Wearable epilepsy technology could save NHS £250M

The NHS is being urged to consider new technology investments that could help improve epilepsy treatment and save the organisation as much as £250 million every year.

As part of Purple Day, myCareCentric Epilepsy consortium is seeking to equip the UK’s population with wearable technology to record health data to help clinicians build a tailored record of epileptic patients’ condition and seizure patterns.

The consortium is made up of Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Kent, System C & Graphnet Care Alliance and Shearwater Systems, with funding provided by Innovate UK.

The myCareCentric Epilepsy programme equips patients with a wearable device to help self-manage their condition. The wearable collects data and has the potential to learn to classify seizures; alert alert clinicians and carers in real-time so they can consult patients remotely; and provide lifestyle recommendations and drug prescriptions.

Since launching in 2016, myCareCentric Epilepsy has seen patients report a three-week reduction in response to seizure notification time, an 80% cut in how long it takes medical professionals to respond to individuals and 30% fewer admissions to hospitals. This reduction in seizures could save the NHS £250 million every year, as well as cut the number of outpatient appointments.

Up to one in 100 people in the UK are thought to suffer from epilepsy, making up 3% of all accident and emergency visits and a total of 1.3 million days in hospital every year. Existing medication only works for up to 70% of sufferers and most of the others are not suitable for invasive surgery. Research by Public Health England (PHE) found a 70% rise in the number of deaths of epilepsy patients between 2001 and 2014.

In response to the success of the programme, Microsoft and the consortium launched a hack to gain insights into the data captured by the programme to help advance epilepsy treatments. The data confirmed links between lifestyle factors such as poor sleep and seizures, potentially enabling more accurate seizure prediction.

The team are now looking at expanding the programme to more volunteers and are considering how it could drive models of care for other conditions.

Dr Jon Shaw, director of Clinical Strategy at System C & Graphnet Care Alliance: “What’s really exciting about this is that it’s a ‘first of type’ project that combines smart wearables, patient-facing applications and enterprise communication technology, which gets messages out to the care team in real time. Putting data into secure Azure environments gives us huge scale and ability to leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities as services and ultimately to improve patient outcomes.”

Suzy Foster, director of Health at Microsoft UK, underlined “For Epilepsy sufferers life can often feel uncontrollable and unpredictable. myCareCentric is empowering patients to regain control of their treatment and their lives, helping them to significantly reduce the number of seizures they experience. As hospital Trusts across the UK continue to face growing pressures, it’s more important than ever to invest in the right tools that focus on the patient as a person rather than the condition, delivering the most effective care and the best outcomes for patients and their families.”

 



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