A new NHS initiative to help reduce injuries sustained by older people as a result of falls has been launched in the East Midlands.
Led by the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), the project aims to identify and monitor those at risk of falling and provide preventative measures using technology.
Infrastructure for the project will be delivered by Yorkshire-based firm InHealthcare, which has won a place on a framework agreement that will cover 4.6 million people.
Inhealthcare, alongside other firms involved in the project, will provide a range of applications and devices designed to assess patients who are at a low, medium and high risk of falls.
This includes re-purposed sports science technology created for athletes to measure mobility and gait.
Similar technology is currently being used by the Community Falls Team at Pendle Community Hospital in Nelson, Lancashire.
According to statistics from Public Health England, falls are the most common cause of death from injury in the over-65s and cost the NHS more than £2 billion a year.
The risk of being injured by a fall increases as a person gets older, and it is estimated that around 30% of adults over 65 fall each year.
Bryn Sage, chief executive at InHealthcare, said: “Falls can be devastating for individuals and often cause the loss of independence and increased isolation.
“Our technology can be used to gather and help analyse data to identify who is at risk of falling and then help prevent them from suffering these catastrophic events.”
The initiative also aims to give people who have suffered from falls or are at risk from falling manage their conditions at home and help them live more independently.
Empowering older patients has been identified as a potentially significant money-saver for the NHS, with recent research from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (iMechE) suggesting that Britain’s Health Service could save billions of pounds each year by adapting homes to suit the needs older people.
Sage added: “We strongly believe in the region-wide approach to digital health which empowers patients, supports over-stretched staff and increases capacity and productivity.”
Initially, the programme will be run by the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP).
Andrea Baker, falls programme manager, said: “We are excited by the potential improvement in prevention and care for the portion of our population at risk of falls.
“The ability to rapidly engage with suppliers while ensure value for money is important to delivering effective service transformation.”