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We’re part of a research team that has shown a healthcare app used in care homes has reduced the number of residents admitted to hospital by 25%.

The research was carried out through the Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) Better Care programme, a collaboration involving Durham and the universities of Sheffield, Lancaster and Newcastle. 

The researchers set out to investigate the benefits of using digital technology for remote health monitoring within care homes. 

Technology and health 

The team analysed the impact of using the Health Call app for 8,702 residents in 118 care homes across North East England between 2018 and 2021.  

Health Call is an NHS-owned digital company that developed a smartphone app that can be used by care home staff to monitor and manage the long-term health of residents by recording daily observations.  

By linking routinely collected NHS secondary care data from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust with data gathered within the care homes, the team showed that using the Health Call app reduced the number of attendances to A&E by 11% and unplanned emergency admissions by 25%.  

Care home staff also reported that using the app boosted their confidence in being able to identify possible deterioration earlier and support better management of illnesses before hospitalisation is needed.  

In addition to assessing the impact on hospital attendance and admissions, the research team also performed a cost analysis.  

They found that use of Health Call within care homes led to a cost reduction for the NHS of £57 per resident in 2018, increasing to £113 in 2021.  

Data-driven solutions 

The research has been published in Age and Ageing - the official journal of the British Geriatrics Society. 

Its findings highlight the potential of data-driven solutions such as remote monitoring technology to improve healthcare. 

The researchers hope that digital technology such as the Health Call app will play a vital role in improving communication between health service providers in the future, benefiting both patients and the NHS. 

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