Artificial intelligence could help slash the number of falls elderly people have in their homes, leading to a cut in people being admitted to hospital.
Social care provider and health-tech company Cera said a pilot of its AI app led to a 20 percent reduction, and they were optimistic the figure could continue to decline.
Cera is a private company, but the majority of its business is providing social care on behalf of the NHS and local authorities.
Its staff carry out 50,000 appointments a day, according to founder Dr Ben Maruthappu.
Its Fall Prediction AI programme takes information about patients logged by carers on a phone app and assesses their risk of taking a tumble.
Based on the information, the visiting carer can then ensure the patient is hydrated, and that paths to toilets and the kitchen are clear. The pilot is currently taking place in the North West, Yorkshire and central Scotland.
Some 134 patients who had a total of 29 falls in the fortnight leading up to the trial were included. After using Cera AI, the total number of falls fell to 23, a reduction of 20.69 percent.
Dr Maruthappu said the reception from staff has been “really positive”.
He added: “No carer likes to turn up at someone’s home and find them on the floor.
“Being able to prevent that is changing that person’s life, and changing our carers’ ability to really deliver great care so that they’re on the front foot.”
Dr Maruthappu said Cera can create the programmes thanks to its “unprecedented amounts of data on how patients are doing in the home in the community”. Cera has been building AI products since 2021, starting with a platform that predicts and helps to prevents admissions to hospital.
It launched Cera Voice in 2022, an automated AI phone call that gets in contact with patients daily to ask them specific health
questions and determine their risk of falling ill.
The chatbot adapts to the patient based on the responses it gets, and tweaks the questions it asks to get relevant information.
Dr Maruthappu said: “That helps us convert the conversation into data and into risk of someone ending up in hospital or becoming unwell, so that we can do something about it.”
Cera is also using avatars to train staff. The platforms, which show images of real-life staff, are able to welcome new starters in multiple languages and teach them various skills.