6 February 2024

Safe Step’s app is a digital falls risk assessment tool that provides a standardised and practical approach for falls management across various care settings.

Health Innovation North West Coast is pleased to see the recent academic publication* of a real-world validation (RWV) of the Safe Steps falls prevention carer digital app, which was created by a Liverpool-based technology developer.

This is a notable publication by Liverpool John Moores University in the BMC Digital Health journal because it demonstrates the acceptance of “real world” data from health care settings and the impact on patients being used to inform academic research, instead of the more standard practice of replicating results in a controlled setting (i.e., laboratory or a clinical trial).

The publication is also notable because it shows local cross-sector collaboration between business, academia and public health care. Health Innovation North West Coast facilitated the funding of this RWV through the Liverpool City Region Health Matters Project part funded by the European Regional Development Fund in 2019, and was involved in every step of the RWV’s progress.

Laura Boland, Head of Innovation Pipeline, Evaluation and Insights, at Health Innovation NWC, said: “This was a valuable learning experience for all involved. Real-world data takes into account not just if a solution works but also whether it can practically be used by patients and staff in a busy health care setting. Although it took a lot of time to justify the real-world methodology used and see the publication produced, we have broken some new ground in academic circles that will ultimately benefit service users in the future if other healthcare solutions are “validated” in real settings with real patients.”

The Safe Steps app is a digital falls risk assessment tool that provides a standardised and practical approach for falls management across various care settings. It allows carers to measure 12 key risk factors to enable early identification of high-risk patients, and create a personalised action plan based on over 50 evidence-based interventions.

The RWV looked at the effectiveness of the digital app to reduce falls in 32 care homes in the North West. It had a very positive conclusion in that there was “a significant reduction in falls and injurious falls, and [the app] was perceived to be highly beneficial by care home residents, staff, management and care commissioners”.

Lee Omar, Safe Steps founder and CEO, says “It is extremely valuable to have an independent RWV coming to the same conclusions on our product. This enables us to expand the use of our product and grow as a company, but ultimately we are proud of the how this app is making a significant difference to the quality of life for care home residents.”

*Neiva Ganga, R., Fitzsimmons, D., Smith, G. et al. Reducing care home falls: a real-world data validation of a multifactorial falls-intervention digital application. BMC Digit Health 1, 49 (2023).

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