Right after discharge, there are patients needing special care and support during their recovery spell at home. Therefore, consideration of technology through the prism of healthcare, has ushered the tech firm Lillie into the area of public health.
In Dorset, county tucked in South-west England, architects of technology have closed-in on a novel and noble plan to help those with critical illness, such as joint pain, diabetes, dementia, prolonged Covid-19 etc. and also those who have been discharged from hospitals recently but who need to be monitored . Precisely put, premium sensors would be fitted in their homes alongside principle devices and such are designed to check on patients’ conduct as well as their dependence on specific electrical appliances to evaluate their health and well-being.
Inundated with AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology, the idea is being brought forth by Lilli, firm operational in UK and which it claims to be an economical affair to patients as frequency of care visits would be reduced drastically.
However, there are people who consider the scheme to be infringement of patients’ privacy too.
Mr. Nick Weston, chief commercial officer at Dorset, shares, “We’ll look at how often they put the kettle on, how often they open the fridge. Because we’re monitoring on an individual level, we would see small changes in behaviour.”
The devices (sans any camera) would record key factors, such as temperature, movement and frequent use of exclusive electrical items would be enough to guide to near-certain conclusion.
Mr. Weston plans to plant somewhere between six to nine sensors in patients’ homes.
Mr. Piers Brown, lead member for health at Dorset Council points out, ”It has the potential to improve provision across Dorset and our partner organizations in the NHS making sure we are able to support people safely in their own homes
The goal is to automate recording patients’ health improvement as they remain at home and also to notice any unexpected or unwanted condition that may indicate a problem. The firm plans to launch the project at more other places, one in North-east and one in South London.
Speaking to BBC, Mr. Weston put, ”we’ve got more people being treated in the community than ever before- technology has to support that delivery.”
For instance, if a person (a patient) occupies the bathroom for a number of times during the night time, such could be a symptom of urinary tract infection.
The firm is in full enthusiasm and hopes to complete the registration of participants by mid-September.
Further, the firm is of firm belief that it would bring down the care visits by a mammoth 780 hours which would save around £250,000 every year for Dorset Council.
This is telecare, i.e. technology meant for popular health, which is pretty economical and ensure wider liberty, as is seen by Prof Tom Sorrell, at University of Warwick, who is famed for much deeper knowledge in the field.
But he also rightly thinks, “it can increase people’s loneliness if what’s happening is care visits are being replaced by technology”.
Mr. Weston observes that the system is not entirely for cost saving and limiting contact with patients but also to ensure that they get optimum care as their health condition demands.
He said, “We shouldn’t be relying on home care agency staff to provide the social interaction for somebody”.
Privacy Dimension Surfaces:
The Lilli framework has made it clear that a written consent is from patients or from their guardians, who wish to participate in this pilot project.
When data would be transmitted from patients’ home, it will be in encrypted form and when would remain in this state while in storage and Lilli would grant access to patient care organization only.
Prof Anthea Tinker, King’s College London, said, “Participants and their families would have to consider how comfortable they were with this form of behavioural monitoring”.
She opined that many people would approve that their toilet visits are being tracked by a digital device and therefore, some patients might not hand out the consent letter rightaway.
She confirmed to BBC, “It’s an awkward balance particularly, I think, for people with dementia as to how far you go with things like this”.