More than 130 care homes in Greater Manchester are using a digital innovation to monitor COVID-19, coordinate care with the NHS and support vulnerable residents. 

The COVID-19 tracker app allows care home staff to input information about a resident’s COVID-19 related symptoms into a tracker, which can be shared directly with the resident’s GP and NHS community response team to ensure that a swift assessment and response can be put in place. 

It also means that the NHS can closely monitor the situation in care homes across the locality more easily thanks to a visual dashboard that displays the information at an aggregate level. 

Following a successful rollout in Tameside and Glossop in April 2020, the COVID-19 tracker is now in use in 138 care homes across eight localities in Greater Manchester. 

In total it means more than 4,000 residents are being supported through the tracker, with more than 300,000 assessments taking place since April 2020. 

The digital tracker has now also been adapted to record COVID-19 vaccination consent and when a vaccine is given to care home residents. It allows a real time dashboard view of each care home and their vaccination status, contributing to national efforts to vaccinate the most vulnerable and care home residents.

The solution was developed as part of a partnership formed by Health Innovation Manchester (HInM), including the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, Tameside Council, local GPs and tech company Safe Steps.  

Dr Saif Ahmed, GP and Clinical Lead for the project, said: “The care homes data dashboard provides invaluable information to GPs about the most up to date status of their patients allowing proactive management and care for the most vulnerable in our society.  

“By empowering carers, who know their residents best and can spot symptoms or signs of deterioration, to use the tracker we can easily identify those patients who need advanced care planning by picking up signs of deterioration as soon as they start to happen. 

“Adding in the ability to record COVID-19 vaccination meant we can monitor care home residents who have consented and received the vaccine.”

Jay Hamilton, Associate Director at HInM, has overseen the programme. She said: “The collaborative effort of our health, care and industry partners in developing this novel solution has been exceptional and more than 4,000 residents are now being assessed and supported through the tool. 

We are continuing to work with the system to improve the digital care home offer, including adding the ability to record COVID-19 vaccination records.” 

Lee Omar, Founder of Safe Steps, said: “When the pandemic started, we wanted to use our technology and experience in care homes to support the response and help those caring for our ageing loved ones. I am thankful to our ‘One-Team’ team partnership we have with NHS colleagues.  

I am pleased to have played our small part in the Greater Manchester response and continuing to improve and develop the tracker to respond to the needs of the system.”