Mesh networking MedTech to protect care home residents, staff & visitors against COVID-19

08 September 2020

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Specialist app will provide safer environments & better communications by creating geozones. NHS Highland is supporting the deployment, with the first system to be installed at Castlehill Care Home in Inverness.

In the fight against COVID-19, NHS Highland, together with Highland Health Ventures (HHVL) and Wyld Networks, are deploying technology to help reduce the spread of viruses, including COVID-19, in care homes.

The technology, which has been developed by Cambridge-based Wyld Networks, uses a smartphone app and geozones – software-based virtual walls – to provide digital access and anonymised social distance monitoring and alerting via the app and a wireless mesh network of connected smartphones and IoT (Internet of Things) devices. The software decides whether visitors and staff can or cannot enter the facility based on peoples’ health status and level of risk.

Once inside the care home, the technology monitors and alerts social distancing between staff, visitors and residents. Also, heat maps are generated in real-time to visualise areas where social distancing is being inadvertently broken. Changes can then be made to the building layouts, routines and room occupancy numbers. In the case of an outbreak of the virus, those at risk can be informed and scheduled for testing within the NHS.

Statistics from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show that more than half of the recorded coronavirus deaths in Scotland over recent weeks were in care homes. Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) also reports that 12,526 care home residents have died due to the Coronavirus in England and Wales during the four months to May.

Frances Hines, Research, Development & Innovation Manager at NHS Highland said: “NHS Highland is interested in implementing many new measures to support care homes to help protect residents and staff and assist in preventing the spread of COVID-19. We are now seeking to bring together innovative technologies to deploy in care homes who wish to participate in supporting these actions.

HHVL was established to assist innovative companies interacting with the NHS and with our collaboration agreement with NHS Highland, we are now involved in selected projects which are introducing and deploying technology into healthcare settings,” said Dr David Heaney, Director Highland Health Ventures Ltd (HHVL).

The technology is being developed by Wyld Networks and the first care home to use it (which is expected to be from October) will be Castlehill Care Home in Inverness, led by HHVL, under the guidance of NHS Highland. Castlehill Care Home is one of several care homes owned by Morar Living, part of the Simply UK Group.

Linda Meston, Director of Care for Morar Living said: “We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality care, while giving our residents the choices that they would have if they were living independently. We have created a safe environment for our residents and staff in our care homes and believe that technology will play a vital role in ensuring that continued safety.

Alan White, a Director of HHVL said: “We have successfully implemented new innovative technologies into the healthcare system in Scotland, and believe that deploying this new solution from Wyld Networks will go a long way to help prevent further outbreaks of the virus, not only in care homes, but also in business in general, to help get people back to work safely and re-boot the economy.

Highland Health Ventures is a company established with the remit to bring innovation into the healthcare system and has a collaboration agreement with NHS Highland and Wyld Networks.

How it works
Wyld’s innovative mesh technology harnesses the power of people’s mobile phones without relying on connections to cellular or Wi-Fi networks. Data simply finds the quickest and easiest route by hopping between phones to deliver notifications, alerts and other content quickly and reliably, while also accurately measuring social distancing. The Wyld system is able to create virtual geozones around the care home, and particularly sensitive or quarantined areas to control access, as well as dynamic personal two-metre geozones around everyone with the app.

All staff and visitors will have to download the mobile application and input COVID-19 test results and enter any symptoms into a self-diagnostic algorithm embedded in the application to create a risk profile. Residents without a smartphone could be given electronic wristbands or similar.

Anyone approaching a geozone will be sent a message instantly to let them know if they are allowed to enter. By using Wyld’s real-time data analytics platform, care home managers will be able to contact and advise anyone who has been in close contact with someone who is tested positive with COVID-19 or develops symptoms.

Our mesh technology was originally designed for applications such as major sporting events, music festivals, retail centres and transport hubs to deliver relevant, location-aware information,” said Wyld Network’s CEO, Alastair Williamson. “But it quickly became clear that our Wyld mesh could play a vital role in protecting residents, staff and visitors in care homes, hospitals and hospices. We hope the system created with Highland Health Ventures will provide a model that can be adopted more widely to deal with the current crisis, as well as deliver real post-COVID benefits.


About HHVL
Highland Health Ventures Ltd (HHVL) works collaboratively with NHS Highland, organisations such as the European Space Agency and companies based in the NEXUS life sciences cluster on the Inverness Campus. Together, we seek to develop innovative health and care solutions that are central to the delivery of these services in the Highlands of Scotland and more widely.

 
About Wyld Networks
Wyld Networks Limited is a Cambridge-based technology company developing advanced mobile mesh and IoT networking technologies and applications. Wyld securely connects smart devices, people and things, to deliver data-driven, intelligent solutions that give businesses a competitive advantage.


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