Beringar has developed ground-breaking new technology that provides a comprehensive digital picture of how NHS buildings are being utilised. The system detects both human activity and equipment (location and movement). It also monitors eight different environmental factors to support better human-building interaction.
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Beringar were challenged by a senior NHS leader working in community health partnerships to come up with a solution for understanding how NHS buildings were being used. They realised that no existing products really delivered what they were asking for, so worked with CENSIS (Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems) to develop a prototype device that really did answer the question.
Beringar’s solution directly responds to a number of NHS efficiency and productivity objectives. It is estimated that NHS buildings are fully utilised less than 50% of the time and NHS Improvement states that the total purchases of property, plant and equipment (PPE) and intangible assets in 2016/17 amounted to £1.95 billion. The majority of capital spend was on land and buildings (61%), with a further 20% on plant and equipment.
The company has a range of measures that cen be implemented to help with COVID-19 and pandemic resilience. These include monitoring social distancing compliance, smart cleaning rotas to ensure only areas that are used are being cleaned, monitoring air quality and indicating risk factors associated with air conditioning/recirculation within buildings, and ensuring that meeting rooms or consultation suites with downgraded occupancy are used in line with the new restrictions.
The NAO have stated a need to measure occupancy accurately. To date most of the competing systems on the market only measure utilisation in terms of times that the room or space was used. This does not meet the NAO guidance and, as a result, Beringar are seeing greater interest in their solution. They are in discussions with a number of Trusts and property owners/managers in the health sector together with new partner Carveti Group.
We found the support and connections made there extremely beneficial. Infrastructure solutions are an area that Eastern AHSN has identified as a priority and we look forward to working with them to optimise the use of NHS buildings for the benefit of patients.
Mark Sorsa-Leslie, Co-Founder
How did the Innovation Exchange help?
The Eastern AHSN has supported Beringar since 2017, initially through the Innovate UK IoTBoost programme, which supported tech start-ups with solutions in the ‘Internet of Things.’ This was led by Cambridge Wireless with the Eastern AHSN contributing funding and support for SMEs with solutions for the NHS market. Beringar won the Cambridge IoTBoost in September 2017 following a period of close mentoring by the Eastern AHSN and other partners of Cambridge Wireless. Eastern AHSN also supported Beringar in finding funding leading to their success in the Innovate UK Digital Health Technology Catalyst competition in 2018.
Beringar attended one of Eastern AHSNs Innovation Exchange events in late 2017, where the NHS comes together with industry to develop solutions to specific challenges. Since then, the company have attended various readiness and masterclass events organised by Eastern AHSN.
Impact & Outcomes
The journey from concept to implementation has been fast for Beringar, thanks to support from the IoTBoost programme and the Eastern AHSN, with numerous trials and implementation projects now completed in the UK, and their first international order being shipped in spring 2018.
The technology has now been proven to work in a clinical setting. Beringar are working with CCGs in the England as well as NHS Highland and Lothian. On one NHS project they have installed 40 devices at a primary care centre in Ilford, scaling up from the initial trial.
Beringar also worked with St Stephens Health Centre in Ashford. The sensors provided objective data about the true use pattern of the building, making it possible to find the space to bring in another GP practice, the centre also co-located additional administrative offices and reduced the size of a planned building extension by 50%. The CCG have been able to realise an estimated £1.5m saving from being able to close two practices, an admin office and to reduce the size of a proposed extension.
Beringar also have interest from 20 different countries who are very keen to use high cost real estate in healthcare and other areas as efficiently as possible.