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The current coronavirus crisis has rapidly changed the way the majority of us live and work, no more so than in the health and social care sector. Shielding and social distancing is throwing up huge challenges in an industry where human interaction is key.

As a result of this pandemic, solutions are having to be conceived and implemented quickly and the role technology can play in this has really come into its own.

Brian Brown is Director of ARMED at HAS Technology and a member of the Interface Strategic Board. Prior to joining the HAS Group in 2009, he worked as a Social Work Manager within older people’s services for 13 years, developing a passion for using technology to support quality services to end users. 

In August 2018, Brian originated the concept of the ARMED prevention solution. ARMED (Advanced Risk Modelling for Early Detection) combines pioneering predictive analytics modelling with innovative wearable technology and health and social care data. Developed in recognition of the growing importance of prevention and self-management - something that is all too imperative in these uncertain times - ARMED identifies risks (including the risk of falling) earlier in the care cycle, empowering people to remain independent in their own homes for longer.  

Indeed, over the past several months keeping people safe in their homes, while in isolation, has been the main priority for the health professionals in charge of their care. With many vulnerable people leading largely sedentary lifestyles over the past three months, how can professionals track the potentially negative impact of these changes without regular support visits?

This is where ARMED comes into its own. By giving the wearer, and those connected to them, access to real-time data and analytics, it empowers individuals to maintain their own health and wellbeing, secure in the knowledge that they are safe and connected.

An initial pilot scheme conducted at Loreburn Housing Association found that in the first six months, zero falls were reported from residents who were part of it. For those using ARMED, it was able to pick up signs of dehydration, weight loss, restless sleep, muscle wasting and reduced grip strength - all of which have been identified as clinical trends in deteriorating health.

In order to help, HAS Technology has been offering a three-month free trial of ARMED, which has seen significant uptake since COVID-19. The launch of ‘ARMED out the box’ comes shortly after official advice to health and social care professionals in the UK to switch to remote interaction where possible. This is designed to limit the spread of the virus whilst still maintaining access to vital support services, and further underlines the importance of health and social care services having a strong digital infrastructure.

The ARMED machine learning models have been remodelled in order to capture data from the wearable device only during the current COVID-19 epidemic and thus minimise service user contact but maximise the ability for stratifying risk.

This pandemic has brought to light just how technology could hugely reduce the burden on healthcare professionals, while strongly supporting the concept of ageing well and preventing further health issues. Solutions like ARMED have proved their mettle during this time and moving forwards, it seems like technology has a huge role to play in health and social care reform.

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Read our case study on how Interface supported the development of ARMED through experts at Edinburgh Napier University and the Digital Health and Care Insititute (DHI).