Technology startup Gretel Analytics has teamed up with researchers at Monash University to undertake a trial of a custom-designed sensor-based solution for residential aged care.

The trial, led by Professor Terry Haines, will test Gretel Analytics’ smart building solution. The system uses computer vision data, and other dynamic data streams, to map individuals’ movements and interactions within an aged care home. It then uses geofencing and facility-defined rules to provide real-time alerts and analytical reporting to support proactive care, clinical governance and human resource management.

The solution targets issues like early response to falls, boundary transgressions, aggressive behaviour, adequate socialisation and contact tracing. Interaction data also helps facilities track how many minutes of care a resident receives and from whom.

The three-stage trial – which is seeking residential provider partners – aims to create a pathway for better clinical outcomes and quality of care through a collaborative building process, said Georgie Armstrong, chief executive officer and founder of Gretel Analytics.

“The value of partnering with us on this trial is that providers will have the opportunity to collaborate at this early stage of development and receive a custom-designed solution, access new insights and shape what a preventative care model could look like,” Ms Armstrong told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Georgie Armstrong

“Our solution is built to augment existing staff by essentially becoming eyes and ears where staff can’t be; enabling staff through real-time alerts to mitigate risk while minimising the need for environmental restraints.”

While the solution relies on computer vision, Ms Armstrong said it was important to note that a new approach being investigated uses artificial intelligence-based processing of video footage, so it no longer requires a person to watch the footage. Under the approach, safety parameters and alerts can be set, without the identifiable video footage having to be kept or visually processed by a person.

“There’s no footage accessible through our software. Our system ingests location and interaction information as data points rather than footage. This is key to our underpinning mission to have the consumer’s dignity, privacy and autonomy at the centre of everything we do” she said.

The first stage of the trial involves identifying key features of value to clinical governance and staff, ease of usability and an implementation toolbox, which will then be piloted in the actual care environment in the second stage. The third stage of the trial assesses the effectiveness of technology as a model of care along with its economic efficiency.

One of the trial’s aims is to pioneer a pathway through a toolkit approach, which enables providers to step through the successful implementation of technology solutions in aged care facilities.

“My main focus is the lived experience of individuals,” Ms Armstrong told AAA. “And this is why the trial is so important. We will actually create a toolkit approach for other aged care providers, so they know how to implement this sort of technology and how to make the most of it. But we’re also doing it in a very deliberate and staged approach where we make sure all stakeholders – carers, unions, families, and consumers –are on board and everyone understands the value dynamic data and reporting can add to their roles, clinical outcomes and quality of care.”

Providers who join the project will have access to the technology for “cost price” for the duration of the trial, Ms Armstrong said.

“It’s an opportunity to lead the field in making the change from reactive to data-driven care. They’ll also access the advantage of noted researchers on board, as we quantify the level of impact our system can have on clinical outcomes and quality of life.”

Interested providers can email [email protected] for more information.

Main image: Gretel Analytics dashboard and heat map

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