Age Care Technologies, the lead partner in research carried out by Suffolk’s Integrated Care Academy, has won the 2021 World Summit for the Information Society Prize for Innovation in Healthy Ageing.

ACT won the prestigious award after seeing off competition from 80 digi-tech companies located all over the world, including technologies backed by Amazon. The judges said they were impressed with its online solutions to understanding and managing the complexity of need in old age both locally and globally.

The Integrated Care Academy, the first of its kind in this country, is an exciting partnership between the University of Suffolk, the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System, Suffolk County Council and Healthwatch Suffolk and others from the voluntary and community sector, such as Suffolk MIND and local hospices.

Prof. Ian Philp, chief executive and founder of Age Care Technologies, said “Working with international experts, we see three key challenges for older people’s care worldwide. The first is that most of the things which really matter to older people for their health and wellbeing are not reported.

“The second is that most people providing care for older people are not adequately educated and trained in what really matters. The third challenge is the lack of intelligent data to inform policy, resources and services.

“By solving these problems, we can ease loneliness, reduce unnecessary pain and help people to maintain an overall healthy active life. Our research over several decades has shown that we can increase independence, reduce suffering and add an extra year of high quality life on average.”

ACT’s research, involving more than 100 studies in over 50 countries, has led to the development of accessible online tools to assess the growing needs of the older population that are often unheard. There is also online training and education for caregivers and a database of data from older populations across the globe, which provides analytics for service redesign and planning.

The technology is easily accessible to local communities and nationwide systems. It can be used in multi cultures and geographies.

Suffolk and North East Essex will be the first pilot site in the UK to work with the digital assessment, training and analytical tools. As part of the new Integrated Care Academy, hosted by the University of Suffolk, Prof. Ian Philp is working with a local team of health and care providers.

They will undertake assessments and training with older people and caregivers, initially in the Ipswich and Felixstowe area, then in other parts of Suffolk and North East Essex over the next three years.

Dr Mark Shenton, local GP and Professor of Integrated Care at the ICA, is leading the initiative locally. He said: “During 2021/22, we will be using the online assessment tool locally with 300 older people and their family carers. From 2022 onwards, we will roll out the training for caregivers.

“An analysis of our data will be available nationally and internationally, in association with the World Health Organisation as well as to the significant benefit of health and care services in Suffolk and North East Essex.”

In continuing to deliver assessments, training and data analytics in health and care systems worldwide, the team has ambitious targets – to improve the lives of 100 million older people by 2030 and to reduce the costs of long term care by up to 45 trillion dollars.

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