Care UK to launch wearable connecting older people to 111

Care UK is launching an electronic wrist watch for older people, which will alert NHS 111 services if the user falls ill or has an accident at home.

The watch, expected to launch during 2019, will have an ‘SOS’ button and will be able to transmit heart rate and movement data of a person, informing 111 via Microsoft cloud algorithms if a wearer exhibits unusual behaviour.

Once the call centre has been alerted, Care UK, which provides 111 services across England to around four million people, can then contact the individual to see if they are okay.

The announcement was made at the GIANT Health event in London, where Care UK’s chief information officer Barry Nee told delegates: ‘We’re not a wearable technology business, but a service provider business so what we’ve thought about is how we can use the capacity to deliver those services and bring that together with wearable devices.’

One of the design features is that the watch will not need to pair with a smart phone.

Nee said: ‘It operates as an independent phone, so you can phone straight through to somebody’s wrist.’

He said the device has been designed for older people living at home who are not ready to move into care accommodation but who use the NHS frequently.

‘[These individuals] are not interested in knowing exactly what their heart rate is today or exactly how many steps they’ve taken, but they do want to know what the time is and having a watch on their wrist that also completely invisibly does other things that allows you to triage and understand what you need to do to intervene is a really important principle built around the dignity of the wearer,’

Nee said the watch would be launched to the B2C market and not initially sold to the NHS.