A digital tool has been developed in Greater Manchester which helps care homes to track Covid-19 and coordinate care with GP practices, social care and hospitals.

Developed with tech company Safe Steps, the platform allows care homes staff to input information about a residents’ Covid-19 related symptoms into a tracker, which can be shared directly with the resident’s GP and NHS community response team to ensure that a swift assessment and response can be put in place.

It also means that the NHS can more closely monitor how care homes are doing across the locality thanks to a visual dashboard that displays the information at an aggregate level.

Tameside and Glossop was the first locality to roll out the technology. Health and care teams are now able to proactively support the health and wellbeing of more than 700 residents across 25 care homes in the locality, looking out for signs of Covid-19 and taking action.

The solution has been developed as part of a partnership formed by Health Innovation Manchester, which includes the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, Tameside Council, local GPs and Safe Steps.

Martin Vernon, consultant geriatrician and clinical director at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Covid-19 care homes data tracker provides real-time information to clinicians about the status of patients, supporting proactive care for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Clinical teams in Tameside and Glossop are now using the dashboard to optimally support care homes and their residents during the pandemic.

“The tracker will streamline and speed-up this data collection – making it possible to access a real-time dashboard which will help us make the right strategic decisions at pace.”

Further developments are also planned as part of the wider digital care homes package, such as enabling staff to monitor and flag signs of deterioration early on, based on the national RESTORE2TM clinical assessment (Recognise early soft-signs, Take observations, Respond, Escalate.)

Safe Steps managing director, James Chapman, added: “Being able to play a small part in the NHS response to the current crisis is both humbling and motivating at the same time.

“I’m really proud of my team for stepping up to the challenge, but we also know the real heroes are the NHS workers on the frontline – we are just trying to support them.”

There has been a flurry of digital health activity on the Greater Manchester region, including the deployment of the GM Care Record for all 2.8million people.

Powered by Graphnet’s CareCentric shared record software, the platform collates information held by different health and care providers to ensure that doctors, nurses and practitioners providing care and treatment can see up to date medical records, medications and test results.