a short update on the West of England AHSN activities and the work they are looking to do around Innovation Procurement Partnerships.

View the presentations from the day

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