Test beds

The Test Bed Programme was commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement to bring NHS organisations and industry partners together to test combinations of digital technologies with pathway redesign in real-world settings.  The goal is to use the potential of digital technologies to positively transform the way in which healthcare is delivered for patients and carers.

Seven Test Beds are testing new innovations to tackle some top health and care challenges as part of the second phase (Wave 2) of this programme.

Case study: Technology Integrated Health Management (TIHM)

People with dementia in Surrey and North East Hampshire are benefitting from an innovative three-year project that uses cutting edge technology to enable them to live in their own homes for longer. The project is led by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with the University of Surrey and industry partner, Howz.

Individuals and their carers are being provided with sensors, wearables, monitors and other devices, which combine into an ‘Internet of Things’ to monitor their health at home. The information from these devices help people take more control over their own health and wellbeing by enabling health and social care staff to deliver more responsive and effective services. The Test Bed has also developed algorithms which can detect deterioration earlier to enable more timely interventions.

The project aims to prevent, or delay, the need for costly long term care in nursing homes. It also aims to reduce the need for unplanned hospital admissions or GP visits, helping to take the pressure off other NHS services. In the long term it is hoped that this approach will improve the care and quality of life for vulnerable patients while helping to save the NHS money.

A randomised control trial involving more than 400 people was used to test theTIHM for dementia technology. The results highlighted that those who received the technology experienced:

  • An Improvement in symptoms – a statistically significant and sustained improvement in dementia symptoms such as anxiety, agitation and depression.
  • Better ‘peace of mind’ – qualitative evidence indicated an increased peace-of-mind, reassurance and confidence among people with dementia and their carers.
  • Earlier detection – monitoring through new technologies led to the identification of previously undiagnosed (or latent) health conditions among participants, including urinary tract infections and agitation.

TIHM for dementia has been further refined following feedback from participants in the first phase of the study.TIHM is to be piloted by Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Surrey County Council and GPs in Middlesex. More information on the TIHM for dementia study in Surrey and North East Hampshire can be found here: www.sabp.nhs.uk/tihm.