This is a guest post by Innovation Labs Stowmarket Member Geraint Thomas . Geraint was previously Technology Transformation Partner at The Disabilities Trust, he led exciting and innovative teams of analysts and project managers in implementing technology. The Trust is one of the largest and most pioneering brain injury specialists in the UK. He is the founder and CEO of Guided Innovation which was recently acquired by 3PointsDigital.


It tends to be 6:00am when carers in the UK go off to work. It was one such carer that visited Doris in her terraced house on a grey Thursday, as Thursdays often are. Doris was her first call of the day; she had another 5 before the day was done. 

Letting herself in, she greets Doris and sets to helping her out of bed and getting her cleaned up. She then picks out pretty cloths and helps with getting dressed, prepares some breakfast and settles Doris into her favourite chair before heading off. A smile and a wave accompany the farewell as she promises to see her that evening to do everything again in reverse. 

Whilst driving between client 2 and 3, the Carers smart watch vibrates, a twist of the arm and a glance, she sees an email entitled “Doris – Bathroom Alert”.

Parking up at the next visit, she decides to get it done before swinging by her first call again to make sure everything’s OK.


No answer as she calls out from the doorstep, so she lets herself in. No one sat in their favourite chair. The carer enters the bathroom to find Doris laying on the floor a pool of her own blood. She’d slipped and hit her head against the toilet bowl on the way down, losing consciousness.

The carer is trained for this. She calls for a paramedic and starts checking for a pulse. The paramedics arrive and manage to resuscitate Doris. As they hurry her into the ambulance one talking to the Carer who explains the mornings events. The last comment before closing of doors was “If you’d called on her in the evening as planned, you’d have found a dead body”.


So, who saved the 87yo’s life?

There is no doubt the role that the Carer and Paramedic played. They are experts in what they do, and our world is so much better by having them in it. 

The paramedics could have been sitting in a staff room, and the carer on her 4 visit of the day had a smart watch not vibrated. 

Allow me to introduce you to the hidden third person. You see, we had kitted Doris’s house out as a trial to see what use sensors could play in domiciliary care. We had a box of simple open/closed sensors, nothing more than a yes/no, a 1/0. They looked like a Nicorette patch; when two were together: closed, when apart: open. We put these on every door and door frame in the house and simply monitored the opening and closing of doors. 

Spotting patterns, the next step was to add some intelligence, and by intelligence, I mean mundane rules.

Mundane rule 1

Work out the average length Doris spends in the Bathroom. I expect most can work out mathematically how to calculate an average, if not, ask the closest 11 yo.

Mundane rule 2

Look for deviations away from this average of more than double the duration. Another easy one. Is current duration greater than 2x the average?

Mundane rule 3

If so, bloody email someone!


If you still have that 11yo to hand, please mention to them that with their current mathematical ability they could help prevent a vulnerable adult from dying. 


So, who saved the 87yo’s life?

All played their part. It was an ecosystem of expertise. If one of these people had failed, or just not bothered, Doris would not have survived. 

Data is cool. By all means, be a geek and help supermarkets use data to know where to position their ice cream in a heatwave, or help Jeff Bezos position his next distribution hub. 

Alternatively, be a geek and use IoT, Wearables, Robotics, Data, Nanotech, VR, AR, AI to change people’s lives in Health and Social Care.

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