Aims, Objectives and Background HealthCall is a digital health initiative that aims to reduce emergency department attendances by upskilling care home staff to use app-based technology whereby residents with new clinical presentations’ observations are recorded electronically using a structured SBAR approach. Information is fed to a Single Point of Access where clinical staff triage the referrals. This study evaluated the effectiveness of the HealthCall technology across the North East of England to safely reduce ED referrals and attendance.
Method and Design The study included 122 care homes covering the study period 2018–2021. Routinely collected secondary care data from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust was linked with clinical data from HealthCall. We describe the change in ED attendances over the period before, during and after the introduction of the technology to the care homes. We fitted Poisson generalised linear mixture models to monthly counts of emergency attendances. Covariates were included to adjust for seasonality and external factors such as COVID-19, and hierarchical random intercepts were included to account for both individual and care home variability. The impact of HealthCall technology usage on residents’ expected number of attendances is tested as a ‘step’ change at intervention and a ‘slope’ change post intervention.
Results and Conclusion We identified 8,702 care home residents through linkage between the secondary care and HealthCall datasets. Preliminary results suggest the use of HealthCall reduces expected monthly ED attendances for care home residents by 16% (95%CI 5 to 25, p-value<0.001). No significant change was observed in the impact of HealthCall during the post-intervention period.
This study finds that the implementation of the HealthCall technology reduces the expected number of monthly emergency department attendances for residents. The technology allows for ongoing monitoring of resident health alongside providing more convenient and timely access to clinical advice that promotes more appropriate and resident-focussed decision leading to fewer unnecessary ED attendances.
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