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National award for use of pioneering technology in care homes

Published November 30, 2020 11.35am


Ground-breaking digital technology created specifically for use in County Durham and Darlington care homes has been recognised with a prestigious national award.

Health Call Digital Care Home

Health Call Digital Care Home

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT) and us worked with local care providers and North East based Health Call Solutions to design pioneering new technology which allows the results of checks carried out on residents in homes to be accessed instantaneously by health professionals.

Health Call Digital Care Home has now achieved success in the national HSJ 2020 Patient Safety Virtual Awards 2020.

CDDFT and us are members of the County Durham Care Partnership (CDCP) through which they work with County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Darlington Borough Council and other health and care providers to develop system-wide integrated models of care.

The partners worked with Health Call Solutions, an NHS owned organisation which designs, develops and implements digital health solutions for both patients and their health providers.

The result was technology that allows care home staff to digitally share the results of their resident observations, such as blood pressure and heart rates. Health care professionals can then review and link this information to the resident's electronic patient record.

The technology helps identify patients who are deteriorating, before it becomes obvious, in time to offer support and involve medical professionals.

It also reduces the time that staff in homes spend on the phone, which means they have more time to deliver direct care to residents.

The technology is in use in 113 care homes for the elderly across County Durham and Darlington.

Health Call Digital Care Home won the Best HealthTech Solution for Patient Safety category, beating competition from across the country in the awards which recognise safety, culture and experience in patient care.

The project was recognised for its ambition, visionary spirit and the demonstrable positive impact that it has had in care homes across County Durham and Darlington. 

"Truly collaborative approach"

Cllr Lucy Hovvels MBE, our Cabinet member for adult and health services, said: "We are delighted at winning this award in recognition of the success and impact of the Health Call Digital Care Home system across our health and social care sector. This new technology was developed through a truly collaborative approach with local care homes and it provides a safe and effective method of sharing key health information about our care home residents with clinical staff."

CDDFT has worked with Health Call Solutions for several years using technology to benefit patients across a range of specialties.

Catherine McShane, project manager for Health Call at CDDFT, said: "I am absolutely thrilled that Health Call Digital Care Home has won this award, which reflects the hard work and collaboration of all involved. Sometimes an elderly patient might start to become unwell slowly and gradually, with no very obvious signs to cause concern. This technology flags results outside the normal range for the individual patient, with the local nursing team, and this early intervention means residents receive the support they need early, reducing the number of hospital admissions. We're delighted that it's now being used in so many care homes across County Durham and Darlington."

"Fantastic example of multidisciplinary work"

Dr Stewart Findlay, chief officer at County Durham CCG, said: "County Durham CCG is absolutely delighted to hear about this award and it is well deserved recognition of the hard work and innovation those behind this technology have brought to our care homes. It has dramatically changed our ability to safely manage and monitor residents remotely. This has turned out to be particularly valuable during the current pandemic."

Michael Laing, director of integrated community services at the CDPC, said: "The award recognises the strong partnership working in County Durham. We have used our combined strengths and skills across the County Durham Care Partnership to care for our most vulnerable residents. This recognition will encourage us to go even further to use technology to become more effective and streamlined."

The HSJ judges said: "This is an excellent entry, addressing a key patient safety issue in linking care homes with acute care, and exemplifying the benefits for patients in connecting professionals via timely and relevant information. It is a fantastic example of multidisciplinary work that has resulted in enhancements to both the patient and professional experience, as well as the widespread embedding of national standards. Overall this project demonstrates how patient safety and care can be maximised in a setting that is facing very challenging times."