Client story Pioneering UK project uses AR technology to slash waiting times
Pioneering UK project uses AR technology to slash waiting times in social care settings
A council in Devon has become the UK’s first to trial immersive, AR technology to reduce demand on health and care services.
Devon Training Hub, part of the NHS in south-west England, has partnered with Insight Enterprises(NASDAQ:NSIT) – a leading Solutions Integrator – to accelerate its digital journey by supplying caregivers with Microsoft’s HoloLens headsets, which combine the real world with the digital world through a transparent visor.
The trial demonstrated two significant ways that the technology could enhance the care that patients either in home care settings or in permanent residential placements could receive. Firstly, if a caregiver suspected a health issue, which they were not trained to assess or diagnose, they were able to instantly connect to a more qualified or experienced member of staff, delivering quick assistance to the patient.
Secondly, the ability to bring registered nurses and clinicians onto a virtual call, via the HoloLens headset, removed the need for on-site visits. This reduced the time to deliver assistance and meant caregivers felt more confident in making decisions remotely.
Demand for social care services has increased significantly over the last few years, largely due to an ageing population. According to recent figures1, there were 1,775 people receiving home care support in Torbay last year, with a further 949 in permanent residential placements. Provision of adult social care in the region is delivered by 3,5002 people and while the vacancy rate in the region (7.3%) is better than the national average (10.7%), a third (33.8%) of people still choose to leave their jobs each year.
The increased demand, coupled with a skills shortage and the high staff turnover, puts added pressure on services that help get people out of hospital, resulting in delays to discharge, and affecting the number being admitted in the first instance.
“Often people are looking for a silver bullet for ‘substitutional’ technology, replacing humans with tech when there’s a resourcing shortfall. What we’re doing is looking at technology and asking how it can enable people to perform better, enjoy their work more and provide even better outcomes for patients, clients and staff. Working with Insight, and listening to the reactions of those using the tech, we have answered those questions and the benefits of using mixed reality headset technology have surpassed our expectations.”
John Bryant, Integration Lead – Social Care at Devon Training Hub, and Head of Integration and Development at Torbay Council
“This is a truly transformational project that demonstrates how effective digital solutions can be when used in the correct way. Leveraging our understanding of Microsoft HoloLens technology, the locality is leading the way in revolutionising care provision in the UK. Individuals receiving care will get equipment faster and care givers can feel more confident in the quality of the information they are giving clients.”
Phil Moore, Digital Innovation Lead - Public Sector at Insight
Following the success of the pilot, Insight and south-west partners have developed a network of local champions, providing them with materials, knowledge, skills and confidence to run awareness and end-user training sessions that will expand the use of HoloLens in the region.