Care provider shares one thing that could save NHS a whopping £1bn | Personal Finance | Finance

The use of AI-led technology in the care sector could save the NHS £1billion a year by 2026, a provider has said.

Healthcare group Cera is using the technology to reduce hospitalisations by more than 50 percent as changes in a person’s conditions are reported and shared among teams, alllowing them to act quickly to provide medication or contact their GP.

Dr Ben Maruthappu founded the company in 2016, which now has some 10,000 workers delivering two million home healthcare visits each month.

He told “I thought technology could make a big difference, in the same way that technology has transformed many other parts of our lives from how we manage our bank accounts to how we order books to how we get groceries delivered to our door.

“I thought if I know when the books I order on Amazon are going to arrive and if they are running late, and who is going to drop them off, why can’t I get the same for the care I’m organising for my mum.”

He added: “That service is so much more important to me and it costs a lot more than just ordering some books.”

A study has found that by slashing hospitalisations, Cera frees up more than 1,210 hospital bed days each month. Each bed costs on average £460 per day.

Dr Maruthappu was inspired to set up the group using the latest tech after his experience arranging care for his mum.

The care providers would often use pen and paper to take notes, and there would sometimes be delays in information being passed on.

He explained: “It was very challenging. When I looked more closely at the sector, I realised that these people were really well intentioned.

“They want to provide a great service, they want to go above and beyond for the people they care for, but they are limited by the tools in their organisation.”

The technology also helps avoid delays in discharging people from hospital and reducing the need for rehabilitative stays in care homes.

The group’s healthcare model is in use in 150 of the UK’s 382 local authorities and has been taken up by over half of the NHS’ Integrated Care Boards.

In 2023, there were 150,000 patients who had to wait 24 hours in A&E before being admitted to hospital, with two thirds of these people aged 65 and over.

The group has also developed technology to detect when a person is at risk of suffering a fall, which is the number one reason older people end up in hospital.

Within a week of introducing the system, the number of falls reduced by 25 percent.

They also use the technology to flag up when a member of staff is thinking of leaving the company, so managers can address the individual’s queries or challenges to retain them on the team.

Cera also uses GPT to help with administrative work and other algorithms help with scheduling.

Dr Maruthappu said there should be co-operation between the Government and innovating companies in the care sector to improve the quality of care

He commented: “It’s important to work side by side, between these small businesses and Government to find the right solutions for delivering care in a more sustainable and effective way.

“I think that small businesses and companies like ours can innovative quickly, can create technologies that can benefit people.

“Government can create the right eco-system to support that, the right policies that encourage innovation, that put the right incentives in place to encourage social care companies to work closely with the NHS.”

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