Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella has praised a technology that’s being used by a Dumfries and Galloway housing association to prevent falls in elderly residents. Nadella made the comments during his keynote speech at the ‘Microsoft Future Decoded’ conference in London last week.
Earlier this year, Loreburn Housing Association became the first social landlord in Scotland to pilot new wearable technology – known as ARMED – that predicts the potential risk of falling for its sheltered housing customers.
ARMED, which has been developed by care management technology company CM2000, involves a wearable device that can detect early indicators of frailty, such as low grip strength, muscle mass, hydration levels, low heart rate and heart rate variability. It combines this device with pioneering predictive analytics modelling – developed in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University – which uses health and social care data to predict escalating risk of a potential fall.
The results of the pilot study, which involved 26 Loreburn customers aged 60-90, have shown that not only have there been no falls in any of the participants, they have also become more active and involved in their own self-management.
“Cutting edge technology needs to be available to non-profits, charity organisations who can also deploy it and reap the benefits,” said Nadella.
“This is what we have seen with Loreburn Housing Association. I had the chance to learn what they were doing, but more importantly what the technology provider CM2000 is doing to help with the epidemic of falls among the elderly.
“If we think about it, falls can lead to fatalities, but even if it’s not a fatality, one of the challenges of an elderly person falling is the healthcare challenge that then ensues. The best way to deal with this is to have preventative care, delivered through sensors, wearable technology that works through machine algorithms.”
Moira Charters, Loreburn Housing Association’s head of improvement and innovation said: “Loreburn were absolutely delighted to hear Mr Nadella praise the innovative approach we have taken to help prevent falls amongst customers in our sheltered housing.
“With falls currently costing the NHS in Scotland almost half a million pounds a day, ARMED has the potential to save the public purse substantial sums of money by alerting staff, carers and family to intervene to help prevent falls before they happen. This is particularly timely as we approach the winter season when the pressure on the NHS across the country begins to escalate. The more we can do to keep our customers living independently at home for longer, the better for everyone.
“Following our successful pilot, we are now rolling out ARMED to all customers within our sheltered accommodation with the aim of helping them live independently for longer, and significantly improving their wellbeing and quality of life.”
Brian Brown, CM2000’s Director of Scotland, and the driving force behind the development of ARMED, said: “It was encouraging to witness our falls prevention technology being used as a case study to outline how opportunities and technology must to be adopted and utilised to deliver digital transformation outcomes. With an aging population and increased pressure on health and social care resources, it’s more important than ever to invest in preventative technology.”