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30th January 2022
Between 2015 and 2017, the Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre (DHI) funded and supported an eFrail project – which saw a company, a University and a Housing Association explore the use of consumer technologies to collect data for a person at risk of a fall or frailty.
The project demonstrated that it was possible to deliver preventative, non-stigmatising services using low-cost, consumer technologies. The resultant product – ARMED was then commercialised as a digital health and care solution.
Advanced Risk Modelling For Early Detection (ARMED) is a falls prevention technology that combines a wrist-worn activity tracker with predictive analytics and machine learning to enable early intervention. Data from the tracker is augmented by weekly grip strength and body composition measurements.
ARMED-in-a-box is a streamlined version of ARMED that does not use the grip strength or body composition measures, rolled out in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This independent evaluation was commissioned by DHI in 2020 and conducted by an interdisciplinary team from Robert Gordon University, the University of Aberdeen, and NHS Grampian during the height of the initial wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The purpose of the evaluation was to inform the potential for scalability of ARMED within the Scottish digital health and care context, and specifically to analyse and appraise the effectiveness of the current ARMED service and business models, aligning with the national technology-enabled care (TEC) programme's existing test of change (TOC) activity.
We have now published our Executive Summary and the full independent evaluation report, with key findings and recommendations.
The evaluation found that although ARMED is not yet ready for adoption at scale within the Scottish digital health and care context, it is a novel technology with the potential to lead the way in addressing an important and costly health issue (falls) as well as supporting early intervention and independent living. The research team were not able to determine ARMED’s impact on falls prevention due to a lack of available data, owing to the evaluation sites being at an early stage in the adoption process. However, the report contains several valuable insights and recommendations which are highly relevant to policy, service, research and technology providers involved in the digital health and care environment.
Moira Mackenzie, Deputy CEO and Director of Innovation at the Digital Health & Care Innovation, said, “The successful adoption of innovative digital solutions within our complex health and care landscape requires careful navigation of policy, service, technical and business considerations over time. This evaluation provides an important contribution to aid our understanding of how to practically do this, using the ARMED service as a working example.”
Professor Kay Cooper, School of Health Sciences, Robert Gordon University, commented, “This evaluation not only identified the potential that ARMED has for falls prevention and early intervention; it also generated important learning to inform the development, testing, and evaluation of remote health monitoring technologies. We hope that the recommendations within the report will be useful to a range of stakeholders when considering adoption at scale of these technologies.”
Brian Brown, Commercial Director, ARMED. said, “This evaluation demonstrates that ARMED is a cutting edge of prevention-based solution that supports virtual care management. We welcome the feedback detailed in the report and have already taken forward many of the recommendations into the platform to improve customer experience but also to support clinicians and practitioners in their decision making."