NHS to trial how smart meter data could benefit dementia patients

The Government has recently announced that the NHS will be running a trial to access how data from smart meters could help monitor dementia patients at home.  

Because smart meters monitor household energy use in real time, the devices will be able to track patients daily routines, such as when they boil a kettle, cook dinner or turn on a washing machine.

From this, the technology will be able to flag up any sudden changes, which could indicate an illness, a fall or a decline in their mental state. The meters will then be able to send alerts to family members or carers, who can as a result go and check on their patient’s welfare.

The aim of the trail is to enable patients to live independently for longer without going into care, thus preventing avoidable admissions to A&E. To date, an estimated 50,000 dementia patients are admitted to A&E each year as a result of preventable illnesses.

The NHS trial will commence this year following a successful, initial trial conducted by computer science experts at Liverpool John Moores University.

Dr Carl Chalmers, of Liverpool John Moores University, said: “This is probably the most convincing piece of technology I have seen. This is massive; the potential of this is huge. It’s not just for dementia but anybody with long-term medical conditions such as depression or schizophrenia.”

Moreover, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), said: “Being able to monitor a patient at home with their consent shows how innovative technologies enabled by smart meters can improve many aspects of our lives, not just our energy use.

“This kind of technology has the potential to change someone’s quality of life, and their families’ lives, for the better by helping patients with long-term conditions stay at home and remain independent for longer.”

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