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We are delighted to be shortlisted for a Nursing Times award in the Technology and Data in Nursing category.

We are shortlisted along with ten other submissions and chose to submit our Digital Care Home project in County Durham and Darlington. The project was a collaboration between Health Call, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and County Durham Care Partnership.

The project was rolled out to support electronic referrals into community health and primary care services, but also to support remote monitoring of residents.

Before COVID-19, the plan was to roll out the Digital Care Home solution out over a two-year period. The pandemic sped up this as activity was accelerated and achieved within 14 months.

The care home product has also been updated so that care home staff can safely share wound images with clinical staff. These are automatically uploaded to the patient’s record so clinicians involved in their care can all access them.

The results of the project were:

  • 30 per cent reduction in community nurse visits
  • Hospital admissions were reduced by 3.4 per home every month• Over 4,000 residents registered on the system
  • Over 30,000 referrals made
  • Estimated cost saving to the system of £8million in reduced hospital stays
  • Easier for care providers to make quality referrals
  • Reduced time for care staff spent on the telephone, frees up their capacity to deliver direct care
  • More effective and efficient use of local health staff resource, with better prioritisation of workloads
  • Improved care for the resident / service user
  • Establishing a baseline of what is normal for the resident / service user
  • Identifying early signs of deterioration
  • Care providers and residents can continue to access remote health support
  • Reduction in the spread of infection

Since the project was rolled out in 2020, with support from the Academic Health Science Network – North East and North Cumbria, the product is now being adopted in other parts of the region with South Tees, Gateshead and South Tyneside all taking the solution. They are all now in the process of rolling out the solution so there will be over 400 care homes across the region connected to local NHS services.