NHS Highland looks to tech to help reduce Covid-19 spread in care homes

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NHS Highland is looking to deploy technology in care homes which aims to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.  

The Scottish health board together with Highland Health Ventures and Wyld Networks are hoping to instal the technology which uses an app on smartphones and geozones, software-based virtual walls surrounding the care home.

The software decides whether visitors and staff can or cannot enter the facility based on peoples’ health status and level of risk.

Once inside the care home, the technology monitors and alerts social distancing between staff, visitors and residents. Also, heat maps are generated in real-time to visualise areas where social distancing is being inadvertently broken.

Changes can then be made to the building layouts, routines and room occupancy numbers. In the case of an outbreak of the virus, those at risk can be informed and scheduled for testing within the NHS.

Frances Hines, research, development and innovation manager at NHS Highland, said: “NHS Highland is interested in implementing many new measures to support care homes to help protect residents and staff and assist in preventing the spread of Covid-19.

“We are now seeking to bring together innovative technologies to deploy in care homes who wish to participate in supporting these actions.”

The technology is currently being developed by Wyld Networks and the first care home to use it, which is expected to be from October, will be Castlehill Care Home in Inverness, led by Highland Health Ventures under the guidance of NHS Highland.

Alan White, a director of Highland Health Ventures, said: “We have successfully implemented new innovative technologies into the healthcare system in Scotland, and believe that deploying this new solution from Wyld Networks will go a long way to help prevent further outbreaks of the virus not only in care homes, but also in business in general to help get people back to work safely and re-boot the economy.”

Technology in care homes was discussed in a recent edition of the Unplugged podcast. The podcast looks at the use of technology in connecting people with loved ones during the pandemic, as well as the importance of shared records and digital solutions in improving care offerings.

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