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A digital version of the early warning method reduces hospitalisations and strengthens professional skills in elderly care

16-06-2017 News UK

Five municipalities in Denmark have finished a project testing a digital version of the early warning method in elderly care. The early warning method is used to detect health-related changes among elderly citizens. The evaluation of the project shows that the digitally supported method prevents hospitalisations, reduces time consumption for registration, and strengthens the professional skills of the staff.

Five Danish municipalities have participated in a project testing a digital solution for the early warning method. Early warning is a professional method used in the Danish municipal elderly care. In Denmark, municipalities operate the majority of nursing homes and home care units for elderly citizens. The objective of the early warning method is to identify health related changes among the elderly citizens. The method aims to detect changes in a patient’s health condition as early as possible. When an indication of illness or function loss is detected, a targeted professional effort can be initiated. In this way, development of a disease or function loss might be prevented. 

The evaluation of the project is based on data collected in 2016. The digital version of early warning has been positively embraced by both managers and staff in the elderly care sector. It strengthens their professional skills and systematises the workflow.    

The evaluation also includes a business case for nationwide dissemination of the digitally supported early warning method. The business case is based on the costs and benefits in the five municipalities participating in the project. The business case s has a net potential of DKK 478 million over a three-year period. The cost-savings are related to a reduction in preventive hospitalisations and a reduction in the time consumption related to registration. 

You can find an English summary of the evaluation here (pdf) 

The trial project has received DKK 1.065 million from the Danish Agency of Digitisation as a part of initiative 3.3 in the common public sector Strategy for Digital Welfare 2013-2020 aiming at testing new welfare technological solutions.