New funding opportunities for members

We try to make this as relevant to you as possible so please let us know if there is anything we have missed that you feel should be included.

Covid-19 Specific Funding

The Sustainable Innovation Fund: SBRI phase 1. Deadline: 5 August 2020.
Organisations can apply for a share of up to £10 million, including VAT, to help UK businesses and the public sector recover from Covid-19 in a sustainable manner. For more information click here. 

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): Local Authority Research System Call. Deadline: 6 August 2020
The NIHR is looking to explore how it can strengthen its support to research in the local government environment. The NIHR recognises that innovation is happening in some local authorities and wants to explore how current, or new, systems could be developed, at a local level, to support sustainable and influential research activity. For more information click here.

Global Effort on Covid-19 (GECO) Health Research. Deadline: 28 September 2020
This is a new cross UK government funding call aiming to support applied health research that will address Covid-19 knowledge gaps. The focus is on understanding the pandemic and mitigating its health impacts in low and middle-income countries (LMIC). The call prioritises epidemiology, clinical management, infection control and health system responses. For more information click here.

UKRI open call for research and innovation ideas to address Covid-19. There is no closing date
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will support excellent proposals of up to 18 months duration which meet at least one of the following: a) New research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the award) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the Covid-19 pandemic and its impacts. b) Supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential. c) Gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use. For more information click here.

NIHR: Travel and subsistence funding to support LMIC engagement during the Covid-19 outbreak. Deadline 31 December 2020
The awards will provide travel and subsistence funding to appropriately qualified public health professionals, clinicians and academics who wish to offer science and technical advice to support the immediate response to Covid-19 in low and middle-income countries. The awards are open to applicants who have a substantive position at a UK higher education institution or research organisation. For more information click here.

Fast Funding for Covid-19 Science. Deadline: 31 December 2020
A new venture fund is offering grants of $10,000 to $500,000 to coronavirus researchers, and every grant decision will be made in less than 48 hours. For more information click here. 

New Future Fund to Support Innovative UK Businesses 
The Chancellor of the Exchequer today announced he is to establish a new Future Fund to support the UK’s innovative businesses currently affected by Covid-19. These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The scheme will deliver an initial commitment of £250m of new government funding, which will be unlocked by private investment on a match funded basis. The government scheme, which will be developed in partnership with the British Business Bank with the intention of launching for applications in May, will initially be open until the end of September. Over the coming weeks the Bank will work with government on the details on how the Future Fund will operate and how to apply for the scheme. For more information click here. 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome & Mastercard Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard have committed up to $125 million in seed funding to speed-up the response to the Covid-19 epidemic by identifying, assessing, developing, and scaling-up treatments. The partners are committed to equitable access, including making products available and affordable in low-resource settings. The Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will play a catalytic role by accelerating and evaluating new and repurposed drugs and biologics to treat patients with Covid-19 in the immediate term, and other viral pathogens in the longer-term. Currently there are no broad-spectrum antivirals or immunotherapies available for the fight against emerging pathogens, and none approved for use on Covid-19. For more information click here.

Covid-19 – For other International Funding (and more) read Knowledge Transfer Network round-up. For more information click here..
Covid-19 – Support for Businesses 
– for the latest information on UK Government support available click here  

Other Featured Funding

SBRI Healthcare competition: Urgent and Emergency Care. Deadline: 27 August 2020
This competition seeks to address two primary issues, taking into account the systemic complexity and recognising some of the key demographic differences. So the request is for solutions that will either reduce demand on these services or reduce the length of stay in the Emergency Department. For more information click here.

NIHR Artificial Intelligence for Multiple LTC (AIM) (Finalised). Deadline: 29 September 2020
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) invites proposals to undertake programmes of research to spearhead the use of artificial intelligence (AI) methods to develop insights for the identification and subsequent prevention of multiple long-term conditions (multimorbidity) or MLTC-MFor more information click here.

Biomedical Catalyst 2020: round 1, early and late stage awards. Deadline: 7 October 2020
UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of up to £30 million to develop a product or process that is an innovative solution to a health and care challenge. For more information click here.

Using digital technology to support psychological therapies (SBRI). Deadline: 16 September 2020
Organisations can apply for a share of up to £345,000 (including VAT) to develop new solutions using digital technology to provide psychological support. For more information click here.

Other Funding Opportunities: 

EUREKA: healthy ageing. Deadline: 5 August 2020
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £2 million to develop digital health technologies in partnership with organisations from EUREKA countries. For more information click here. 

Young Innovators Awards 2020/21. Deadline: 2 September 2020
Young people can apply for an award to make their business idea a reality. The Award includes a £5,000 grant, tailored business support and a living allowance. For more information click here.

EUREKA GlobalStars Japan. Deadline: 10 September 2020
Open call (although pharmaceutical projects not in scope): UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 million to develop innovative proposals with Japan and other EUREKA participating members. For more information click here.

Designing sustainable plastic solutions. Deadline: 16 September 2020
Competition to win funding for early-stage, human-centred design projects to reduce plastics’ harm to the environment, increase productivity and grow the UK economy. For more information click here.

EUREKA GlobalStars Singapore CRD – Round 2. Deadline: 15 October 2020
Open call: UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 million to develop innovative proposals with Singapore and other EUREKA participating members. For more information click here.

For more information on all open IUK funding opportunities click here.

Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA): Behavioural Analytics Phase 2. Deadline: 13 August 2020
This Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition is seeking proposals that can help UK Defence and Security to develop capability in ‘Behavioural Analytics’. For more information click here.

Open Competition: rolling deadline.
The Open Call is one of the funding competition mechanisms DASA uses to find proposals that address challenges faced by government stakeholders. It gives bidders the opportunity to present their ideas to defence and security stakeholders at any time, without waiting for a relevant Themed Competition. Click here to find out more.

For more information on all DSTL – DASA funding opportunities click here. 

NIHR:
There are many funding opportunities with an emphasis on research. Click here to find our more click here. 

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC): Research Grants. Deadline: Open call.
If you have an excellent idea for a research project, the EPSRC have their Research Grants open call. Awards ranging from £350,000 to £1 million (100 per cent full Economic Cost (fEC)) can be made to eligible institutions to enable individuals or research teams to undertake anything from a standard research project through to a large-scale survey and other infrastructure or methodological development. Click here to find out more.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
The EPSRC is the main funding body for engineering and physical research sciences. For EPSRC funding opportunities click here.

Medical Research Council (MRC)
The Medical Research Council (MRC) improves the health of people in the UK – and around the world – by supporting excellent science, and training the very best scientists.

For MRC funding opportunities click here.

Trust and Charities

Association of Medical Research Charities
Over 30 years ago a small, diverse group of medical research charities formed the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) to unite the sector and provide it with a leading voice. Since then their membership has grown to over 140 charities.  In 2018, these charities invested £1.3 billion in medical research. To access their database click here.

Other UK Government, Seed Funds and Loans: 

The British Business Bank: Deadline: Open
BBB are a government-owned business development bank dedicated to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. Whether you’re looking for finance to start a business, grow to the next level, or stay ahead of the competition, they say that they can deliver greater volume and choice of finance. For more information click here.

Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) funding. General ‘collection’ of news and funds
Information about SBRI for businesses and public sector organisations that might want to use the scheme. For more information click here.

UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund. Open. 
The UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (formerly known as The Rainbow Seed Fund) is a £27.1m early-stage venture capital fund building and growing technology companies stemming from the UK’s research base. For more information click here.

Creative England Investments. Deadline: open.
Creative England is supporting SMEs by providing competitive loans to digital businesses in order to make their growth plans a reality. The investments on offer are intended to fuel this fast-growing sector by financing business expansion and new products, leading to the creation of new high-quality jobs and Intellectual Property (IP). Loans from £50,000 – £250,000 are available with repayment terms ranging from 3-36 months. Interest rates range from 5% – 10%, depending on the risk profile of the applicant. This includes companies from within the digital healthcare sector. For more information click here.

HSBC Loan Fund. Open.
HSBC UK has announced a £12 billion lending fund to support the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Fund includes a ring-fenced £1 billion to help UK companies grow their business overseas, as well as a broader package of support. The initiative is available to UK businesses with a turnover of up to £350 million. Applicants do not need to be an HSBC customer to apply. For more information click here. 

International 

The Global Challenges Research Fund. Click here to find out more.
The Newton Fund. Click here to find out more.
European Funding. Click here to find out more.
Grants available to UK through US Defense – medical research program Click here to find out more. 

Export Opportunities – To access the Department of International Trades Export Opportunities Pipeline click here

News

Smart Grant: 

Innovate UK’s SMART Grant will launch its next round in August 2020.

Healthy Ageing Challenge – Catalyst Awards:
UKRI is working with the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in the USA as a Global Collaborator in their Healthy Longevity Grand Challenge. They will commission a set of Catalyst Awards to support early stage innovation and stimulate interest in global opportunities.

Collaborative R&D Competition:
The aim of the Collaborative R&D competition is to focus on the high-potential early stage collaborative projects, which address key opportunities that would not otherwise be eligible for funding under the Trailblazer nor the Investment Accelerator programmes.

KTN: Latest Health and Life Sciences Funding Round-Up – for more information click here.  

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AHSN Network stakeholder research – national findings

Did you know?

This independent report finds that the quality of HIN’s partnerships is a key strength. Find out more about what we do and how we partner with others across industry, health and care.

NHS England/Improvement and the Office for Life Sciences commissioned research to explore and evaluate the views of AHSN stakeholders. Savanta ComRes conducted this independent evaluation. With input from AHSNs and commissioners, they developed and ran an online survey and telephone interviews. Those taking part were stakeholders in health and social care, private and voluntary sectors, national and local governance bodies, research and academia, patient groups and the general public. Topics covered included familiarity with and perceptions of AHSNs, evaluations of AHSNs’ communications, services, support, work programmes and cross-regional working, and perceived opportunities and challenges for AHSNs in the future.

Key takeaways from the report:
1. Key strengths of Health Innovation Network cited across stakeholders are the quality of partnerships they develop and of the training courses they run.

2. However, there is a sense among some that HIN could be more visible by focusing resources on a smaller number of projects where they can make a significant impact.

3. Some stakeholders make suggestions for HIN around strengthening its ongoing communication with them, for instance by maintaining contact post-project or by targeting the most important individuals.

Download the Health Innovation Network AHSN regional report.

Download the national AHSN report.

“ They’re very motivated, very outcome-oriented and very good at providing connections and support to their local organisations and very focussed on the challenges of innovation and improvements in the NHS.”Industry stakeholder

Further information

Each AHSN is also publishing their individual regional reports. Find a list of England’s 15 AHSNs here. Explore the national AHSN Stakeholder Research findings.

See national findings

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Explore our projects and contact us to get involved

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NHS Diabetes Advice Helpline for patients with insulin-treated diabetes

medCrowd partners with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust to provide a new Diabetes Advice Helpline

New virtual service supports self-management for people living with insulin-treated diabetes during the Covid-19 pandemic.

DigitalHealth.London Accelerator alumni, medCrowd, have partnered with NHS England and Improvement, Diabetes UK, Novo Nordisk UK, and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust to provide a new Diabetes Advice Helpline.

The new Diabetes Advice Helpline, supported in its early development stages by King’s Health Partners Diabetes, Obesity and Endocrinology and Health Innovation Network, offers clinical advice for people, putting them in touch with trained clinical advisors with expertise in diabetes. All the advisors are diabetes trained health professionals who are volunteering their time during the pandemic – some are retired and have returned to the NHS to support patients.

The service is available via the Diabetes UK’s support line on 0345 123 2399, Monday to Friday from 9am – 6pm, for adults living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who use insulin to manage their condition.

For patients who, whether as a direct or indirect result of the coronavirus, have had their routine care disrupted, the helpline provides much needed clinical advice on topics such as: hyperglycaemia, hypoglycaemia, sick day rules and missed injections, which can all lead to serious complications if not managed appropriately.

“This helpline is a fantastic example of how rapid collaboration between NHS organisations and medCrowd has made it possible to provide much-needed support to patients during this challenging time.”Laura Semple, Health and Innovation Network Programme Director in Diabetes and Stroke Prevention

The new helpline is not intended to replace the routine care that patients receive – but if for any reason patients cannot get hold of their usual care team, then the helpline is there to provide advice. The helpline is not able to offer advice for pregnant or paediatric patients. These patients, and their parents or guardians, as appropriate, are advised to contact their own doctor or care team.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust continues to be a key partner in the project by providing clinical oversight and support.

Mark Brodigan, Programme Lead for NHS England, said:
“Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and our London regional team were instrumental in the inception and development of the programme. They continue to provide clinical, operational advice and support to the service. Without their help and support, we would not have been able to establish this service in such a short period of time. This is a good example of partnership working across the NHS, third and private sectors to establish a service that supports diabetic patients at this time of need.”

Kate Lillywhite, Programme Director of King’s Health Partners Diabetes, Obesity and Endocrinology, said:
“We’re delighted that NHS Diabetes Advice Helpline has launched and our Institute has played a key role in enabling it.”
“No doubt, this service will provide accessible and high-quality advice for people living with diabetes across the UK during the pandemic. None of it would not have been made possible without cross-organisation collaboration and the fantastic support from Health Innovation Network and medCrowd.”

“The experience of setting this service up opens up the possibility of new ways of working, beneficial to both patients and staff alike.”

Laura Semple, Health and Innovation Network Programme Director in Diabetes and Stroke Prevention, said:
“This helpline is a fantastic example of how rapid collaboration between NHS organisations and medCrowd has made it possible to provide much-needed support to patients during this challenging time. We will all be interested to learn from the experience of this advice line as we work with partners to shape the future of diabetes care.”

Sara Nelson, Programme Director DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, said:
“We are very proud that so many of our Accelerator programme companies are at the forefront of the Covid-19 response and are supporting the NHS and patients every day.”

“In this project, medCrowd is adapting its offer to meet people’s needs during the pandemic, giving hundreds of people access to the vital care and support they need.”

Dr Felix Jackson, Founder and Medical Director of medDigital and medCrowd, said:
“It is amazing to see this innovative service set up so quickly by the dedicated and talented team working together across the NHS, Health Innovation Network, medDigital and other key organisations. We were able to configure and roll out NHS Diabetes Advice in just a few weeks so people living with diabetes can get the help and advice they need during this uncertain time.”

Explore our work in diabetes here.

We're here to help

Want to learn more about how we are supporting the local health and care system’s response to Covid-19.

Get in touch

Further Information

King’s Health Partners Diabetes, Obesity and Endocrinology is improving health and wellbeing for people living with diabetes and obesity across London and south east England.

Find out more

New funding opportunities for members

News

New funding opportunities for members

We try to make this as relevant to you as possible so please let us know if there is anything we have missed that you feel should be included.

Covid-19 Specific Funding

UKRI open call for research and innovation ideas to address Covid-19. There is no closing date
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will support excellent proposals of up to 18 months duration which meet at least one of the following: a) New research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the award) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the Covid-19 pandemic and its impacts. b) Supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential. c) Gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use. For more information click here.

National Institute for Health Research: Travel and subsistence funding to support LMIC engagement during the Covid-19 outbreak. Deadline 31 December 2020
The awards will provide travel and subsistence funding to appropriately qualified public health professionals, clinicians and academics who wish to offer science and technical advice to support the immediate response to Covid-19 in low and middle-income countries. The awards are open to applicants who have a substantive position at a UK higher education institution or research organisation. For more information click here.

Fast Funding for Covid-19 Science. Deadline: 31 December 2020.
A new venture fund is offering grants of $10,000 to $500,000 to coronavirus researchers, and every grant decision will be made in less than 48 hours. For more information click here. 

Covid-19 Rapid Response Rolling Call. Deadline: 1 April 2021
Building on the initial calls of their Initiative, DHSC, through the NIHR, and UKRI are jointly launching a rolling call for proposals for rapid research into Covid-19. As this is a rolling call there is currently no fixed end date to the call, we are open to applications and will aim to review complete proposals within four weeks of submission. This is a researcher-led call: for UK-led academic, SME and wider industry research that will address a wide range of Covid-19 knowledge gaps/needs, and which will lead to a benefit in UK, potentially international, public health within 12 months. For more information click here.

New Future Fund To Support Innovative UK Businesses 
The Chancellor of the Exchequer today announced he is to establish a new Future Fund to support the UK’s innovative businesses currently affected by Covid-19. These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The scheme will deliver an initial commitment of £250m of new government funding which will be unlocked by private investment on a match funded basis. The government scheme, which will be developed in partnership with the British Business Bank with the intention of launching for applications in May, will initially be open until the end of September. Over the coming weeks the Bank will work with government on the details on how the Future Fund will operate and how to apply for the scheme. For more information click here. 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome & Mastercard Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard have committed up to $125 million in seed funding to speed-up the response to the Covid-19 epidemic by identifying, assessing, developing, and scaling-up treatments. The partners are committed to equitable access, including making products available and affordable in low-resource settings. The Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will play a catalytic role by accelerating and evaluating new and repurposed drugs and biologics to treat patients with Covid-19 in the immediate term, and other viral pathogens in the longer-term. Currently there are no broad-spectrum antivirals or immunotherapies available for the fight against emerging pathogens, and none approved for use on Covid-19. For more information click here.

Covid-19 – Other International Funding (and more) read KTN round-up by click here.
Covid-19 – Support for Businesses 
– for the latest information on UK Govt support available click here

Other Featured Funding

Eureka: healthy ageing. Deadline: 5 August 2020
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £2 million to develop digital health technologies in partnership with organisations from EUREKA countries. For more information click here. 

ISCF Healthy Ageing Social, Behavioural & Design Research Programme. Pre-announcement
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will be inviting applications to the ISCF Healthy Ageing Social Behavioural and Design Research Programme from May 2020. £9.5m (100% fEC) will be available to support world-leading research that makes a significant contribution to the lives of people as they age. For more information click here.

OTHER FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES:

INNOVATE UK:
Innovation Scholars secondments: biomedical sciences, strands 2-3. Deadline:1 July 2020.
UKRI invites applications for individuals from any discipline wishing to spend up to 36 months (full or part time) on secondment in the biomedical sciences sector. £5 million fund. For more information click here.

For more information on all open IUK funding opportunities click here.

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ACCELERATOR (DASA):

DASA: Biosensing across wide areas. Deadline: 1 June 2020
DASA is looking for solutions to detect and locate deposited hazardous biological agents rapidly in the field. Proposals will need to deliver a higher level of maturity than achieved in Phase 1. We expect the starting Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the innovation to be TRL 3. By the end of the project, we expect the innovation to be sufficiently developed to achieve approximately TRL 4 – 5. £700k is available to fund Phase 2. For more information click here. 

Open Competition: rolling deadline.
The Open Call is one of the funding competition mechanisms DASA uses to find proposals that address challenges faced by government stakeholders. It gives bidders the opportunity to present their ideas to defence and security stakeholders at any time, without waiting for a relevant Themed Competition. Click here to find out more.

For more information on all DSTL – DASA funding opportunities click here. 

NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH RESEARCH (NIHR):

NIHR: I4I Product Development Award Round 20. Deadline: 3 June 2020.
The NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme will invite proposals to Call 20 of its researcher-led Product Development Awards (PDA). PDAs fund the development of disruptive early stage medical technologies that address existing or emerging healthcare needs. They support translational projects developing medical devices, active implantable devices and in vitro diagnostic devices. PDAs also support projects that use and develop techniques or technologies from other industry sectors that could have a potential impact if applied in a healthcare setting. For more information click here. 

NIHR: I4I Challenge Awards on Real World Implementation (RWI). Deadline: 5 June 2020.
The RWI Challenge Award will fund investigations of medtech innovations in healthcare settings. The aim is to shorten the evidence gap between the safety/efficacy typical of a newly or nearly CE marked technology and what is required for decisions by commissioners and regulators. At the same time, this will de-risk the product for follow-on investment. For more information click here.

There are many funding opportunities with an emphasis on research. Click here to find our more click here. 

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (ESRC): Research Grants. Deadline: Open call.
If you have an excellent idea for a research project, the EPSRC have their Research Grants open call. Awards ranging from £350,000 to £1 million (100 per cent full Economic Cost (fEC)) can be made to eligible institutions to enable individuals or research teams to undertake anything from a standard research project through to a large-scale survey and other infrastructure or methodological development. Click here to find out more.

ENGINEERING AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL (EPSRC):
The EPSRC is the main funding body for engineering and physical research sciences. For EPSRC funding opportunities click here.

MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (MRC)
The Medical Research Council (MRC) improves the health of people in the UK – and around the world – by supporting excellent science, and training the very best scientists.

For MRC funding opportunities click here.

TRUSTS AND CHARITIES:

Association of Medical Research Charities
Over 30 years ago a small, diverse group of medical research charities form the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) to unite the sector and provide it with a leading voice. Since then their membership has grown to over 140 charities.  In 2018, these charities invested £1.3 billion in medical research. To access their database click here.

OTHER UK GOVERNMENT, SEED FUNDS AND LOANS:

THE BRITISH BUSINESS BANK: Deadline: Open.
BBB are a government-owned business development bank dedicated to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. Whether you’re looking for finance to start a business, grow to the next level, or stay ahead of the competition, they say that they can deliver greater volume and choice of finance. For more information click here.

UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund. Open. 
The UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (formerly known as The Rainbow Seed Fund) is a £27.1m early-stage venture capital fund building and growing technology companies stemming from the UK’s research base. For more information click here.

Creative England Investments. Deadline: open.
Creative England is supporting SMEs by providing competitive loans to digital businesses in order to make their growth plans a reality. The investments on offer are intended to fuel this fast-growing sector by financing business expansion and new products, leading to the creation of new high-quality jobs and Intellectual Property (IP). Loans from £50,000 – £250,000 are available with repayment terms ranging from 3-36 months. Interest rates range from 5% – 10%, depending on the risk profile of the applicant. This includes companies from within the digital healthcare sector. For more information click here.

HSBC Loan Fund. Open.
HSBC UK has announced a £12 billion lending fund to support the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Fund includes a ring-fenced £1 billion to help UK companies grow their business overseas, as well as a broader package of support. The initiative is available to UK businesses with a turnover of up to £350 million. Applicants do not need to be an HSBC customer to apply. For more information click here. 

INTERNATIONAL:

The Global Challenges Research Fund. Click here to find out more.
The Newton Fund. Click here to find out more.
European Funding. Click here to find out more.
Grants available to UK through US Defense – medical research program Click here to find out more. 

Export Opportunities – To access the Department of International Trades Export Opportunities Pipeline click here

NEWS:

Find out how to get your study nationally supported or funded as high priority Covid-19 Urgent Public Health Research
Covid-19 Urgent Public Health Research is being prioritised to gather the necessary clinical and epidemiological evidence that will inform national policy and enable new diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines to be developed and tested for Covid-19. Government support is available to prioritise, coordinate and deliver these studies, regardless of sponsorship and funding source. This support includes expedited identification of sites to ensure appropriate geographical distribution of Urgent Public Health Research to maximise recruitment and minimise over-commitment of resource. Find out more by clicking here.

Innovate UK launches new three-year programme for Young Innovators 

New findings from Innovate UK show that half of young people in the UK think their age is a barrier to business success. The programme will support up to 100 young people, with £5K funding, one-to-one coaching and an allowance to cover living costs. The national Young Innovators Awards will go to 18-30 year olds with a creative and ground-breaking business idea. For more information click here.

Also coming soon:
Healthy Ageing Challenge
Catalyst Awards:
UKRI is working with the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in the USA as a Global Collaborator in their Healthy Longevity Grand Challenge. They will commission a set of Catalyst Awards to support early stage innovation and stimulate interest in global opportunities.

Collaborative R&D Competition:
The aim of the Collaborative R&D competition is to focus on the high-potential early stage collaborative projects, which address key opportunities that would not otherwise be eligible for funding under the Trailblazer nor the Investment Accelerator programmes.

Let’s hold the gains

Let’s hold the gains

by Richard Barker, Chair at Health Innovation Network and Guy Boersma, Chief Executive at Kent Surrey Sussex AHSN

In the midst of an unprecedented health emergency, it may seem strange to speak of ‘gains’ – i.e. gains from our experience in combatting Covid-19. The loss of loved ones through Covid-19 is a terrible tragedy and no ‘gain’ or advances in our approach can ever outweigh this loss. But in this context, we face an even greater responsibility to be clear on what we are learning from this crisis and how we see these lessons bearing fruit for others in a future post-Covid world, whenever it arrives.

From our perspective working within the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) system, we are seeing advances in thinking and practice in several key areas for the future of the NHS, and the Network is collecting lessons learned for future dissemination. But we would like to suggest a few of these at this early stage, under three headings – gains to hold, further gains to push for, based on the Covid experience, and change in healthcare system dynamics if we are to fully grasp these gains.

Gains to hold

‘Gains to hold’ include both how healthcare is being practised in the midst of Covid-19, how we are introducing innovation into practice, greater flexibility in roles within the NHS and productive partnerships between the public, private and third sectors of the health economy.

Most obvious is the rapid and dramatic shift to remote medical consultations. Using online tools and simple phone calls, we have demonstrated that many primary care and specialist consultations can quite effectively be done remotely. For example, skin lesion images and heart irregularities can be transmitted to inform these sessions, and of course patients can report the outcomes of current treatments. The level of such remote consultations will undoubtedly fall to some extent after the crisis, but we will have seen a major breakthrough in their use and widespread adoption of the relevant supportive digital tools, and the AHSNs have been intimately involved in ensuring these tools are introduced. With this learning and with the benefit of a further period of time, there is the opportunity to refine utilisation and get the most out of newly familiar technology.

We have learned that knowledge can be transmitted as fast as the virus, if not faster…

This brings us more generally to the speed of spread and adoption of new technology. Until now, the received wisdom was that the NHS could not be expected to take up innovations rapidly, with 17 years often being quoted as the UK standard for the delay between first appearance and widespread use! Now we know that the system can adopt what it urgently needs in a matter of weeks, if not days. Until Covid struck, the Accelerated Access Review (in which one of us took part) and the Accelerated Access Collaborative that took forward its recommendations, has been focused on accelerating a very few ‘transformative’ innovations. The role of the AAC in this crisis has widened the aperture significantly and we support the aperture remaining wide, and the speed remaining fast.

We have also seen redeployment of people and skills on a massive scale, across medical disciplines, between doctors, nurses, ancillary workers and pharmacists. We have learned that knowledge can be transmitted as fast as the virus, if not faster, and systems for democratising knowledge should emerge from our experience.

As AHSNs, we are also very focused on partnerships across the public, private and charity sectors of the health economy, and our boards are one of the few places in which all three come together around the same problem-solving table. The UK history has unfortunately too often been of mutual misunderstanding or suspicion across cultural divides. The Covid-19 crisis has broken these down dramatically, with just one example of a major pharmaceutical company approaching their local Academic Health Science Network to help plug the yawning gap in viral testing. And, of course, many companies whose business is not health have pitched in, whether to manufacture masks or other PPE, or support their local communities. Let us work so that the partnerships forged in the crisis lay the foundation for a much more collaborative future.

Holding the gains requires us all to capture the learning, now.

These are all solid gains to hold, if we are determined to do so. In addition, we see the need to push for advances in three other areas of huge importance for the future of the NHS: how we prioritise prevention, how we assess value and how we share data.

Further gains to push for

Holding the gains requires us all to capture the learning, now, on how positive change has been delivered at pace and scale: the generous collaborations, the inspired communications, the courageous changemaking, the focused strategy, and so on. We then need to consider how to incorporate this behaviour into a calmer future environment. Learning from the virus’ impact on those who are frail and have underlying health conditions brings into fresh focus how the NHS thinks about its job and its performance. As was pointed out in a recent All-Party Parliamentary Group report, Health of the Nation, the NHS is still an illness service in its productivity measures.

For the NHS to become more of a health service than an illness service, it needs to value more highly its contribution to maintaining the public’s long-term health and resilience, via an increased investment in self-care and in supporting citizens with long term conditions to manage and maintain independence for longer.

Despite fine words on focusing ‘upstream’, only about 5 per cent of the NHS budget goes on prevention – and secondary care cost inflation pressurises it out of hospital budgets. So, we have a rising tide of health-vulnerable people, particularly in the more deprived sectors of the population. ‘Underlying health conditions’ – most of them avoidable – are clearly major factors in morbidity and mortality from the virus. They are of course major factors in healthy lifespan in general – virus or no virus. We need to keep this firmly in mind when shaping the plans and budgets of the new primary care networks and ICSs and in HM Treasury / DHSC negotiations. And most prevention does not have an in-year ROI.

We believe this period is a wakeup call that should cause us to change some beliefs about our healthcare system

Fast and wide data-sharing is a major feature of the crisis, as specialists and hospitals try to analyse available data on an unfamiliar condition and generate information and insights leading to new approaches and novel therapies. The Health Data Research hub dedicated to critical care, PIONEER, will be in the forefront of this. This data- and knowledge-sharing within the NHS and across the world is itself a ‘gain to hold’. We should see an even more significant advance in data-sharing as citizens report symptoms, or antibody status and potential contacts in the context of an ‘exit strategy’ – a strategy that we are yet to see, but know we will need if we are to emerge from lockdown and not suffer successive future waves of infection. Looking beyond Covid, ready and responsible data sharing between individuals and the system – which of course needs to be two-way, for example through the NHS app – is such an important tool that we need to overcome the reluctance of several stakeholders to support it. Good governance will be key, as will be the ability for people to see and control how their data is used. Good analysis of data to create knowledge and information for decision-taking will also be key.

Changing healthcare system dynamics

Finally, we believe this period is a wakeup call that should cause us to change some beliefs about our healthcare system and the behaviours of staff and citizens. Firstly, the belief that our health is the NHS’ problem, not our own. Personal responsibility for maintaining strong health status and reducing health vulnerability will surely increase in the wake of Covid-19, and we should see a growth in demand from citizens and response from innovators for tools to enable this. Secondly, the belief that health workers – particularly domiciliary workers and health assistants – are doing low level work that merits low pay. Thirdly, that the NHS and private providers are enemies: in contrast, we have seen that agreements to work together and switch capacity reveal that they are on the same side in any health battle. Finally, that the NHS is a supertanker that we can never expect to move fast. It can and it has. We must collectively learn from how this was achieved and how the NHS can continue to respond positively to population needs at a faster pace and scale.

Read here, to find out what AHSNs are doing to transform lives during Covid-19.

Prof Richard Barker is Chairman of the Health Innovation Board. Richard is a strategic advisor, speaker and author on healthcare and life sciences. As a workstream champion in the Accelerated Access Review, he has advised successive UK governments on new healthcare tech.

Guy Boersma has focused on improving public services from within the NHS, central government, private sector and professional services firms. He has worked across the NHS in Kent & Medway, Surrey and Sussex since 2010.​

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DigitalHealth.London Accelerator opens for applications

DigitalHealth.London Accelerator opens for applications today

Call-out for the next generation of digital innovation to transform health and care

Digital products and services are currently providing vital innovation, support and capacity to the NHS during the response to Covid-19. Today, DigitalHealth.London opens applications to their flagship Accelerator programme for the next generation of digital health companies to transform health and care.

Now in its fifth consecutive year, the NHS-delivered programme, funded in part by the European Regional Development Fund, has supported some of the biggest and most effective digital innovations being used by the NHS in London. Companies including LIVIPatchwork HealthEchoSweatcoinHealth Navigator and Perfect Ward have all been through the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme. From enabling remote GP appointments, to transforming NHS temporary staffing and patient-facing self-management apps, the Accelerator has supported some of the best digital innovations now being widely used. Whilst the health and care system is under pressure like never before, the need for innovations to solve problems both today and in the future remains vital.

To date, the Accelerator has supported 105 innovative digital health companies, with 160 additional NHS contracts signed by those companies. For every £1 spent on the programme, it is estimated over £14 is saved for the NHS*.

Sara Nelson, Programme Director, DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, said: “Never before has the need for the right digital innovations to be delivering for our NHS and patients been so profound.  Digital health products are introducing new ways of doing things and enabling key services to continue where they might otherwise have been cancelled or postponed. We are extremely proud of the companies and NHS organisations we have worked with over the past five years. Today, we are excited to accept applications for the next cohort of innovators. With the growing need for safe and effective digital innovations, we are looking forward to working with innovators and the many NHS staff and patients across London’s health and care sector who have recently been inspired by technology and its potential.”

Anna King, Commercial Director, Health Innovation Network, one of the founding partners of DigitalHealth.London said: “The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme remains one of the most influential programmes of its kind, supporting fast-growing, high-potential digital health businesses. It is also helping London establish its place as one of the most exciting and innovative digital health and care hubs in the world, with scope to develop, validate and scale innovations. I’d urge any digital health innovator who has a product or service that could support the NHS to consider joining this programme.”

Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer for London, said: “I am delighted to continue to support the Accelerator as it opens for applications again, and I am looking forward to the next group of innovators bringing their products and services to Londoners. The programme’s work ensures that London is at the forefront of digital innovation and is vital to building a future where its citizens benefit from the latest technologies to support their health.”

Tara Donnelly, Chief Digital Officer, NHSX, said: “The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is part of a digital revolution in the NHS that continues rapidly to develop, and we will continue to support innovative organisations delivering ground-breaking work.

“This programme has established itself as an important player in supporting the NHS and social care to make the most of the opportunities digital health tech offers.”

Anas Nader, Co-Founder, Patchwork Health, Accelerator programme 2019-20, said: “We’re so proud of how widely our technology has already been embraced across the NHS and the impact we’re having on the lives of thousands of clinicians. We were delighted to join the 2019-20 cohort of DigitalHealth.London’s Accelerator, a brilliant programme speeding up adoption of digital health innovations in the NHS. The programme has provided us with opportunities to connect with industry experts as well as other health tech innovators. I’d encourage companies like ours with good ideas and big ambitions to apply.”

Joachim Werr, CEO, Health Navigator, Accelerator programme 2018-19, said: “The most valuable thing we experienced on the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme was the connections made with executives and decision makers within NHS organisations, and with central NHS policy makers, for example in NHS England and NHS improvement. Our NHS Navigator, combined with the expertise within the Accelerator’s network, have helped us reach the people that can make change happen in the NHS. We’d like to wish all companies applying good luck in what is a hugely competitive and valuable programme.”

DigitalHealth.London’s Accelerator aims to speed up the adoption of technology in London’s NHS, relieving high pressure on services and empowering patients to manage their health. It works with up to 20 high-potential SMEs over a 12-month period, giving bespoke support and advice, a programme of expert-led workshops and events and brokering meaningful connections between innovators and NHS organisations with specific challenges. The companies that are successful in getting onto the Accelerator programme are chosen through a rigorous and highly competitive selection process, involving expert NHS and industry panel assessments, interviews and due diligence checks. Companies that have a product or solution that is well-defined and are ready to start building their evidence base are likely to benefit the most from the type of support offered through the programme. Throughout the 12 months, the programme focuses on engagement with different elements of the health and care system. Company suitability is assessed based both on product maturity (meaning products that are ready to be trailed or bought that have high potential to meet NHS challenges) and on the company’s capacity to benefit from the programme (meaning companies have enough time and staff to engage).

For more information and how to apply, click here.

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Helping break unwelcome news

Helping break unwelcome news COVID-19 outbreak

Health Education England has published a set of materials and films which aim to support staff through difficult conversations arising from the Covid-19 outbreak.

The AHSN Network was part of a small group of people that helped pull this resource together in less than two weeks.

The framework includes posters and films based on the evidence base from Real Talk and then filmed with willing volunteers.

You can also follow #UnwelcomeNews on Twitter.

Start here for an introduction to the framework: Discussion of Unwelcome News during the Covid-19 pandemic: a framework for health and social care professionals

You can watch the films here:

  1. The framework
  2. Community
  3. Breaking bad news
  4. Ceilings of treatment

Then access the resources here:

Follow this link for more information on patient safety during Covid-19.

ESCAPE-pain resources to support people with chronic joint pain during Covid- 19

ESCAPE-pain: supporting people with chronic joint pain during Covid-19

The ESCAPE-pain programme is usually delivered as a face-to-face class to groups of about 10 people in Physiotherapy Outpatient Departments, leisure or community sites in over 290 venues across the UK. However, the Covid-19 epidemic has meant these venues have been forced to suspend face-to-face classes.

This has encouraged the team to find innovative new ways of supporting people with knee and hip pain who are now confined to their homes. Which includes, a new public ESCAPE-pain Facebook page has been launched where participants can visit to share stories, ask for guidance, and seek and provide peer support.

In addition the ESCAPE-pain smartphone app and online is now free-to-use and the hope is that is through the programme people can remain active and manage their joint pain during this time through the following resources:

  1. ESCAPE-pain Online can be viewed on a range of mobile devices but is best viewed on a computer;
  2. The ESCAPE-pain app is available on Android devices from the Google play store.

Note – Both tools require users to register and then follow a six-week programme, with two sessions each week, using exercise and educational videos and measuring the user’s ability at the start and end so they can see their progress.

To support home exercise further, the exercise and educational videos from the app are now also freely available on the ESCAPE-pain website so that people don’t need to create an account to view them, or for people who don’t wish to follow a structured programme and just want a reminder of how to do an exercise.

ESCAPE-pain has changed my life a great deal actually and I am just over the moon about it.
  1. The exercise videos are designed so that the exercises can be done in a home setting using everyday household items like chairs or steps. They are simple and easy to follow with audio instructions. Just click on each video to get started. You don’t have to do them all, choose a few you find easy, then add or drop exercises as you want. If you want to view the exercise in full screen mode, click on the bottom right hand corner of each video where you can see a small square. Why not also look at our top tips (on the same page) of how to exercise safely in your home?
  2. The educational videos can be viewed at any time to learn more about your joint pain. They give simple advice and information to help people learn about how to better manage their condition. Just click on each video to get started. If you want to view the video in full screen mode, click on the bottom right hand corner of each video where you can see a small square.
  3. It is recommended that people read through the ESCAPE-pain support tools guidance which contains top tips for getting the best out of the digital tools. In addition, some ESCAPE-pain sites have started delivering virtual ESCAPE-pain classes. So, if you’re one of those people who would benefit from the interaction and would find it more motivating then follow the @escape_pain Twitter account to find out where and when these are happening.

For more information, and support contact hello@escape-pain.org.

Reduced pain and improvement in physical function are only some of the positive results of the programme. Watch the latest participant video below.

New digital innovations tested for vulnerable people during Covid-19 outbreak

New digital innovations tested for vulnerable people during Covid-19 outbreak

Testing starts today as 18 winners of TechForce19 challenge announced

People who are particularly vulnerable or isolated as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak could soon benefit from a range of innovative digital solutions selected as part of the TechForce19 challenge.

NHSX and MHCLG have announced 18 digital solutions that have been awarded funding under the TechForce19 challenge. TechForce19 has awarded up to £25,000 each to innovation that offers a digital way to support vulnerable people who need to stay at home or need other help in the community for extended periods of time. The response to the challenge was extremely strong, with over 1,600 innovations submitted.

The successful solutions will now receive funding to rapidly test their product to meet specific Covid-19 related needs.

This testing phase will last for two to three weeks, and be followed by an assessment to better understand the potential and scope for accelerated deployment at scale, based on evidence.

NHSX has been working with partners PUBLIC and the AHSN Network to run the fast-track competition for innovators, creating a pool of technologies that have the potential to be rapidly scaled regionally and nationally.

Each prospective technology must have the capability to operate on a standalone basis without the need to be integrated with existing health or care systems.

Examples of the solutions going forward include:

  • Feebris for the most vulnerable who are isolating

Feebris helps carers to identify health risks and deterioration within elderly communities. The Feebris app guides a carer through a 10min check-up, including capture of vital signs from connected medical-grade sensors (digital stethoscope, pulse oximeter etc.). Powerful AI augments clinical guidelines and personalised monitoring to help decisions on triaging health issues. The intention is to provide Feebris to care homes to help carers triage the day-to-day health needs of their residents during the Covid-19 pandemic, and also enhance the capabilities of remote clinicians.

  • Neurolove to support young people with mental health

Chanua provides Neurolove.org, a platform providing a friendly ear and human support for young people to help them to keep virtually social and safe online. Supporting young people to manage anxiety and low mood, they can book sessions directly with mentors and therapists and find content that will support them to manage their emotional and mental health in this current period of uncertainty.

  • Peppy for new parents

Peppy helps parents-to-be and new parents remotely access trusted, convenient advice from perinatal and mental health experts. This includes remote support via phone/video with lactation consultants, baby sleep consultants, specialist mental health support and more. Peppy provides timely interventions that reduce stress, anxiety and burn out for parents-to-be and new parents.

  • Team Kinetic for volunteers

TeamKinetic’s digital platform helps organisations better manage community-led volunteer programmes. The solution helps manage recruitment and retention of volunteers, as well as monitoring the impact of these programmes in real time. TeamKinetic are also looking at developing and documenting some open standards and establishing a model for better service interconnectivity across the voluntary sector.

  • Vinehealth for cancer patients

Vinehealth is a mobile app to support cancer patients and their loved ones during treatment by allowing them to easily track and understand their care, including their symptoms, side effects, appointments and medications. By completing a 1-minute daily log, cancer patients can develop a clear overview of their progress through treatment and access advice on how to cope and when to access health services. The Vinehealth app empowers cancer patients who are self-isolating to self-manage and feel more in control.

“The TechForce19 challenge has harnessed some of the incredible talent we have in our tech sector to help the most vulnerable. Many of the problems created by isolation lend themselves to digital solutions, and we hope this process will help people take advantage of the potential that digital technology offers.

“The 18 companies we are announcing today have the potential to help a number of the key affected groups during Covid-19, including young parents, the elderly at home, and the homeless, as well as giving people tools to look after their own mental health during isolation.”

Guy Boersma, Digital & AI Lead, The AHSN Network, said:

“This list of solutions is testament to the talent being harnessed to address the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis. The health and care sector has already seen many solutions being deployed to support vulnerable citizens with mental health needs or other specific conditions, and the pandemic makes it even more necessary that we address the needs of citizens unable to access face-to-face care or even their usual social networks.

We are delighted that we have a series of solutions which can be piloted and then scaled to address these pressing needs.”

Daniel Korski, CEO of PUBLIC, said:

“As social distancing measures continue, today’s selections amount to a wealth of possible answers to helping the most vulnerable through these difficult times.

These companies demonstrate the valuable role for new technologies in helping public services adapt to new challenges, and we’re excited to follow their journeys from here through to deployment.”

For more information about the programme visit Techforce19.uk

Full list of digital innovations:

  1. Feebris for the most vulnerable who are isolating

Feebris helps carers to identify health risks and deterioration within elderly communities. The Feebris app guides a carer through a 10min check-up, including capture of vital signs from connected medical-grade sensors (digital stethoscope, pulse oximeter etc.). Powerful AI augments clinical guidelines and personalised monitoring to help decisions on triaging health issues. The intention is to provide Feebris to care homes to help carers triage the day-to-day health needs of their residents during the Covid-19 pandemic, and also enhance the capabilities of remote clinicians.

  1. Chanua / Neurolove to support young people with mental health

Chanua provides Neurolove.org, a platform providing a friendly ear and human support for young people to help them to keep virtually social and safe online. Supporting young people to manage anxiety and low mood, they can book sessions directly with mentors and therapists and find content that will support them to manage their emotional and mental health in this current period of uncertainty.

  1. Peppy for new parents

Peppy helps parents-to-be and new parents remotely access trusted, convenient advice from perinatal and mental health experts. This includes remote support via phone/video with lactation consultants, baby sleep consultants, specialist mental health support and more. Peppy provides timely interventions that reduce stress, anxiety and burn out for parents-to-be and new parents.

  1. Team Kinetic for volunteers

TeamKinetic’s digital platform helps organisations better manage community-led volunteer programmes. The solution helps manage recruitment and retention of volunteers, as well as monitoring the impact of these programmes in real time. TeamKinetic are also looking at developing and documenting some open standards and establishing a model for better service interconnectivity across the voluntary sector.

  1. Vine Health for cancer patients

Vinehealth is a mobile app to support cancer patients and their loved ones during treatment by allowing them to easily track and understand their care, including their symptoms, side effects, appointments and medications. By completing a 1-minute daily log, cancer patients can develop a clear overview of their progress through treatment and access advice on how to cope and when to access health services. The Vinehealth app empowers cancer patients who are self-isolating to self-manage and feel more in control.

  1. Beam for homeless population

Beam is a digital platform that supports the homeless and vulnerable people sleeping rough. Beam takes referrals from local authorities and homeless charities, then ensures goods are funded, delivered and documented.

  1. Alcuris Ltd

Alcuris’ Memohub® prolongs the independence of elderly or vulnerable people, enabling them to return to home quicker, from hospital discharge. A digital platform collates data from unobtrusive sensors placed in the home, then provides actionable alerts when behaviour changes, enabling families to intervene early to delay or reduce the frequency of professional ‘crisis intervention’ help. This gives family a reassurance of loved one’s safety and wellbeing even when left alone for extended periods. Also provides objective information to inform professional care planning.

  1. Ampersand

Ampersand Health‘s self-management apps help people with long term, immune mediated diseases (such as Crohn’s and Colitis) live happier and healthier lives. Using behavioural and data science, the apps deliver courses and programmes designed to improve sleep quality, stress management and medication adherence; with modules for activity, diet and relationships in the works. During the Covid-19 crisis, this will help these people better manage their conditions and reduce the need for clinical support. Ampersand are also offering their clinical management portal free of charge to NHS Trusts until January 2021, no strings attached. This will allow clinical teams to help manage their patients, remotely.

  1. Aparito

Aparito uses remote monitoring technology (videos, wearables, photos and text) to gather patient-generated data outside of hospital. This is focused on patients with rare diseases. Data is captured and transferred via the patient’s own smartphone / tablet and made available to clinicians or researchers in real-time to help avoid direct contact during the Covid-19 crisis.

  1. Birdie

Birdie provides a digital platform for home care agencies to better manage the care they provide. Through an easy to use app, care workers capture daily visit logs, and a central hub allows staff to track real-time information. Family members receive live and daily safety and well-being updates through the app, including from optional home monitoring sensors. Birdie helps domiciliary care agencies to increase efficiency, and improves the care people receive in their homes through systematic monitoring, prevention of risks, and support to carers.

  1. Buddi

Buddi Connect is a smartphone app, enabling people to stay in touch with those they care for. Safe groups of connections are united through the app to share private, secure messages and raise instant alerts when help is needed. Important messages from the NHS can be shared directly to users. During this difficult time, while many vulnerable people are missing the face-to-face contact of family, friends and carers, the reassurance that help is available at the touch of a button is more important than ever.

  1. Just Checking

Just Checking supplies activity monitoring systems, used by local authorities to help with assessment of older people in their homes, for social care. Sensors pick up activities of daily living and display the data in a 24-hour chart. The company also has a second, more sophisticated activity monitoring system, to help manage the care and support of adults with learning disabilities.

  1. Peopletoo Ltd/ Novoville

Peopletoo and Novoville have been selected to launch GetVolunteering, a volunteering app to fast track volunteers into clinical and non-clinical roles to support the fight against Covid-19. It will enable local authorities to quickly identify and assess capable volunteers in the local community to fill key roles to support social care in areas that have been impacted by loss of staffing capacity due to Covid-19, or for new roles that are required during the crisis.

  1. RIX Research & Media, University of East London

The RIX Multi Me toolkit provides highly accessible and secure social networking that serves as a support network for people with learning disabilities and mental health challenges. This easy to use multimedia network, with accompanying communication, personal-organiser and goal-setting tools, enables isolated and distanced vulnerable people to build stronger support circles. It helps them self-manage their care and actively limit the impact and spread of Covid-19 infection. Care professionals use the ‘Stay Connected’ RIX Multi Me Toolkit to remotely monitor and support people’s wellbeing in an efficient and friendly way.

  1. Simply Do

Simply Do will develop a virtual community of NHS medical professionals currently in self-isolation. These employees have significant expertise, experience and skills which can be unlocked virtually to help solve Covid-19 care challenges set within the platform. This will create a powerful ‘think-tank’ of medical professionals to contribute virtually to fight Covid-19 by solving wider health challenges (i.e. challenges faced in the care sector).

  1. SureCert

SureCert is a digital platform that connects people with job and volunteering opportunities. The system also manages background checks. SureCert can provide data on successful placements, and information to enable policy makers to better understand the labour market and volunteering supply and demand.

  1. VideoVisit Global Ltd

VideoVisit® HOME allows the elderly to communicate with their family members and home care providers through a virtual care tablet designed specifically for elderly. VideoVisit will measure how this virtual home care service can increase people’s feeling of safety and decrease loneliness during self-isolation.

  1. Virti

Virti aims to make experiential education affordable and accessible for everyone. Virtual and augmented reality, coupled with AI, transports users into difficult to access environments and safely assesses them under pressure to improve their performance. The system is used for training and patient education.

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Volunteer Support for Care Homes and Care Home Staff now available

Volunteer Support for Care Homes and Care Home Staff now available

A new organisation of volunteer health and care students has offered support to care homes and care home staff through a HIN pilot scheme.

HealthSHIP (Health Students Helping in Pandemics) are mostly health students (i.e. nursing, physio, occupational therapy, medical) with valid DBS certificates, and free time on their hands who are keen to support NHS and social care staff with everyday needs (errands, childcare, pet care, grocery shopping, admin, non-clinical tasks, etc). The scheme is nationwide – it’s free, quick and easy, representing 87 universities and over 1,100 users.

HealthSHIP are keen to support Care Home Pioneer staff with any shopping, errands or help for their own families. In addition, care homes wanting volunteers to volunteer in their care homes can also request help – local medical students will volunteer to support if they can. The Health Innovation Network is helping to coordinate this pilot.

To register for the scheme, care home managers should:

1) Make an account for your care home on www.healthSHIP.org with your email and post tasks/roles you need help with. This would then prompt medical student volunteers to respond to the requests and then become volunteers of the care homes / care home staff.

2. Distribute the HealthSHIP website to your care home staff members who can sign up in a personal capacity and request help for their personal lives. You will need to email HealthSHIP with the personal email addresses of care home staff who want to register, so they can be verified.

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Maintaining Activities for Older Adults during Covid-19

Maintaining activities for Older Adults during Covid-19

Click here to watch the YouTube video to understand the needs of people living with dementia during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Activities Guide below will signpost you to excellent activities suitable for such population.

This guide to online resources for those providing care for people with dementia, is a resource that Health Innovation Network has compiled in collaboration with CHAIN members.

Activities for Older Adults During Covid-19 – aims to support the provision of free to use dementia friendly activities for older adult’s in mental health inpatient settings, Care Homes, supported housing and to those living in their own homes during the national response to Covid-19. You can download using the link below. Please share this guide with your colleagues and other relevant organisations.

 

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New funding opportunities for members April

New funding opportunities for members

We try to make this as relevant to you as possible so please let us know if there is anything we have missed that you feel should be included.

RISPRO International Collaboration Call. Deadline: 30th May 2020
The Managing Agency of the Endowment Fund for Education (recently known as LPDP) has recently launched the RISPRO International Collaboration (RISPRO-KI). The objective of the scheme is mainly to accelerate the national invention through international research collaboration. The transformation of collaboration outcome from “Co-authorship to Co-invention” becomes a target of this scheme. The call aims to provide grants for health and other key areas. For more information click here.

GCRF demonstrate impact in developing countries: round 2, phase 1. Deadline: 6 May 2020
Organisations can apply for a share of up to £9.3 million to demonstrate market-creating innovations in lower income countries and emerging economies. For more information click here.

Creative England Investments. Deadline: open.
Creative England is supporting SMEs by providing competitive loans to digital businesses in order to make their growth plans a reality. The investments on offer are intended to fuel this fast-growing sector by financing business expansion and new products, leading to the creation of new high-quality jobs and Intellectual Property (IP). Loans from £50,000 – £250,000 are available with repayment terms ranging from 3-36 months. Interest rates range from 5% – 10%, depending on the risk profile of the applicant. This includes companies from within the digital healthcare sector. For more information click here.

OTHER FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES:

INNOVATE UK:
Innovation Scholars secondments: biomedical sciences, strands 1-3. Deadline: April/Various.
UKRI invites applications for individuals from any discipline wishing to spend up to 36 months (full or part time) on secondment in the biomedical sciences sector. £5 million fund. For more information click here.

SBRI: monitor and visualise domestic pollution to safeguard health. Deadline: 15 April 2020.
Organisations can apply for a share of £100,000 including VAT, to develop an air quality monitor to provide information and advice on pollutants in the home. For more information click here.

Innovate UK Smart Grants: January 2020. Deadline: 22 April 2020
Opportunity to apply for a share of up to £25 million to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations that can make a significant impact on the UK economy. For more information click here.

UK-Canada: enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability. Deadline: 20 May 2020.
UK businesses with Canadian business partners can apply for a share of up to £2 million, from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, for innovative projects that enhance productivity and sustainability of crop, livestock and aquaculture systems. For more information click here.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership. Deadline: 6 May 2020.
A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) links your organisation with one of the UK’s world-class knowledge bases (a university or research organisation) to power strategic innovation projects, embed expertise and drive commercial growth. needed to develop it, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership may be the answer. For more information click here.

For more information on all open IUK funding opportunities click here.

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ACCELERATOR (DASA):
Open Competition: Emerging Innovations
In this category, DSTL are encouraging the submission of proposals across a wide range of technology areas with the aim of finding new and novel opportunities for these to be exploited across Defence and/or Security. Emerging innovations are viewed as those which will deliver a proof of concept at around Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3 or 4, which in outline means delivering a proof of concept, with component and/or sub-system validation in laboratory-style environment by the end of your proposed work. Click here to find out more.

Open Competition: Rapid Impact Innovations
Proposals in this category are encouraged for projects which have a realistic prospect of achieving an impact within a 3 year time frame from the commencement of the project. In this category, there is an expectation that proposals will be funded only if there is a strong customer pull and capability need for the idea. Accordingly, additional effort will be required by suppliers to ensure there is positive user interest in the idea before submitting a proposal. Click here to find out more.

For more information on all DSTL – DASA funding opportunities click here. 

NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH RESEARCH (NIHR):

HTA stage 1 applications – researcher-led workstream (open call) Deadline: 6 May 2020.
The Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme funds research about the clinical and cost-effectiveness and broader impact of healthcare treatments and tests for those who plan, provide or receive care from NHS and social care services. For more information click here.

There are many funding opportunities with an emphasis on research. Click here to find our more click here. 

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (ESRC): Research Grants. Deadline: Open call.
If you have an excellent idea for a research project, the EPSRC have their Research Grants open call. Awards ranging from £350,000 to £1 million (100 per cent full Economic Cost (fEC)) can be made to eligible institutions to enable individuals or research teams to undertake anything from a standard research project through to a large-scale survey and other infrastructure or methodological development. Click here to find out more.

ENGINEERING AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL (EPSRC):
The EPSRC is the main funding body for engineering and physical research sciences. For EPSRC funding opportunities click here.

MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (MRC)
The Medical Research Council (MRC) improves the health of people in the UK – and around the world – by supporting excellent science, and training the very best scientists.

Health Systems Research Initiative Call 7: Providing evidence to strengthen health systems in low and middle income countries. Deadline: 28 May 2020.
Innovative proposals are sought from across the public health, social and biomedical sciences to the seventh annual call for the Health Systems Research Initiative. Up to £4.7 million is available for funding foundation and full proposals under this call. For more information click here.

For MRC funding opportunities click here.

TRUSTS AND CHARITIES:

Association of Medical Research Charities
Over 30 years ago a small, diverse group of medical research charities form the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) to unite the sector and provide it with a leading voice. Since then their membership has grown to over 140 charities.  In 2018, these charities invested £1.3 billion in medical research. To access their database click here.

OTHER UK GOVERNMENT, SEED FUNDS AND LOANS:

Strategic Priorities Fund: Centre for Doctoral Training in Food Systems. Deadline: 13 May 2020
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in partnership with government are pleased to announce a £5 million call to support one Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) focused on developing the next generation of interdisciplinary food systems thinkers. For more information click here.

THE BRITISH BUSINESS BANK: Deadline: Open.
BBB are a government-owned business development bank dedicated to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. Whether you’re looking for finance to start a business, grow to the next level, or stay ahead of the competition, they say that they can deliver greater volume and choice of finance. For more information click here.

UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund. Open. 
The UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (formerly known as The Rainbow Seed Fund) is a £27.1m early-stage venture capital fund building and growing technology companies stemming from the UK’s research base. For more information click here.

HSBC Loan Fund. Open.
HSBC UK has announced a £12 billion lending fund to support the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Fund includes a ring-fenced £1 billion to help UK companies grow their business overseas, as well as a broader package of support. The initiative is available to UK businesses with a turnover of up to £350 million. Applicants do not need to be an HSBC customer to apply. For more information click here. 

INTERNATIONAL:

The Global Challenges Research Fund. Click here to find out more.
The Newton Fund. Click here to find out more.
European Funding. Click here to find out more.
Grants available to UK through US Defense – medical research program Click here to find out more. 

Export Opportunities – To access the Department of International Trades Export Opportunities Pipeline click here

NEWS:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome & Mastercard COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard have committed up to $125 million in seed funding to speed-up the response to the COVID-19 epidemic by identifying, assessing, developing, and scaling-up treatments. The partners are committed to equitable access, including making products available and affordable in low-resource settings. The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will play a catalytic role by accelerating and evaluating new and repurposed drugs and biologics to treat patients with COVID-19 in the immediate term, and other viral pathogens in the longer-term. Currently there are no broad-spectrum antivirals or immunotherapies available for the fight against emerging pathogens, and none approved for use on COVID-19. For more information click here.

Pre-Announcement of ISCF Healthy Ageing Social, Behavioural & Design Research Programme
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) are inviting applications to the ISCF Healthy Ageing Social Behavioural and Design Research Programme (SBDRP) to support world-leading research that makes a significant contribution to the lives of people as they age.Proposals may include, but are not limited to:

  • Approaches that address creating healthy and active environments (including maintaining health at work)
  • The life course
  • Understanding the behaviour of consumers of healthy ageing products and services
  • Inclusive design.

A total budget of £9.5 million is available for the call and UKRI are inviting projects of up to £2 million and of no more than 36 months duration. These figures are presented at 100% fEC and ESRC will contribute 80% of fEC. The call for proposals will open in May 2020 with a deadline scheduled in June 2020

Innovate UK launches new 3-year programme for Young Innovators 

New findings from Innovate UK show that half of young people in the UK think their age is a barrier to business success. The programme will support up to 100 young people, with £5K funding, one-to-one coaching and an allowance to cover living costs. The national Young Innovators Awards will go to 18-30 year olds with a creative and ground-breaking business idea. For more information click here.

Also coming soon:
Healthy Ageing Challenge
Catalyst Awards:
UKRI is working with the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in the USA as a Global Collaborator in their Healthy Longevity Grand Challenge. They will commission a set of Catalyst Awards to support early stage innovation and stimulate interest in global opportunities.

Collaborative R&D Competition:
The aim of the Collaborative R&D competition is to focus on the high-potential early stage collaborative projects, which address key opportunities that would not otherwise be eligible for funding under the Trailblazer nor the Investment Accelerator programmes.

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing: our staff and community Covid-19 resilience message

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing: our staff and community Covid-19 resilience message


In these uncertain times following the outbreak of Covid-19, it is more important than ever that we exemplify our HIN value of ‘Together’ – not only among our own staff, but to our members, stakeholders, partners and the people we serve. There isn’t one “right” way to process and deal with a situation like this, but one thing that we can all do to make this time easier is to look after our own health and wellbeing and support others to do the same.

We have collaborated with King’s Health Partners to create the following practical tips for how to look after your mental health and wellbeing sustainably. To access the full resilience message, which includes resources and information for accessing additional support during this time, click the button below.

Tech challenge launched to offer digital support during Covid-19 outbreak

Tech challenge launched to offer digital support during COVID-19 outbreak

  • Tech challenge launched to combat effects of social isolation;
  • Innovators urged to find ways to deliver mental health and social care support digitally;
  • £500,000 worth of Government funding available to start work within weeks.

People confined at home because of Coronavirus (Covid-19) could soon benefit from new technology to combat the effects of social isolation.

Funding is being made available by NHSX through ‘Techforce 19’, for innovators who can find digital ways to support those who need help, including people requiring mental health support and those with social care needs.

The technology is intended to support those who may be most affected by the consequences of remaining housebound for long periods of time.

Announcing the fund, Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:

“If people cannot leave the house, we need to quickly find ways to bring support to them and today I am calling on the strength of our innovative technology sector to take on this challenge. Techforce19 will mobilise the UK’s incredible reservoir of talent to develop simple, accessible tools that can be rolled out quickly and help tackle the effect of social isolation.”

The programme is being launched by NHSX and is being managed by GovTech venture firm PUBLIC and the AHSN Network.

Piers Ricketts, Chair of the AHSN Network, said:

“The AHSN Network is dedicated to furthering successful collaborations between innovators and the health and social care system. Our well-connected teams throughout the country are ready to support NHSX and PUBLIC with this important call out to industry.

I encourage all innovators with a relevant idea, or with existing technology which could be adapted or scaled, to apply to this programme and help support the most vulnerable and isolated during this difficult time.”

In total, there is £500,000 available to bid for – with funding of up to £25,000 per company available to innovators with solutions that could be deployed at scale in the next few weeks. Specifically, the programme is looking for digital solutions that can be deployed quickly, and could include:

  • Providing remote social care;
  • Optimisation of the care and volunteer sector;
  • Messaging and communication;
  • Mental health support – for example through peer communities or self-management tools;
  • Any other solutions to ease pressures on services and people during this time.

Matthew Gould, Chief Executive of NHSX, said:

“Tech can play an important role in helping the country deal with the challenges created by the Coronavirus.  This competition is focussed on the problems created by isolation, which lend themselves to digital solutions. It will allow NHSX to accelerate the development of those solutions, so within weeks they can help those in isolation suffering from loneliness, mental health issues and other problems.”

The Government has strongly advised everyone in the country – but especially those aged 70 or over, people with underlying medical conditions or pregnant women – to reduce social interaction to help minimise the spread of the virus. Those considered most at risk of having serious complications from the virus – for instance people receiving treatment for cancer – have also been asked to stay at home for 12 weeks as part of efforts to ‘shield’ them from the virus.”

Techforce19 is a new challenge, open to innovative tech companies in this country who will compete to develop accessible digital tools to support people who are staying at home over the coming weeks and months.

For more information on the programme and how to apply, visit Techforce19.uk.

Recruitment for innovators taking part in the challenge programme opens today, Monday 23 March. The closing date for applications is 1 April 2020.

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How is the AHSN Network supporting the response to Covid-19?

Map of the AHSNs

How is the AHSN Network supporting the response to COVID-19?

All AHSNs within the AHSN Network are actively supporting the NHS and social care system regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you would like advice on immediate or future needs, and how best to present your offer to local and/ or national commissioners, please contact the commercial team at your local AHSN via the AHSN Network Innovation Exchange or register online. Use the postcode checker to help you find your local AHSN.

The government has provided national guidance on where to register products to support the Covid-19 response. Please find these details below.

PPE (Personal Protection Equipment)

Contact the Surgical MedTech Co-operative (one of NIHR’s Medtech and In vitro diagnostics Co-operatives) if you have a technology that could be adapted quickly for the healthcare setting to help protect healthcare workers against aerosol contamination. Find out more about their ‘Covid-19 PPE Challenge’ here.

 Vaccines

Contact Public Health England: nervtag@phe.gov.uk

 Ventilators

Contact the Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS): ventilator.support@beis.gov.uk or call 0300 456 3565

 Innovation and Tech

Contact NHSX: DNHSX@nhsx.nhs.uk

 Diagnostics

Contact Public Health England: coviddiagnostics@phe.gov.uk

General

The UK government has set up a service allowing businesses to share any support that might help the Covid-19 response, from PPE and medical testing equipment to transport/logistics and warehouse space. Find out more here.

If you have any other solutions (not specifically Covid-19 related) that could be useful to the health and care system during this unprecedented time, you can access AHSN advice and support by visiting www.ahsninnovationexchange.co.uk.

Are you taking your medicine? Nearly half the time, the answer is “no”

Are you taking your medicine? Nearly half the time, the answer is “no.”

This blog is by Ayobola Chike-Michael, Patient Safety Project Manager at the Health Innovation Network

The real life cost of non-adherence

Medicines are made to be taken. Right? Well, medicines are being manufactured, prescribed and dispensed, but up to 30–50 per cent of prescribed medicines may not be taken as directed. This is a big issue for John Weinman, distinguished Professor of Psychology as Applied to Medicines at King’s College London, who recently gave a presentation to representatives from all 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN) on this topic. It’s also a prevalent issue for doctors, pharmacists, patients, carers and relatives. If this is not an issue in your world, it should be.

“Non-adherence” to prescribed medication is when a person does not take the medications as directed. This is surprisingly very common. As a result of this, many kitchen drawers overflow with medicines that eventually get thrown away, or worse, cause harm to an unintended consumer.

A look at some of the contributing factors
It’s not only patients who feel the negative impact of non-adherence; evidence shows that there are poorer clinical outcomes and increased healthcare costs associated with it too. This 2018 OECD report states that poor adherence contributes to 200,000 premature deaths in Europe per year and costs 125 billion euros through avoidable hospitalisations, emergency care and outpatient visits. Good-quality health as defined by the OECD is three times lower in those who do not adhere to their medication. It is a huge drain on public reserves and a massive health challenge to overcome. Most significantly, it does not have to be this way.

So why would someone who is unwell and needs medication not take it? The reasons why transcend the smell or size of the tablets they are given. Some people do not believe that medication is important for them. Some worry about side effects or lose motivation and so refuse to take them or do not take them as prescribed. Research literature identifies almost 200 reasons for non-adherence. Some are obvious, others are less so. But when there are so many factors involved, how do we know where to begin supporting patients?

With adherence, patients experience an improved quality of life because their symptoms can be reduced…

Understanding the why

King’s Health Partners established a centre that addresses these questions and many others relating to matters of adherence. The Centre for Adherence Research & Education (CARE) provides a hub for understanding and addressing the reasons for non-adherence. The team of experts at CARE aim to improve patients’, caregivers’ and health and social care staff’s awareness of non-adherence and provide approaches to support patients.

CARE has carefully grouped the many reasons for non-adherence into three manageable areas: Capability, Opportunity and Motivation.

Capability. Some people do not know how to properly take their medication, or may have problems with their understanding, memory or physical ability to do so.

Opportunity. Some people are limited by situations outside of their control. These are external challenges such as financial constraints, access and lifestyle opportunities.

Motivation. Some have developed a negative perception about their medication through social pressures and stigma, or as a result of their perspectives and experiences (those of side effects or low moods, for example) can become convinced that the medications are not necessary or beneficial to them.

Improving adherence

It is important that healthcare professionals and carers understand, and support their patients’ understanding of, the impact of non-adherence. But equally important is that we promote and celebrate the benefits of adherence. With adherence, patients experience an improved quality of life because their symptoms can be reduced and they can benefit from increased physical function and improved health outcomes. This is a win-win for patients and healthcare professionals.

Some healthcare professionals feel limited in supporting their patients to improve adherence because of the tremendous time pressure they’re under, or because they don’t know how to go about it. The CARE approach enables collaborative working with the patient to find solutions. They train clinicians to understand the issues and provide them with user-friendly tools and support strategies designed for routine care. These are available on the King’s Health Partners Learning Hub.

To join our conversation around how to support patients in getting the most out of their medicines, contact a member of our patient safety team at hin.southlondon@nhs.net. Let us all in our individual capacities do what we can to make the world of medicines a better place.

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Don’t talk to me about savings – my innovation saves lives

Don’t talk to me about savings – my innovation saves lives

Patient safety and benefits are paramount when assessing new innovations, but commissioners need to understand the financial benefits too. Here Lesley Soden, Programme Director of Innovation at Health Innovation Network, explains how innovators can make sure they have a robust case by gathering the right data and accessing the right support.

Picture the scene: you’re promoting the ground-breaking clinical benefits of your innovation to a potential NHS customer, but the conversation quickly turns to questions about savings and ensuring a return on investment. This topic soon overpowers the discussion, and everything you had prepared on improving patient care or helping health professionals do their jobs better is forgotten. You’re left feeling perplexed about the NHS customer’s priorities and your own responsibility to the system.

The bottom line is that every NHS provider and commissioner will have a year-on-year savings target, usually between two per cent and nine per cent. To put this into context, for a specialist hospital with a £200 million budget, even just a two per cent savings target would be £4 million. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested in hearing about the workforce or patient safety improvement potential of your innovation. It does mean that they also need to see how you will help them save that cold hard cash.
How you can help
It’s imperative that you can prove your return on investment, or ROI, as well as talk about the system benefits of your idea. And the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Your ROI can be based on a number of factors, such as incident rates, patient or staff satisfaction rates, length of stay, emergency re-admission rates, infection rates, A&E waits, etc., all of which can offer an overall financial benefit to the NHS provider. While there is typically a lot to consider, the good news is that there is funding available from bodies such as the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research), Innovate UK or health charities to pay a university or health economist for ROI expertise.

Your ROI must not only be more appealing than similar options available on the market; it must also be impressive against cost-saving innovations in other categories.

But what does ‘return on investment’ actually mean? Put simply, ROI means that the financial benefits associated with the investment are greater than the costs incurred. For example, Locum’s Nest, the digital app that allows doctors to book and get paid for additional shifts, identified that one Trust recorded savings of £1.3 million in its opening 10 months after adopting the app. The cost of implementing the system was significantly less than this figure, giving a clear return on the finances and time invested by the Trust.
 
Articulating the benefits
This example clearly demonstrates a direct benefit, but there are a number of indirect ones that can be used to illustrate return on investment as well. In healthcare, these are often calculated in productivity, or the time saved by clinicians with which they can treat more patients and reduce delays in a patient’s pathway through the hospital, the cost saving of which can be inferred. For example, the use of the Infinity ePortering solution at Northwick Park Hospital, which coordinated approximately 9,000 requests for porters to transport patients and equipment each month, reduced the average request-completion time by six minutes, saving the hospital indirect financial costs of over 10,000 hours in productivity time per year[1]. Other indirect benefits can be factors such as staff satisfaction, which are qualified through an increase in staff retention and, therefore, reduced recruitment costs.

As seen in these examples, good ROI analysis measures an innovation’s efficiency in terms of the expected benefit flow, whether direct or indirect. It should not be confused with “budget impact analysis”, which is an economic assessment used to calculate the actual cost of specific resources and equipment required to adopt and implement an innovation or service. Being able to effectively communicate the value of both direct and indirect ROIs is one of the most important skills any innovator for the health and care system can develop.
 
Understanding your audience
It’s important to remember that the benefits associated with an investment are not always measurable in a direct cash return to the investor. The value could be identified in terms of improved population health, the resulting decrease in demand on health services and an increase in system-wide savings. These can be more complicated ROIs to demonstrate, because the savings may not be immediately felt by the part of the system you are asking to implement your innovation. Convincing a commissioner to pay for something that they will not directly see a financial return on is not as straightforward a task. For example, asking a hospital to pay for an innovation that supports early patient discharge might seem like an obvious win for the trust, but in reality, the savings generated would directly benefit the commissioner, not the hospital itself. In these instances, you need to highlight the benefits to all parties. For the hospital, this could be freeing up bed capacity, resulting in an increased number of elective operations, which would generate an income for them.

Your ROI must not only be more appealing than similar options available on the market; it must also be impressive against cost-saving innovations in other categories. For example, a Board might decide, rather than choosing between two digital innovations capable of reducing temporary staff agency costs, to simply pay for online infection-control training in order to reduce infection spread rates among staff. Your innovation must be able to demonstrate a better return on investment than all other options, too.

Being able to effectively communicate the value of both direct and indirect ROIs is one of the most important skills any innovator for the health and care system can develop.

Calculating your ROI
A financial ROI is calculated through a cost-benefit ratio, which is the cost of an innovation divided by its benefits. This is often represented as an estimated value generated for every £1 spent on the intervention. The ROI value should be greater than every £1 spent to show a good return on investment.

For example, Public Health England’s 2017 report[2] on the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions showed that ESCAPE-Pain, an MSK prevention programme, had an ROI of £5.20, which is a great return for every £1 spent on the intervention. This demonstrates to commissioners and providers that the intervention of commissioning ESCAPE-Pain will generate a financial ROI.

Another example of a good cost-benefit ratio can be seen in SecurAcath, which secures percutaneous catheters in position on the skin, reducing the need for frequent catheter replacement or reattachment. In a comparison study against the use of a similar device, they found that SecurAcath decreased costs in catheter replacement by £17,952, as SecurAcath resulted in a 0% catheter replacement rate compared to 5.9 per cent for the other device in the same year it was implemented.

The most attractive cost-benefit ratios promise in-year savings, meaning that commissioners don’t have to wait a long time to reap the rewards of their investment.

However, don’t be dissuaded if your idea is more of a long burn. There is a focus in the NHS Long Term plan on keeping people well for longer, and whilst people prefer quick wins – don’t we all – it’s not a guarantee that you will get rejected if you can’t promise a short-term return. In this instance, your ROI analysis could focus on the cost of preventing diseases and conditions in contrast to the cost of treating these conditions (e.g. cardiovascular disease or diabetes).

Getting support
 If you are piloting your innovation within a health or social care service, you don’t just need to work out your costs; you also need to understand the current system data you’re claiming to be an improvement upon. You might be asked by a service lead to help identify the baseline data at the start of the pilot, and this data is contingent upon how your innovation will impact the service.

Normally, a provider will have key monthly performance indicators (KPIs) that are reported to their commissioners and their Trust Board in aggregated data. This could be measured in things like the number of face-to-face patient contacts, waiting times or staff agency costs. The piloting of an innovation within a specific service may require the running of tailored data reports for these KPIs to provide valuable baseline information.

A service lead will request that their internal informatics / business intelligence teams run these reports, as they are the only people in the company who are allowed access to that level of data. You will, then, receive this report from a business intelligence employee to build up your knowledge of the current system data. The request for data reports is often overlooked by innovators and makes it difficult to maximise the pilot benefit outside of a specific site if the right evidence is not generated.

Evidencing the ROI of your innovation is often challenging and costly. However, it could be money well spent if this evidence leads to paid contracts. There are several options available:

  1. Do the work in-house. It should be reasonably straightforward for you to provide estimations of savings based on the improvements or outcomes your innovation has achieved in health care settings. You could use data that is readily available such as:
  • Number of bed days that your innovation has saved (e.g. by avoiding admission or reducing planned admissions). This can be quantified by the cost of an NHS bed per day.
  • Staffing hours saved by the innovation and the associated benefits (e.g. efficiencies, more patient-facing time, reducing unpaid overtime, more effective management of follow-up appointments or reducing DNAs).
  • Better management of medicines, which leads to a reduction in medicines being prescribed.
  • Prevention of deterioration through early diagnosis or better management and the savings associated with reducing the risk.
  1. Find a masters student. Many masters students will be up for taking on your research as part of their dissertation project. Specifically targeting universities that have students from relevant health economics or data science backgrounds or who are specializing in the same area as the product (e.g. a physiotherapist) is a good place to start.
  2. Commission an external and impartial consultancy. The outcome of which should be a robust piece of work that clearly demonstrates the ROI. Some AHSNs provide this service.

 

Conclusion
It would be great if innovations were only assessed on the patient benefit, but unfortunately, the NHS doesn’t have a bottomless purse. And neither should it. That absolutely doesn’t mean that patient safety isn’t of the upmost importance, it just can’t be the only deciding factor. Make it easy for commissioners and NHS providers to  see the value – both financial and otherwise – of your innovation by making sure you start with a robust baseline, gathering the right data during any pilots, looking out for funding opportunities and working with your local universities to access masters or PhD students who are keen to undertake your health economics study.

 

 

For more guidance on understanding health economics and how to calculate an ROI, check out these resources:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/health-economics-a-guide-for-public-health-teams

https://www.weahsn.net/toolkits-and-resources/quality-improvement-tools-2/more-quality-improvement-tools/return-on-investment-roi/
 

References
[1] https://infinity.health/eportering/

[2] Return on Investment of Interventions for the Prevention and Treatment of Musculoskeletal Conditions (PHE, 2017)

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Meet the new NHS Innovation Accelerator fellows

Meet the 2020
NHS Innovation Accelerator Fellows

The NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) has announced the 11 high impact innovations joining the national accelerator in 2020. Four of the 11 innovators are DigitalHealth.London Accelerator companies; Health Navigator, Locum’s Nest, MyPreOp (Ultramed) and Safe Steps.

At a launch event chaired by Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement, the 2020 cohort of Fellows presented their innovations to key stakeholders, including Tony Young, National Clinical Lead for Innovation of NHS England and NHS Improvement, and Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust, both of whom also spoke at the event.

The innovations joining the award-winning NIA offer solutions supporting priority areas for England’s NHS as laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan. Their recruitment follows an international call and rigorous selection process, including review by over 100 clinical, patient and commercial assessors, an informal review by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), interviews, and due diligence. This year’s finalists include a medically certified smartwatch app capable of detecting atrial fibrillation (AF), a device reducing the angst of parents by enabling faster ADHD diagnosis, and an artificial intelligence (AI) platform bringing patients’ voices to life to improve care.

This marks the fifth year of the NIA, which is an NHS England initiative delivered in partnership with England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), hosted at UCLPartners. Since 2015, it has supported the uptake and spread of 62 evidence-based innovations across more than 2,210 NHS sites. Independent evaluations report that NIA innovations save the health and social care system £38m a year, conservatively.

Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement, said:

“The NHS Long Term Plan puts the latest technology and innovation at the heart of people’s care and the future of our health service.

“Right across the NHS patients are benefitting from world-beating innovations, spread as part of this programme, and now even more patients will be supported by new tools.”

Piers Ricketts, Chair of the AHSN Network, said:

“The NHS Innovation Accelerator is one of the flagship programmes of the AHSN Network. NIA Fellows have made a huge contribution to our health and care system since we started the programme five years ago, and we are proud to have supported these remarkable individuals on their development journey. It is gratifying to see their high-impact innovations gaining traction and visibility through our accelerator programme, and we are delighted that several NIA innovations have now had national impact in the NHS.

We look forward to working with the new NIA Fellows to help them scale and deploy their innovations across the country for the benefit of patients and the NHS.”

The 11 innovations selected to join the NIA in 2020 are:

Fibricheck: A medically certified app (CE Class IIA, FDA approved) capable of the early detection of heart rhythm disorders, such as atrial fibrillation, using a smartphone or smartwatch
Health Navigator: AI-guided proactive health coaching to prevent avoidable urgent and emergency care
Locum’s Nest: A locum app that connects doctors to locum work in hospitals, while cutting out the inefficient, ineffective and expensive agency middleman
Management and Supervision Tool (MaST): A dashboard that uses predictive analytics to generate insights which support staff to deliver high quality, effective mental health care by identifying those people who are most likely to require crisis services
MediShout: The world’s first platform to integrate all logistical departments in hospitals, giving clinicians an app to instantly report issues and using AI to predict future problems
MyPreOp: A cloud-hosted programme enabling patients to enter, own and share their preoperative assessment information
Patient Experience Platform (PEP): AI platform transforming healthcare and improving safety by empowering the digital voice of patients
QbTest: A CE-marked, FDA approved medical device that simultaneously measures attention, impulsivity and motor activity to speed up ADHD diagnosis and treatment evaluation
RIX Wiki: Software that enables people with learning disabilities to share personal health and care information for effective person-centred support in their communities
Safe Steps: Reducing the number of preventable falls in the ageing population through digital, evidence-based interventions
The WaterDrop: A low-cost, high impact innovation that enables patients to easily access fluids at any time without needing to call for help to help prevent dehydration and avoidable intravenous drips

New funding opportunities for members

New funding opportunities for members

We endeavour to make this as relevant to you as possible so please let us know if there is anything we have missed that you feel should be included.

The Coast to Capital Growth Grant Programme. Deadline: Open.  
The Coast to Capital Growth Grant Programme is now open for SME businesses who have been operating in the West Sussex, Brighton & Hove, East Surrey, Croydon, and Lewes District for at least one year.
The grant is designed to stimulate capital investment to help businesses introduce innovation and improve productivity. 
A total of £3.5m of funding is available to fund capital grant projects of between £40k and £170k. 

Businesses can apply for up to 40% grant funding towards the cost of equipment/software and other capital items to make them more competitive. Minimum project size is £100,000, meaning the applicant will need to bring 60% (£60,000) in match funding.
For more information click here.

Innovation Scholars secondments: biomedical sciences, strands 1-3. Deadline: Various.
UKRI invites applications for individuals from any discipline wishing to spend up to 36 months (full or part time) on secondment in the biomedical sciences sector. £5 million fund. For more information click here.  

The Health Foundation: Common Ambition. Deadline: 20 March 2020.
The Health Foundation has launched an exciting new £2.1m programme for partnerships developing collaborative communities where people, families, health care professionals and researchers work together to improve health care. The Common Ambition programme will support up to five ambitious teams across the UK to work towards a shared aim: to build sustainable change across health care through collaboration between those who use services and those who deliver them. For more information click here.

Biomedical Catalyst: Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS) Deadline: 25 March 2020
DPFS is an ongoing scheme, with outline deadlines every 4 months. The DPFS scheme is a key part of our Translational Research Strategy and supports the translation of fundamental discoveries toward benefits to human health. It funds the pre-clinical development and early clinical testing of novel therapeutics, devices and diagnostics, including “repurposing” of existing therapies. For more information click here.

Strategic Priorities Fund: Centre for Doctoral Training in Food SystemsDeadline: 13 May 2020
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in partnership with government are pleased to announce a £5 million call to support one Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) focused on developing the next generation of interdisciplinary food systems thinkers. For more information click here.

Health Systems Research Initiative Call 7: Providing evidence to strengthen health systems in low and middle income countries. Deadline: 28 May 2020.
Innovative proposals are sought from across the public health, social and biomedical sciences to the seventh annual call for the Health Systems Research Initiative. Up to £4.7 million is available for funding foundation and full proposals under this call. For more information click here.

OTHER FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES:

SBRI: monitor and visualise domestic pollution to safeguard health. Deadline: 15 April 2020.
Organisations can apply for a share of £100,000 including VAT, to develop an air quality monitor to provide information and advice on pollutants in the home. For more information click here.

Innovate UK Smart Grants: January 2020. Deadline: 22 April 2020
Opportunity to apply for a share of up to £25 million to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations that can make a significant impact on the UK economy. For more information click here.

UK-Canada: enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainabilityDeadline: 20 May 2020.
UK businesses with Canadian business partners can apply for a share of up to £2 million, from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, for innovative projects that enhance productivity and sustainability of crop, livestock and aquaculture systems. For more information click here.

For more information on all open IUK funding opportunities click here.

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ACCELERATOR (DASA):
Open Competition: Emerging Innovations
In this category, DSTL are encouraging the submission of proposals across a wide range of technology areas with the aim of finding new and novel opportunities for these to be exploited across Defence and/or Security. Emerging innovations are viewed as those which will deliver a proof of concept at around Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3 or 4, which in outline means delivering a proof of concept, with component and/or sub-system validation in laboratory-style environment by the end of your proposed work. Click here to find out more.

Open Competition: Rapid Impact Innovations
Proposals in this category are encouraged for projects which have a realistic prospect of achieving an impact within a 3 year time frame from the commencement of the project. In this category, there is an expectation that proposals will be funded only if there is a strong customer pull and capability need for the idea. Accordingly, additional effort will be required by suppliers to ensure there is positive user interest in the idea before submitting a proposal. Click here to find out more.

For more information on all DSTL – DASA funding opportunities click here. 

HTA stage 1 applications – researcher-led workstream (open call) Deadline: 6 May 2020.
The Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme funds research about the clinical and cost-effectiveness and broader impact of healthcare treatments and tests for those who plan, provide or receive care from NHS and social care services. For more information click here.

There are many funding opportunities with an emphasis on research. Click here to find our more. 

BIOTECHNOLOGY & BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL (BBSRC)
The BBSRC work with industry and academia (and other sectors and research councils) to develop world leading biotechnology and bioscience. For more funding opportunities click here. 

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (ESRC): Research Grants. Deadline: Open call.
If you have an excellent idea for a research project, the EPSRC have their Research Grants open call. Awards ranging from £350,000 to £1 million (100 per cent full Economic Cost (fEC)) can be made to eligible institutions to enable individuals or research teams to undertake anything from a standard research project through to a large-scale survey and other infrastructure or methodological development. Click here to find out more.

ENGINEERING AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL (EPSRC):
The EPSRC is the main funding body for engineering and physical research sciences. For EPSRC funding opportunities click here.

MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (MRC)
The Medical Research Council (MRC) improves the health of people in the UK – and around the world – by supporting excellent science, and training the very best scientists. For MRC funding opportunities click here.

TRUSTS AND CHARITIES:

Association of Medical Research Charities
Over 30 years ago a small, diverse group of medical research charities form the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) to unite the sector and provide it with a leading voice. Since then their membership has grown to over 140 charities.  In 2018, these charities invested £1.3 billion in medical research. To access their database click here.

OTHER UK GOVERNMENT, SEED FUNDS AND LOANS:

THE BRITISH BUSINESS BANK: Deadline: Open.
BBB are a government-owned business development bank dedicated to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. Whether you’re looking for finance to start a business, grow to the next level, or stay ahead of the competition, they say that they can deliver greater volume and choice of finance. For more information click here.

UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund. Open. 
The UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (formerly known as The Rainbow Seed Fund) is a £27.1m early-stage venture capital fund building and growing technology companies stemming from the UK’s research base. For more information click here.

HSBC Loan Fund. Open.
HSBC UK has announced a £12 billion lending fund to support the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Fund includes a ring-fenced £1 billion to help UK companies grow their business overseas, as well as a broader package of support. The initiative is available to UK businesses with a turnover of up to £350 million. Applicants do not need to be an HSBC customer to apply. For more information click here. 
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. Deadline for current round: 04.03.20
Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)  links an organisation with one of the UK’s world-class knowledge bases (a university or research organisation) to power strategic innovation projects, embed expertise and drive commercial growth.  For more information click here.

INTERNATIONAL:

The Global Challenges Research Fund. Click here to find out more.
The Newton Fund. Click here to find out more.
European Funding. Click here to find out more.
Grants available to UK through US Defense – medical research program Click here to find out more. 

Export Opportunities – To access the Department of International Trades Export Opportunities Pipeline click here

NEWS:

Coming soon:

Healthy Ageing Challenge
IUK have published the Healthy Ageing Challenge. The Trailblazer and Investment Accelerator calls are already on the IUK funding opportunities web page and are set-out in the newsletter above. Starting in 2020, up to £12 million will be available over 4 years to fund the programme Developing a pipeline – Early stage support:

Catalyst Awards:
UKRI is working with the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in the USA as a Global Collaborator in their Healthy Longevity Grand Challenge. They will commission a set of Catalyst Awards to support early stage innovation and stimulate interest in global opportunities.Design Programme:
The Design Programme will capitalise on the UK’s strength in design, in particular early-stage human centred design to maximise the commercial potential of ideas and innovations in the Healthy Ageing sector. The programme will tackle issues in both the supply and demand of design capabilities.Collaborative R&D Competition:
The aim of the Collaborative R&D competition is to focus on the high-potential early stage collaborative projects, which address key opportunities that would not otherwise be eligible for funding under the Trailblazer nor the Investment Accelerator programmes.

Saved by social: can young people be helped to cope online with social networks

Saved by social: supporting young people with mental health challenges using apps

By Rita Mogaji, Digital Marketing Manager at Health Innovation Network

I love social media. I love everything about it. I love that you can learn most things, connect with likeminded people, or even better, very different people from all over the globe. In that one click a whole world of interests, breaking news and funny memes is opened up to you. As Digital Marketing Manager of Health Innovation Network, I get a kick out of being able to share the latest digital innovations with healthcare professionals, connect with GPs on how they can bring Atrial Fibrillation (AF) checks to their clinics and – of course – stay up to date with the latest gifs, all through the power of social media.

But I appreciate that’s not everyone’s experience of the cyber world. And, while I am a lover of the online world, I am not ignorant to the darker side, where bullies troll and perfection is presented as a casual everyday occurrence. This is particularly saddening in the way that it is potentially affecting young people’s mental health.

In February, HIN hosted a Maximising Digital in Mental Health event, specifically aimed at discussing how we can maximise digital  opportunities in mental health for 0-25 year olds. At the event, leading children’s mental health expert and Professor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Developmental science and Head of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at University College London (UCL), Professor Peter Fonagy OBE, brought the problem to life in the statistics he presented. According to the first national review of children and young people’s mental health, the number of children and young people referred for mental health treatment has risen by two-thirds since 2012, university students reporting a mental health problem has risen five-fold.

The same report, titled “Impact of social media and screen-use on young people’s mental health”, published in 2018, found that despite there being a disappointing amount of robust research in this area, there was evidence of the potential negative impacts of social media, ranging from causing detrimental effects on sleep patterns and body image, through to cyberbullying, grooming and ‘sexting’. In these instances, social media was described as a facilitator to the risk, rather than the general root cause.

What if instead of carrying around trolls and bullies and anxieties in their pockets, young people were carrying around peer support and mental health professionals.

Harnessing the power of sharing

If social media is a facilitator to the risks, surely, it could also be a facilitator to a solution? While social media’s potential to be destructive and unkind cannot be denied, it also provides direct access to young people who otherwise are not accessing the professional help they need.

Research recently published by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) found that one in four children and young people referred to mental health services in England last year were not accepted for treatment, and those who are accepted have to wait an average of two months to begin treatment. What if we harnessed the power of social sharing? What if instead of carrying around trolls and bullies and anxieties in their pockets, young people were carrying around helpful advice through peer support and  mental health professionals. The same touch of a button that could see them post their latest adventure, is the same single-click with which they can access potentially life-saving help.

Facebook asks us what’s on our mind, LinkedIn asks us if we want to connect. What if we created bespoke social networks that used these mechanisms and approaches to help young people feel comfortable opening up to professionals who could help them? What if the technology for this already exists?

BESTIE, an app created by a team of young people, NHS professionals from Worcestershire Health and Care Trust and digital innovators, combines digital media, instant messaging, built-in games and supportive help and information within a safe, anonymous, online platform. Kooth is a digital tool that provides easy access to an online community of peers and a team of experienced counsellors, which more than 1,500 children and young people across England log in to everyday.  Calm Harm is a multiple award-winning app to help young people manage their urge to self-harm, which has been downloaded 1.13 million times worldwide and reports a 93 per cent reduction in self harm behaviour after each use.

The effectiveness of these innovations? They have taken the end user’s behaviours and preferences into account.

Time to listen

Time to Change, is actively campaigning to bring mental health to the public consciousness with its movement to get more discussions about our mental wellbeing out in the open – and that’s great. listening to the discussion at our digital mental health event it struck me that for young people it’s not only time to talk; it’s time for us to listen. Young people want to talk about their problems, we need to give them opportunities for exchanges they feel comfortable with.

Young people want anonymity. An irony that I’m sure isn’t wasted on anyone is young people’s desire for anonymity when it comes to mental health. When co-creating the Chat Health app with young people, the ability to be anonymous and create avatars was a much requested functionality. The same people who crave sharing their every dinner, dance move or new outfit, may want to remain faceless when talking about their personal challenges.

Young people want to text. During the Maximising Digital in Mental Health event we heard from different people about how young people felt that the telephone was too personal and they didn’t always feel comfortable talking to an ‘adult’ about the challenges they might be facing. But texting made it easier to talk and was more aligned with how they usually used their smartphones.

Young people want to be involved. Most of us are not digital natives, now most commonly determined by you having owned a smartphone from the age of 12. But most young people growing up are. The same way their feedback is adapted in every other app they interact with to personalise it to their specific preferences; they want co-design and to know they have helped shape and inform the end product.

Closing the gap

Deprivation heightens a young person’s propensity to experience mental health challenges. Dr Fonagy described how you can almost perfectly follow the underground line from east to west across south London, mapping the deteriorating outcomes and quality of care that children receive based on where they are from. On the face of it, investing in digital may serve to only increase this socio-economic divide. However, in the young person’s category access to technology is possibly less of  a concern with 96 per cent of 16-25 year olds own a smartphone, with tablet access expected to reach similar ownership in the next few years.

Younger generations will continue to become more digitally aware and savvy, and as a result, more susceptible to the negative sides of such digital maturity, and at an even younger age. So instead of all of our efforts going into stopping the rise of social media or preventing young people’s access, I believe we should  harness the power of social media to offer them support, help and – most importantly – the tools to manage their own mental wellbeing.

Young people want to talk about their problems, we need to give them opportunities for exchanges they feel comfortable with.

Check out the full list of digital tools presented at our Maximising Digital opportunities in mental health 0-25 years event, which also included tools to support new parents.

BESTIE is a mobile application that aims to help reduce the mental health risks of social media to children and young people. It combines digital media, instant messaging, built-in games and supportive help and information, all within an anonymous, safe online platform.

Baby Buddy is an award-winning, quality-assured pregnancy and parenting app, providing timely, relevant and personalised, bite-sized daily information for parents and families. The app signposts people to local support help lines and ensures new parents are confident and equipped to make decisions about their child and themselves during pregnancy and early parenthood.

BfB Labs’ mission is to develop and deliver highly engaging, clinically evidenced and cost-effective digital interventions that provide timely and effective support to young people so they can improve and sustain their mental health. BfB Labs evidence-based digital treatment interventions can be delivered at all points in the care pathway: before, during and after clinician-led support.

Calm Harm is a multiple award-winning app to help young people manage their urge to self-harm using ideas from evidence-based Dialectic Behaviour Therapy (DBT). The app has been downloaded 1.13 million times worldwide with a reported 93 per cent rate in the reduction of self-harm behaviour after each use.

ChatHealth is a multi-award-winning, risk-managed messaging helpline platform, providing a way for service users to easily and anonymously get in touch with a healthcare professional. Backed by NHS England’s Innovation Accelerator, evaluated by NICE and NHS Digital, ChatHealth is used by half of public health school nursing teams in England.

The free-to-download distrACT app by Expert Self Care allows NHS and other providers to give people easy, quick and discreet access to information around self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Created by a team of experts in self-harm and suicide prevention, doctors, NHS organisations and charities, the app can be customised for local areas that want to signpost local services and support all in one place.

Dr Julian is an innovative mental healthcare platform that increases accessibility of mental healthcare. It connects patients almost immediately to mental healthcare therapists by secure video/audio/text appointments using a calendar appointment booking system, which matches a patient to the correct therapist using filters such as language, issue and therapy type.

QbTest is a continuous performance test (CPT) that simultaneously measures the core indicators of ADHD: attention, impulsivity and motor activity. Evaluation of the QbTest showed pathway efficiencies, quicker diagnosis, release of clinical workforce time and improved patient experience.

Recognising that one in four young people who use a smartphone have experienced depression, anxiety, perceived stress and poor sleep, Humankind designed the pocket digital trainer, Goozby, which improves sleep, concentration and sedentary behaviour, using behaviour science and health analytics.

Kooth, from XenZone, is a transformational digital mental health support service. It gives children and young people easy access to an online community of peers and a team of experienced counsellors. Access is free of the typical barriers to support: no waiting lists, no thresholds and complete anonymity.

MeeTwo is a multi-award winning fully moderated, anonymous peer support app for young people aged 11-23. MeeTwo integrates the latest psychological research to promote the development of protective factors such as emotional resilience, empathy, social skills, stress management and coping techniques.

Mind Moose builds digital tools to support early intervention in children’s mental health. They are currently piloting virtual reality (VR) and online emotional support to help children with their mental and emotional wellbeing.

Mum & Baby app is a personalised digital toolkit to support women and their families through pregnancy, birth and beyond with access to local, national and international guidance and resources.

Mush brings women together to prevent social isolation and reduce anxiety in pregnant women and new mums. It empowers women to build local friendships, share advice and find support from an understanding community.

My Possible Self is the mental health app clinically proven to reduce stress, anxiety and low mood, developed by our team of in-house psychologists. The app empowers people to become their best possible self by using proven psychological methods and clinically-proven research from world-leading experts in e-mental health research.

Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. Shout exists in the US as ‘Crisis Text Line’, but this is the first time the tried and tested technology has come to the UK. The anonymised data collated by Shout gives unique insights into mental health trends to help improve people’s lives.

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A tale of my grandfathers and the revolution in cardiovascular disease prevention

A tale of my grandfathers and the revolution in cardiovascular disease prevention

Laura Semple, Programme Director for Diabetes & Stroke Prevention at Health Innovation Network, reflects on how new prevention techniques might have changed her grandparents’ lives.

I’ve often wished I’d had the chance to meet my grandfathers, Gerry and David. They were both fascinating and spirited people, who led interesting lives. Gerry travelled the world, had a successful career in industry and loved fishing for trout in the Welsh countryside. David worked in finance for London Transport and enjoyed vintage cars.

Sadly, I didn’t get to meet them because, like many people of their generation, they died too soon from cardiovascular disease in the 1970s and early 1980s.

This part of my family history is far from unique. It’s also a big reason why I find it so rewarding to be part of the movement of committed people working to prevent cardiovascular deaths in this country. February is National Heart Month and I’m thoughtful about the real progress that we’re seeing in south London in this area.

One of the main drivers of cardiovascular disease in the UK that Gerry and David grew up in was a lack of understanding around the impact of certain foods and other lifestyle aspects on heart health. It was very common to eat a high fat diet and the true scale of tobacco-related harm was not yet understood. But since the 1970s we have gained a rich understanding of the impacts of diet, exercise, tobacco and medication on heart health.

What’s more, we now have risk models, which enable us to accurately predict how likely it is that someone will have a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years, simply by knowing their BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose measurements today.

This all makes me wonder just how different it could have been for Gerry and David. Not only are we now able to offer preventative care that extends lives, but crucially these are also improving the quality of those lives.

At its core, most of our work is really about giving Londoners the support they need to live full lives without the burden of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The first success to highlight on the prevention front is south London’s contribution to the Academic Health Science Network’s national stroke prevention programme.

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is one of the most common types of irregular heart rhythm and contributes to one in five strokes. If Gerry and David had been born 20 years later, there’s a good chance that they could have been two of the more than 4,500 additional south Londoners whose AF has been newly detected since 2017.

The latest national stroke audit data shows that in the two years to March 2019 there were approximately 150 fewer AF-related strokes in south London than would have been expected from the previous years’ data. This is 150 Gerrys, Davids, Simones, Ritas, Mohammeds, and many others, who are still thriving as a result. We’ve recently published the results of our innovative work in improving AF detection through mobile ECG devices here and an ongoing pilot of 14-day ECG patches on page 12 of Cardiac Rhythm News January 2020 here.

Then there’s diabetes.

This is a major driver of cardiovascular disease and it’s simply astonishing how much our experience and understanding has transformed since Gerry and David were alive. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, we were not as good at detecting type 2 diabetes, so some people lived with the condition for many years without a diagnosis, which in itself increased their risk of preventable ill health.

In general, there was far less freedom and choice for people with diabetes in how they lived their lives, with many being told to stick to rigid set diets.

But in 2020, we believe in giving people with diabetes as much freedom as possible to live the lives they want, without diabetes getting in the way. South London has a formidable partnership of colleagues committed to minimising the impact of diabetes on citizens’ lives. Together we represent 12 clinical commissioning groups, 12 local authorities, seven acute hospitals, two universities, the King’s Health Partners Institute of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Obesity, the Applied Research Collaborative, several industry partners and community organisations like the Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network The last two years has seen a major focus on type 2 diabetes prevention, with over 30,000 south Londoners referred to the NHS.

I’m curious as to what Gerry, David and their friends might have chosen if they had had access to Diabetes Book & Learn, a radical move to scrap the previous postcode lottery of self-management support for people with diabetes. In this new system, south Londoners are learning how to live well with diabetes at a time and place that works for them in their busy lives, with different languages, digital options, evening and weekend courses and telephone coaching all available.

Would Gerry and David’s employers have supported their access to diabetes education through the learnings of our Think Diabetes report?

People with type 2 diabetes are also increasingly taking charge and setting the agenda for their doctors and nurses in the innovative You & Type 2 programme in primary care.

Would Gerry and David’s employers have supported their access to diabetes education through the learnings of our Think Diabetes report? This was supported by former Labour Party deputy leader Tom Watson. Many forward-thinking employers are using the recommendations in this report to offer support directly in the workplace.

At its core, most of our work is really about giving Londoners the support they need to live full lives without the burden of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Healthy living is far from easy. People need holistic and non-judgemental support and this is why the offer of psychological support is built into Diabetes Book & Learn and many other new services.

There is a great deal more to do to prevent cardiovascular disease and exciting plans are afoot to do even more to tackle the longstanding health inequalities in our region. For now, I’m asking everyone who has played a role in the great progress so far to take a moment this heart month to remember the strides we have made together and renew our energy to take this to the next level.

If you are keen to join the fantastic team of people saving lives by preventing cardiovascular disease in south London please visit our webpages on diabetes and cardiovascular.  Alternatively, get in touch with me on laurasemple@nhs.net. This year we will be focussing on cholesterol and blood pressure as well as continuing to support our members with AF detection and improvements in diabetes care. The more collaborators we have, the more lives we can save.

I know that Gerry and David would be only too happy to see that things are different and getting even better, for the generations who came after them.

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NB: Gerry and David are not the grandfathers’ real names.

Self-management could help ease the high demand on GPs

Self-management could help ease the high demand on GPs

To help ease the high demand on GPs across south London, self-management is a priority in the NHS 10-Year Plan and focuses on key areas like diabetes prevention and management, cardiovascular, asthma and respiratory conditions, maternity and parenting support and online therapies for common mental health conditions.

Individuals need support to build the skills and confidence necessary for effective self-management of longstanding conditions, and health professionals need to be aware of and trained on the available supportive tools, taking account of any inequalities and accessibility barriers their patients may face.

Research presented by Self Management UK[1] shows that, on average, people living with a heath condition spend just three hours per year with their healthcare team—the rest of their time is spent self-managing these conditions. NHS organisations need to work closely with local authorities and other partners to provide the support and guidance to help south Londoners self-manage properly.

There are many interventions available to help support the self-management of common conditions, some of which are:

  • education for specific health conditions;
  • peer-led courses;
  • online self-management tools;
  • telephone support and telehealth; and
  • self-monitoring of medication and symptoms using digital technology.

How can innovation help? 

You can help respond to our local needs by addressing the following challenge statements:

  1. How might we maximise digital solutions to support self-management of health risks and chronic conditions?
  2. How can digital solutions emphasise patient responsibility and, acting in conjunction with the provider community, move beyond education, enabling individuals to actively identify challenges and solve problems associated with their illness?
  3. What are the barriers to public awareness and successful patient uptake of these self-management solutions?

We’d love to collaborate with you on these challenges. Please get in touch with Karla Richards karla.richards@nhs.net if you have a digital solution for health and care self-management, including for long-term conditions, mental health, heart disease, COPD etc.

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How technology can improve the delivery of social care services

 

How technology can improve the delivery of social care services

With a growing population of older and disabled adults, London’s demand for care is placing the social care system under huge strain. Further to this, London Councils estimates that boroughs across the city have experienced a combined loss of more than £4 billion in core funding since 2010 (a reduction of around 63%). We need to think differently about how and where services are delivered, utilising digital solutions to maximise the workforce and care provided.

Health and social care systems are critical to maintaining the physical and mental wellbeing of Londoners. We need a digital revolution in adult social care, starting with exploring how social care services could be delivered digitally. Technology has the potential to help free up staff time by enabling users to access services digitally, thereby improving their independence, efficiency and wellbeing and reducing the need for in-person care visits simply for reassurance. Where this type of digital solution has been implemented, service users report that it helps to increase their digital literacy and independence and reduces their social isolation. It has also led to more flexible working for social care staff.

On Friday 13 March 2020 at St Thomas’ Hospital we hosted an Innovation Exchange event on the ‘Digital Revolution in Social Care’. The event brought together our members and key stakeholders in this field to discuss and showcase the most cutting-edge digital innovations to both inspire and practically help our industry partners to shape the future of social care delivery.

If you are interested in learning more about this innovation challenge please email Lesley.soden@nhs.net or if you missed the event you can see a glimpse of what you missed below.

Enough of being digitally ‘done-to’

Enough of being digitally ‘done-to’: 2020 is the year of the nurse, let it also be the year of digital nursing

Recently, Health Innovation Network (HIN) hosted a roundtable discussion with senior nurses involved in digital from across south London. The event was chaired by Breid O’Brien, Director: Digital Transformation at Health Innovation Network with special guest speaker Natasha Phillips, Chief Nursing Informatics Officer: University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) and Digital Health’s CNIO of 2019. Breid and Natasha share some of the discussion highlights and why they are evidence that if 2020 is to be the year of the nurse, then nursing needs to be made a central part of the digital discussion in 2020.

We have a combined 62 years of nursing and healthcare experience and have seen an incredible amount of change in our profession during our careers, but the most significant has probably been the transformation of the time nurses spend with patients. Based on our experience and what we observe happening now, and depending on which studies you read, nurses currently spend approximately 20 – 25 per cent of their time on medication administration. In addition, data from Safer Nursing Care Tool (SNCT) observations shows nurses spend 10 per cent of their time acting as the glue in the system by communicating and raising issues. Seven per cent of time is spent on documenting care away from the patient (i.e. excluding documentation that happens by the bedside). At best, this means 37 per cent of nursing time is not spent on direct care.

This calculation started a lively discussion at our recent roundtable for senior nurses involved in digital across south London, prompting some to suggest that, in their personal experience, it is much closer to just one third of their time that is spent with patients. Additionally, data from “Productive Ward: Releasing time to Care” shows another third is lost to looking for things and duplicating work.

For many nurses, time spent on direct patient care is where the joy of work resides, and this is the time our patients’ value most. The group concluded this imbalance between time spent on tasks and time to care needs to change. We need to release time to care.

How technology could help

It’s undoubtedly true that technology is a huge part of the answer, but, as a profession, nursing is not yet reaping the benefits. We are often digitally ‘done-to’. We often have systems that are designed by others, such as patient flow systems, which, although fulfilling an important need, were designed to meet the needs of the organisation with little understanding of the increased workload for nurses. Attendees gave examples of innovative new systems implemented in their practices, which have led to the need for nurses to duplicate their notes. Under these systems, if nurses see 14 patients, they end up writing 28 sets of notes, as they have to create a physical and a digital copy.

Nurses are not routinely involved in the design of new systems, and other countries like the US are much further ahead in recognising nursing informatics as a profession. The group identified a lack of education for nurses in undergraduate and post-graduate environments when it comes to using digital tools in care delivery, though the group recognised HEE is working to change this.

Nurses are in a prime position to lead transformative change, with a depth of experience and a very rounded view of the system. Sometimes, we underestimate the role that nurses can and should be playing right now in system design. Technology can be overwhelming, the volume of data alone. But let’s remember – nurses have been using data for years, and effectively. If someone cannot explain a new technical system clearly to a nurse, then we argue that they need to get better at explaining it.

Imagine a world where digital is at the heart of our practice, the heart of our education and the heart of our leadership. This is happening in patches and where it does, the results show the great potential. It’s happening where change is clinically-led, where nurses sit on advisory committees and where nurses are embracing the opportunity to change their practice, not just digitise what is already happening.

Technology will not always save time, but it will make our practice safer, and it does have the power to improve our approach to tasks.

Year of the nurse

If 2020 is to be the year of the nurse, let’s make 2020 the year that nursing and nurses are put at the heart of digital transformation, and where these examples become the norm. Let’s make 2020 the year that we stop walking back and forth to computers and put the power in our pockets, the year we embrace audio and voice recognition. Let’s create a culture where newly trained nurses come in with bright ideas, and we create the right opportunities for them. Technology will not always save time, but it will make our practice safer, and it does have the power to improve our approach to tasks.

To do this, we need to stop the feast and famine approach to technology spending and projects. Bursts of capital funding won’t do the trick – expensive, capital-funded roll-outs are just the beginning. Successive governments have proclaimed innovation is a panacea and announced new policies, CQINs and mandates, as though they are the answer to a problem rather than the first step in a long journey of change. Privately, most will admit that they understand that change takes time. Let 2020 be the year that this is publicly recognised, and the slow, painstaking work of ongoing training and optimisation of systems is sustainably funded.

Nurses are close to their patients. Let 2020 be the year we use this to drive real change. What could we be asking our patients to do with technology to help us? Entering their own health information, accessing information, monitoring their own health trends? Too often there is still a fear of putting people in charge of their own care – hunger from patients to change the system will help encourage people to take risks, never with patient safety, but with innovative approaches to care delivery.

2020 is the year of the nurse – let it also be the year of change. If that sounds optimistic, that’s because it is. But after spending time in conversation with fellow senior nurses discussing these issues, we were left inspired and hopeful. Rather than battling organisational hierarchy and tradition alone, we vowed to do it together. To share and learn from each other and to create a new community of digital nurses. No more digitally done-to. The opportunity is there for us to work as a community. Let’s let 2020 be the year we take it.

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We know we need genuine public involvement in healthcare. Why are we still getting it wrong?

We know we need genuine public involvement in healthcare. Why are we still getting it wrong?

Andrew Walker, Deputy Clinical Director MSK and Evaluation Lead, Health Innovation Network reflects on a recent patient and public involvement and engagement process and the need for a relentless focus on true engagement.

Healthcare in the NHS has come a long way from the paternalistic, prescriptive model and principles upon which it was founded in post-war Britain.

The aspiration for greater and better patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) is at the heart of today’s NHS. There are multiple, high profile policy documents that reiterate its importance and the need to continue to focus on increasing patients’ voice to improve care. We now have lay member representation on the boards of NHS trusts and clinical commission groups and embedded into how research is prioritised (such as James Lind Alliance), designed and approved (such as INVOLVE and NHS Research Ethics Committees). There is also an increasing wealth of resources and guides from organisations such as INVOLVE and The King’s Fund to help us do PPIE well and in a meaningful way.

There are many examples of when PPIE has been done well, but there are still many occasions when we still fall short. Recently, I was involved in a PPIE process and I wanted to share my experience of how we fell short, despite best intentions.

Background to the process

In 2017, NHS England and NIHR published ‘12 actions to support and apply research in the NHS’, which tasked AHSNs to set out local NHS research and innovation priorities. Collectively, the AHSN Network, NIHR and NHS England commissioned ComRes to undertake a Local Survey of Innovation and Research Needs by engaging with key senior stakeholders nationally and locally. Published in June 2019, the report identified a number of priorities across workforce, mental health, digital technology and more. As part of an on-going engagement to explore and refine local priorities, the Health Innovation Network and CLAHRC south London jointly held a Patient Public Engagement event on with service users from across south London.

There were 10 participants with a mix of gender, ethnicity, age and physical/mental conditions. Dr Jane Stafford (South London ARC Associate Director of Operations) and I presented the background to the Survey, AHSNs and CLAHRC/ARCs. The session was facilitated by a PPI expert.

PPI perspectives on the priorities

In terms of the contents of the report, participants felt it was a useful start and broadly concurred with the priorities. However, they felt that some priorities did not resonate with them as patients (e.g. workforce) and illustrated the disconnect between what professionals working within the system perceived as local priorities and service users’ needs. The group wanted a greater focus on research and innovation that addresses the health inequalities and health needs of underrepresented service users. Participants were passionate in expressing a need to implement and deliver interventions and services that meet the needs of people from different ethnic backgrounds (e.g. Southwark has the largest African diaspora of all London boroughs) and excluded/marginalised groups (such as those experiencing homelessness). Participants also felt there was not enough focus within the priorities about improving patient experience, patient choice or personal budgets.

A feeling of ‘rubber stamping’

What I had not expected was the group’s strong criticisms about the process that had been used to identify local priorities. I had seen the session with PPI members as a step in the process of engagement. Whereas, they perceived it more as ‘rubber stamping’ a report that had already defined the local priorities. Specifically, they questioned why there hadn’t been public/patient involvement from the outset. Rightly, participants felt this would have improved the balance of priorities and made the survey more inclusive and comprehensive, and their involvement more meaningful. As I listened, the penny dropped and I thought ‘you’re right, we did it again!’

We highlighted that the survey report provided a sample of stakeholder perspectives and was a starting point for discussion and their input as valid and important as what was in the report. However, the group’s perception was that the timing and scale of PPI in the process gave greater status to stakeholders’ priorities. It also meant that whilst they broadly agreed with the priorities, they felt disconnected with some and couldn’t always see themselves or things that were important to them in the survey.

Being bolder and getting it right

For me, this process was a valuable reminder of the power words gain when committed to paper and how we can always improve our engagement with service users. The experience has renewed my personal commitment to this and to support others to do the same.

We need to be bolder in challenging colleagues and ourselves when we see PPIE is not being done appropriately or a process could be improved. For me, it comes back to the INVOLVE core principles for PPI of respect, transparency and responsiveness. If we can’t clearly demonstrate we’re addressing these principles – no matter the pressure – we need to stop and re-think our approach.

Health and social care are complex, dynamic systems where not one person or group can understand the whole system. It’s only by engaging with people from across the system (public and professionals) and by sharing our perspectives and knowledge that we can bring about system change.

This calls for a more radical shift where we cede power to patients and start to co-design and co-produce health and social care. But to get it right, this approach must also be backed up a commitment to provide adequate time, resources and political will and leadership – across the whole system.

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Latest innovation projects set to improve care for south Londoners revealed

Latest innovation projects set to improve care for south Londoners revealed

Ten NHS teams, working with universities and a wide range of partners, have been given vital funding to kickstart innovation projects designed to help health and care teams improve care for south Londoners and help services evolve to meet future health needs. The funding comes from the Health Innovation Network Innovation Grants, which have been announced today.

The innovations that will receive support to spread or be piloted range from apps for women in pregnancy to understand the risk of preterm birth or manage diabetes, to new devices to detect dangerous bleeding, to virtual reality on acute mental health wards to reduce stress and new ways to access mental health support that improve access while taking pressure off primary care. One of the projects will also develop mobile simulation labs for the NHS to test and improve technology.

All of the innovations meet current NHS and care needs – whether by addressing major health challenges such as diabetes, mental health and stroke prevention, or specifically helping the NHS to meet nationwide goals on safety or the NHS Long Term Plan.

Each project has been given up to £10,000 in funding. Small amounts of funding can be crucial for innovation projects to become a reality. NHS teams often struggle to find the initial funding to pilot new ideas in real-world settings to demonstrate the kind of results they need for support for wider roll outs. Academic Health Science Networks like the Health Innovation Network play a crucial role by helping these projects prove themselves in real world settings before going on to spread across the NHS where successful.

The winners were chosen after a rigorous selection process from an expert panel. In total 68 applications were received, with ten selected to receive funding.

Zoe Lelliott, Chief Executive at the Health Innovation Network, said:

“When it comes to innovation we have no shortage of great ideas in the NHS. What we often lack is the initial finance needed to get a new idea off the ground, and to generate evidence of outcomes so that others will support the project. The projects we’re supporting today are truly exceptional and stood out to us as highly innovative approaches that meet pressing health and care needs. We’re looking forward to working with these teams to turn these ideas into real benefits for local people.”

Dr Lindsey Bezzina, Junior Clinical Fellow, Emergency Medicine, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who has won an award to develop visible electronic queues in hospital emergency departments to improve patient experience and reduce pressure on staff, said:

“We are passionate about trying new ways to improve patient experience and safety and we believe better queue visibility will give patients reassurance and free up reception team time. Emergency departments are pressured and all you want is to do the best for patients. It’s difficult at the moment when we can’t easily answer their top question: when will I be seen? With relatively simple technology we believe we can answer this and make a huge difference to their experience, as well as supporting our staff. Technology and innovation will allow us to answer this and more. We’re well supported by our colleagues and leaders to innovate and try new ideas: this funding is additional piece of the puzzle we need to propel our project to the next level.”

Dr. Nicola Jones, a GP and Chair of Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group, whose team has won an award for mass screening in Wandsworth to prevent strokes and reduce health inequalities, said:

“The people of Wandsworth can look forward to a new and innovative local approach to stroke prevention. At the moment, over a third of people invited for a health check do not attend. We’re using this funding to kickstart an innovative new collaboration between Wandsworth community leaders and the health service, working hand-in-hand with local groups to get our services to those who need them most. By targeting hard-to-reach communities we will reduce health inequalities and we expect this award to be the first step in developing a new approach to screening that will benefit the communities we serve.”

The ten teams will be supported by the Health Innovation Network over a 12 month period to develop their ideas and pilot them in south London.

The winning projects receiving support to expand, pilot or develop further are:

1. Diabetes Prevention Decathlon, South West London Health and Care Partnership

2. Engage Consult – Digital Self-Referral for MSK, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

3. ‘Mass screening!’ – an innovative healthcare delivery approach to stroke prevention in high risk, hard to reach communities in Wandsworth through ‘Stroke Busting Health Checks’ in local places of worship and community networks, Wandsworth CCG

4. Creating a toolkit for effective implementation of the QUiPP app, King’s College London & Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust

5. Transforming delivery of antenatal care in gestational diabetes, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

6. CRADLE Scale up South London: Effect of a novel shock index early warning system on recognition and management of the compromised bleeding woman,
King’s College London & Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust

7. Improving Patient and Staff Experience and Safety with Queue Management Software in the Emergency Department, St George’s Universitys Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

8. Simulation Lab for Health Technology Development and Adoption: Discovery project, Oxleas NHS

9. Lewisham Primary Care Recovery College Pilot Project, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

10. Virtual reality relaxation and coping skills for reducing stress and challenging behaviour on acute psychiatric wards, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Winners of the 2019 Recognition Awards Announced

Winners of the 2019 Recognition Awards Announced

The Health Innovation Network (HIN) work together with a variety of health and care teams in south London to speed up the best of health and care for our communities. The HIN Recognition Awards 2019 celebrate some of the fantastic work and partnerships we are involved in.

Our membership is made up of organisations from across south London’s academic, local government and health and social care landscape. We work with acute and mental health trusts, clinical commissioning groups, community providers, local authorities, universities and third sector bodies.

Zoë Lelliott, Chief Executive of the Health Innovation Network said: “The enthusiasm and commitment across our membership to improve the lives of patients through innovation never ceases to inspire me. The Recognition Awards are a great opportunity to celebrate some of the very best work of our members. I am delighted the Health Innovation Network is highlighting examples of excellence in partnerships, Trusts and individuals in our community through these awards, and I congratulate the worthy winners.”

Over half of our team participated in the Recognition Awards in August 2019. We received many nominations and the winners were announced at the Health Innovation Network Award ceremony in Guy’s Hospital on Tuesday 24 September.

The results of the HIN South London 2019 Recognition Awards are:

Innovative Trust of the year

Winner: St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Special credit is given to the innovation and improvement initiatives by Ben Wanless, the physiotherapy team, Emma Evans and the New Beginnings Experience Based Co Design project improving the experience of birth in theatres, and Edward Jebson’s work in adoption of innovation products.

Excellence in adoption of Innovation and Technology Payment (ITP) products

Winners: Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust

Special credit is given to Elizabeth Aitken and David Knevett’s strategic approach to the adoption of ITP with full commitment to adopting all relevant products across the hospital.

Winners: Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Special credit is given to Jonathan Grellier for his continued enthusiasm and support for the ITP and Accelerated Access Collaborative, helping to achieve collaboration across the trust within both clinical and managerial teams.

Partnership of the year

Winners: Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, South London and the Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust and the Metropolitan Police

Special credit is given to Rachel Matheson, Magda Berge, Jon Garrett and Superintendent Mark Lawrence representing the three trusts and the Metropolitan police who have worked together, sharing learning to help each other succeed to successfully implement Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM).

Innovator of the year

Winner: Chegworth Nursing Home (Sutton Homes)

Special credit is given to Rekha Govindan, the first care home nurse to create Coordinate My Care (CMC) plans single-handedly as part of the CMC in Care Homes project.

For more information on how we work with members on innovation projects please contact hin.southlondon@nhs.net.

CRADLE Scale up South London

CRADLE Scale up South London

CRADLE VSA at-a-glance

A handheld device that spots women who at at-risk of rapid deterioration due to bleeding.
Working with maternity units in developing countries where the shock index was developed to help recognise and treat bleeding promptly.
• Deteriorating patients are complex and speed really matters. Innovation in this area is vital.
• Recent reports have specifically highlighted earlier recognition of bleeding, and lack of recognition of deteriorating vital signs, as points for improvement in NHS maternity care.
• If successfully rolled out, this will help teams spot women who need help faster and make care for women safer.


Shock Index device introduced to save lives in maternity wards

HIN Innovation Award funding will be used to pilot a device that helps teams identify patients experiencing serious bleeding in maternity wards more quickly. The new device, CRADLE VSA (CVSA), is a hand-held, upper arm, semi-automated blood pressure device that has been specifically designed and validated for use in pregnancy and pre-eclampsia by King’s College London.

Globally, bleeding is one of most common reasons women die around the world in childbirth. The main reason things get so serious is that the issue is not recognised and managed quickly enough. Identifying women with dangerous bleeding can be very difficult and it is widely acknowledged that delays in spotting and starting treatment for bleeding patients contributes to death and harm. Additionally, clinicians are not able to predict haemorrhage (bleeding) from risk factors very easily. This means the focus needs to be on early recognition of a compromised patient, appropriate escalation and prompt management.

Although the NHS has sophisticated systems to spot deteriorating patients in many clinical settings, the predictive capacity of early warning systems in pregnancy is less well-evidenced and most blood pressure devices are not designed with pregnant women in mind. The CRADLE VSA device was created by UK doctors working in developing countries, in response to a severe and urgent need to spot bleeding patients in the context of very high maternal death rates. However, its simplicity and effectiveness could also have huge benefits in other healthcare settings globally, including in the NHS.

How does it work? CRADLE VSA uses a simple traffic light system to warn clinicians when a woman may be in trouble after giving birth. The lights are triggered by standard thresholds of blood pressure as well as shock index to alert health care professionals to a patients’ risk of compromise. The shock index is an innovative and simple measure. It is calculated by dividing heart rate by systolic blood pressure and it is a highly effective way of signalling that someone is in trouble and needs help.

The biggest impact of this device is expected to be on patient safety. Use of this device should reduce delays and reduce maternal death rates and morbidity. This would also lead to a reduction in length of stay for patients and faster return to daily activities and time with their newborn.

The Innovation Grant funding will be used to introduce the CRADLE VSA device into labour wards and high dependency units at Kingston Hospital and St Thomas’ Hospital. The results will be analysed using PSDA cycles and a quality improvement toolkit will be created so that the device can be used more widely if successful in these settings.

This ground-breaking device has been extensively validated. It was recognised in the PATH – Innovation Countdown 2030 award as one of the top 30 high impact global health innovations to help accelerate progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It also won the prestigious Newton Prize in 2017 for excellence in research and innovation.

Find out more about our work in maternity and patient safety


Innovator Spotlight

Professor Andrew Shennan, Professor of Obstetrics at King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“If we can find ways to spot women who need interventions more quickly, we will save lives. I was inspired, with colleagues, to develop this device to help maternity wards in Africa but we believe that the simplicity and effectiveness of the device mean that it could also be really useful here.  I’m passionate about the potential for high-income countries to learn from low-income countries and think that some of most eye-catching innovations can come from teams working in extremely difficult circumstances.

“We’re starting with maternity wards for this initial project, but it’s possible that this device could improve safety in a wide range of settings in countries around the globe.”

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Creating a toolkit for effective implementation of the QUiPP app

Creating a toolkit for effective implementation of the QUiPP app

QUiPP at-a-glance

An app to predict the risk of pre-term labour more accurately
Wanting to improve the care for women at-risk and prevent people who don’t need to travel at this worrying time, travelling for specialist care. The team believed that technology and analytics must be able to help clinicians process the varied data needed to predict risk more quickly and more accurately, rather than this needing to be carried around and calculated in human brains. This tool supports better clinical practice by doing the analytics, clinicians handle the rest.
The new toolkit will help other units to adopt QUiPP more quickly.
• The app helps clinicians predict risk accurately, even in women with no symptoms. This means that treatment can be better targeted and outcomes will improve.
• This helps with a major and serious issue: in England and Wales, 7.9% of babies are born preterm. It is the leading cause for deaths under five years of age and survivors are at risk of major long-term morbidity. The economic consequences are estimated at £2.95 billion per year.
• As well as improving the use of treatment and specialist care, it is an effective communication tool for explaining risk and decreasing anxiety associated with threatened preterm labour. This means it has a role in improving mental wellbeing in pregnancy, promoting shared-decision-making and reducing anxiety that is in itself a risk factor for preterm birth.
• The NHS Long Term Plan has a specific commitment to tackle pre-term birth and a target to reduce it from 8 per cent to 6 per cent.

‘Better care for women at risk of pre-term labour 

The QUiPP app (Quantitative Innovation in Predicting Preterm birth) determines the risk of pre-term labour more accurately, helping to improve care for women at risk. Funded by the HIN Innovation Awards, this project will test the app in selected maternity wards in south London and create a toolkit to support wider adoption across other sites.

The app is an innovative and evidence-based diagnostic tool that uses analytics to help clinicians understand the risk of pre-term labour more accurately. This improves the lives of women and babies by identifying those who truly need medical intervention and reassuring those who don’t.

The app has currently been tested in 20 UK sites. The award funding will allow the app to be used in additional units at University Hospital Lewisham and for the team to develop and test tools for other units to adopt the app successfully. This project focuses on the implementation science aspect of the adoption of innovation: understanding the wider factors that impact on use and spread.

Pre-term labour is a clinical conundrum: it’s very common for women to be at-risk of pre-term labour, but the actual number of women who go on to deliver early is very low. To be safe, this means that many women are currently over-managed: they are treated as though they will deliver early even if the risk is low in reality. Because it is very dangerous to move an early baby once it is delivered, women at risk of pre-term labour are often moved to specialist hospitals further from home with specialist cots for early babies and are given more invasive care.

This tool has the potential to make a big difference and to improve care for these women. Whereas currently women are simply either ‘high’ or ‘low’ risk, the app calculates a percentage score so that clinicians can understand risk to a much higher degree of accuracy. This reduces the need for women at lower risk to move far from home and frees up the cots for the women who genuinely need them, so that people receive the care that is most appropriate to their risk and are not moved from their family and familiar midwife team if it is not necessary.

How does it work? It’s a clinical decision support tool based on a validated algorithm that incorporates existing point-of-care tests and risk factors. A clinician enters information about a number of biomarkers, such as the scan that measures the cervical length and the swab on quantitative fetal fibronectin. QUiPP uses all the data across risk range for each variable and provides a user-friendly clinical interface. This is more useful for making management decisions and women find it very useful to see and discuss their risk as a percentage, with a highly visual aid to support discussions and decisions around treatment.

The QUiPP app is free and has significant cost-savings associated with reducing unnecessary admissions and interventions. By freeing up NHS capacity for patients in the most need of care (e.g. maternal beds, neonatal cots), this intervention can save money and transform maternity pathways beyond the preterm birth setting. Qualitative findings suggest that the majority of clinicians involved in triaging threatened preterm labour found using the QUiPP app time-saving, simple and that it increased confidence in decision-making.

Find out more about our work in maternity


Innovator Spotlight

Professor Andrew Shennan, Professor of Obstetrics at King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“This is a great example of the way that technology doesn’t replace clinicians, it makes our lives easier and helps us to care more effectively for our patients. QUiPP calculates the risk in a quick and visual way, giving women reassurance at a worrying time in their lives. What you really want is an exact chance of what’s going to happen. That way women and clinicians can make the most informed choices.

“We know the evidence for this app is strong. The next step is to test it more widely in the real world. While the app itself is simple, the intervention as a whole is complex. We want to use this opportunity to better understand the environments and factors surroundings its use and create a resource for others that helps them manage these in their own roll-outs.

“These kinds of real-world testing are so important for scaling innovation. We hope that through this work, we can show the value of a tool like this and support others to use it in their practice.”

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Improving Patient and Staff Experience and Safety with Queue Management Software in the Emergency Department

Improving patient and staff experience and safety with queue management software in the emergency department

Visible queue management software in the emergency department at-a-glance

Visible electronic queues in hospital emergency departments to improve patient experience and reduce pressure on staff.
The desire to use techonology to reduce pressure on emergency department reception teams and improve patient experience and safety.
• Better patient experience in Emergency Departments.
• Improvements in staff experience in Emergency Departments.
• Fewer interruptions for busy reception staff, with knock-on efficieny benefits and a reduction in complaints about behaviour related to wait time information.
• Greater transparency and education around the complexity of wait times in Emergency Departments.

Visible queuing: a game changer in hospital emergency departments

HIN Innovation Grants will fund an innovative project to improve patient experience in the Emergency Department at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

This project will pilot a visible electronic queue management system so that patients can see where they are in the queue to be seen at any time. The team is understood to be among the first in the UK to introduce this.

The new system aims to improve patient experience and reduce the time receptionists in the Emergency Department at St George’s spend dealing with waiting time or queue position queries. Staff in Emergency Departments around the country deal with a high volume of these questions which can have a knock-on delay in booking-in new patients.

The idea for the new system came from junior doctor Dr Lindsey Bezzina who worked in the Emergency Department for a year and witnessed the problems reception teams and other staff encounter first-hand when it comes to waiting times queries. Currently, a whiteboard behind the reception desk is used to display general waiting times and updated every hour. Lack of visibility of individual positions in the queue can cause concern for patients, who can worry that they have been forgotten, passed over or missed their call to see the emergency team. This leads to repeated queries to reception staff about the waiting time and these queries are not always easy to answer due to the complexity of queues. As well as frustration for patients, these queries can occasionally result in aggressive and abusive behaviours which put additional pressure on staff.

The new system will offer people a code when they first arrive and register their details. This code will correspond with a number shown on an electronic screen, showing where the number is in the queue. The display will be visible from all parts of the waiting room and will make clear that there are multiple queues at any one time and that if someone arrives who needs more urgent care, the queue positions will move accordingly.

This means patients will be able to monitor their own position and progress in the queue, which provides assurance that they have not been missed or forgotten, reducing anxiety as well as the likelihood of aggression directed towards other patients or staff. The transparency the system will offer has the potential to educate people waiting about the multiple queues in operation at any one time, aiding understanding about the way Emergency Departments operate and why some people are seen more quickly.

The grant awarded will be used toward developing and implementing the queue management software in the Emergency Departments department. If this innovative pilot is successful and adopted as business as ususal, the software can be spread and adopted by other NHS emergency departments. There is also an opportunity for use of this system in outpatient departments at a later stage.

Find out more about our work in patient experience


Innovator Spotlight

Dr Lindsey Bezzina, Junior Clinical Fellow, Emergency Medicine, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We are passionate about trying new ways to improve patient experience and safety and we believe better queue visibility will give patients reassurance and free up reception team time.

“Emergency departments are pressured and all you want is to do the best for patients. It’s difficult at the moment when we can’t easily answer their top question: when will I be seen? With relatively simple technology we believe we can make a huge difference to their experience and support staff at the same time by reducing interruptions. Greater transparency over the complex queues we operate will help everyone gain a greater understanding of how teams are working to help people.”

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Virtual reality relaxation and coping skills for reducing stress and challenging behaviour on acute psychiatric wards

Virtual reality relaxation and coping skills for reducing stress and challenging behaviour on acute psychiatric wards

Virtual reality on the wards at-a-glance

Virtual reality headsets with relaxing scenarios introduced to six wards to reduce stress and anxiety in service users with complex and serious mental health needs
Research has shown that virtual reality has enormous potential to aid relaxation and improve outcomes. The team was inspired by pioneering work in the Netherlands using virtual reality with outpatients and wants to pilot this approach with inpatients in south London.
• Reduced anxiety and stress, helping people to manage their mental health conditions.
• Reduced levels of stress and challenging behaviour on wards.
• Better environment for both service users and staff.
• Fewer incidents of challenging behaviour and a positive effect on reducing staff stress and burn-out.
• Reduction in the need for seclusion.
• Parity of esteem, ensuring that mental health service users benefit from the latest technology.


Virtual reality on acute wards to help people with complex mental health conditions

Service users on psychiatric wards often report high levels of stress and difficulties regulating emotions, which can lead to violence and aggression toward staff and others. A team at South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust plans to address this through pioneering use of virtual reality.

Funded by the HIN Innovation Grants, this project aims to evaluate the implementation of a new virtual reality (VR) technology, VRelax, to reduce stress and arousal in service users with complex mental health conditions. The VR headsets allow people to experience calming and relaxing environments. Previously, the NHS typically asked people to think of positive mental imagery, which requires more concentration and imagination and can be challenging to sustain. Virtual reality will give people the chance to feel immersed in a more calming environment.

The team will introduce 12 new VRelax headsets and assess their effectiveness in reducing service user stress and associated risks (violence, aggression and seclusion) on six acute psychiatric wards within SLaM. VRelax consists of 360 degree videos of calm, natural environments. This includes a scuba diving experience with wild dolphins, a sunny meadow in the Alps, a coral reef, a drone flight, a sunny mountain meadow with animals, a guided mindfulness meditation on the beach or a wide range of other options, all shown in a VR headset. The team will train the nursing staff on the software and nurses will then be able to decide how and when to offer this to their patients, as an additional option that complements existing relaxation techniques.

Heightened stress reactivity is not good for individuals: it’s related to recurrence of mood, anxiety as well as psychotic disorders and it’s not good for staff or ward environments: difficulties regulating emotions can increase risk of violence and aggression, which put both service users and staff at risk. This can result in seclusion being necessary, with isolation potentially increasing service user stress and costs. A previous randomised cross-over trial of VRelax with 50 psychiatric outpatients showed strong immediate effects on stress level, and on negative and positive mood states. The team at SLaM wants to bring these promising findings to service users on acute wards in the UK.

In addition to improving care for service users, VR has the potential to have a real impact on the overall ward environment. By reducing stress and anxiety, the project hopes to reduce violence and aggression. This will create a better environment for both staff and service users.
The project has collaboration at its heart. The team will link three main institutions – SLaM, University Hospital Lewisham, King’s College London and University Medical Center Groningen, in the Netherlands.

Find out more about our work in mental health


Innovator Spotlight

Dr Simon Riches, Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust said:

“At a relatively low cost, this technology could have a major impact on the ward environment and the people in our care. Service users will have the chance to feel immersed in a more calming environment, meaning that both staff and service users can benefit from reduced levels of stress and challenging behaviour.

“We’ve brought a lot of people together for the project who are very passionate about digital health, including international colleagues. It’s still very new and the opportunity to collaborate on this emerging area of research is exciting.”

Dr Freya Rumball, Clinical Psychologist, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“There is strong evidence that relaxation and grounding techniques can have a positive impact on stress and anxiety, and we will be among the first teams to test this exciting new technology on acute wards in SLaM. Our pilot will advance the evidence base and we are keen to disseminate our findings as widely as possible.

“Innovating in the NHS can be challenging, as it can be hard to find the time to think about things from a fresh perspective. However, we’re really passionate about bringing new technology to the forefront of our clinical work and are actively supported in this by our management and leadership.”

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Simulation Lab for Health Technology Development and Adoption: Discovery project

Simulation lab for health technology development and adoption

Tech simulation labs at-a-glance

Mobile simulation labs for digital technology
The need for smart technology procurement decisions and faster confidence in new digital tools.
NASA doesn’t send its astronauts into space without testing its technology in its simulation environments. Similarly, NHS teams should not have to use technology in high pressure environments before it’s been simulated in a hi fidelity environment.
• Higher staff confidence in new technology.
Faster uptake of digital technologies.
• Better understanding about how technologies will operate in real, high pressure clinical contexts at a granular level.
• Smarter procurement decisions taken after real-world testing.
• Faster optimisation and benefits from new digital technology.

Mobile simulation labs for health technology

A new type of simulation lab aimed for the NHS to test and develop digital health technology is being designed by NHS teams. The HIN Innovation Grants have funded a new discovery project aiming to bring the benefits of hi fidelity simulation to health technology procurement and implementation in the NHS.

The NHS has used hi fidelity patient simulation for high pressure clinical scenarios for many years, where either actors or sophisticated dummies act as patients and scenarios are played out and recorded. This gives NHS staff a learning environment that is safe and controlled so that the participants are able to make mistakes, correct those mistakes in real time and learn from them, without fear of compromising patient safety. It also allows for changes in process and workflows to be identified and tested, to improve ways of working.

Simulation labs are well evidenced and used in contexts such as medical training (for example crash calls or trauma) but their application in a digital health context has not previously been systematically researched and tested in the UK. Given the abundance of new technology that NHS teams are now using, ranging from apps to new handheld devices to multi-million pound electronic record systems and equipment, this project aims to test the benefits of simulation for digital health.

At its most basic, simulation requires a screen and camera set-up, typically with cameras in the room that can show the action in real time. The simulation can use a mix of clinicians, staff and actors. Recording the action is crucial so that reflection and learning can take place effectively.

This project aims to show that simulation can be done in a cost effective, mobile way. For example, it will explore whether Trusts could create their own simulations by putting their own screens up and using in-house cameras and laptops at relatively low cost. If this is achieved it could help the NHS make better technology procurement decisions, help staff feel confident in stressful scenarios that involve multiple combinations of technologies and identify design improvements more quickly.

Technology simulation is the norm in many industries. NASA simulates its technology in the closest possible conditions to space using a neutral buoyancy lab. In healthcare, many American hospitals simulate technology on a regular basis. By contrast, while the NHS uses simulation for many traditional clinical scenarios it rarely tests new technologies in a genuinely live environment before they are procured.

The NHS invests millions in new technology every year. Roll outs of technology are complex and it can take many years for the full benefits of new technology to be realised. User testing of digital technologies at the development stage often take place separate to the clinical setting because tech companies struggle to access real-world practice settings as a result of governance, safety and capacity in teams. As a result it is not possible to identify, mitigate and manage problems faced by real users in the context of clinical care.

The team will be focusing on mental health contexts and will start with digital apps, aiming to create a simulation environment that is mobile so it can be easily repeated by other trusts without the need for an expensive standalone simulation lab. The pilot simulation model will be developed drawing on simulation theory and research, user-centred design, agile and implementation methodologies and technology engineering. The final result from this pilot project will be a powerful resource that supports adoption of digital technologies in practice and promotes a technology simulation culture within the NHS.

Find out more about our work in mental health


Innovator Spotlight

Dr James Woollard, Chief Clinical Information Officer, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

“The amount of technology we procure is only set to increase and often as clinicians, we find ourselves needing to use multiple new pieces of technology simultaneously to care for patients. The NHS has used clinical simulation for years and it’s time we applied this same theory to digital technology. At the moment, we’re asking our staff to use equipment that has very rarely been tested live in the kind of high pressure scenarios they face.

“Our focus is on developing cost-effective mobile simulation labs that will help us all learn, build confidence and make roll outs much faster. If technology companies can rapidly find and address real world problems associated with using their technology before they are rolled out to staff, we’ll see better product design, ease of use and faster adoption.”

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‘Mass screening!’ – an innovative healthcare delivery approach to stroke prevention in Wandsworth

Mass screening! – an innovative healthcare delivery approach to stroke prevention in Wandsworth

Stroke-busting health checks at-a-glance

Mass screening in Wandsworth to prevent strokes and reduce health inequalities.
People in hard-to-reach communities deserve better. Community groups and the NHS have been inspired to work together in new ways: to refuse to accept health equalities and to work in partnership for better outcomes.
• In Wandsworth, nearly 2000 people have undiagnosed atrial fibrillation (one of the main risk factors for stroke) and 35,000 people have undiagnosed hypertension.
• Detection of AF through health checks will prevent strokes, helping communities live longer, healthier and happier lives.
• If you are Black and of African or Caribbean origin you are twice as likely to have a stroke, and at a younger age, than the Caucasian population. This project aims to reduce inequalities by making sure everyone has access to the care they need.
• It’s a better experience – tailored to what people actually want and need.
• Trains people who are embedded in their communities to do new roles that can support the health service and introduces new models of care for people by working closely with community groups and faith leaders to target at-risk communities.


Stroke-busting health checks for Wandsworth 

To increase detection of the main cardiovascular risk factors across the most deprived areas of the borough, HIN Innovation Grants will fund a new project to offer ‘Stroke Busting Health Checks’ to 1,000 people at greatest risk of stroke in Wandsworth.

This co-produced, community-led scheme will see the NHS partner closely with faith and community groups, led by Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network, to use mobile ECG devices to test people for irregular heart rhythms (a warning sign for stroke) and offer wider health advice. The health checks will include Atrial Fibrillation (AF) checks using innovative mobile ECG devices, diabetes testing, blood pressure, cholesterol, and body mass index. They will be an opportunity to talk about the risk of smoking, including the direct link to stroke.

It is widely recognised that hard to reach groups have greater health inequalities and poorer health outcomes, with Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities at substantially higher risk of poor health and early death, including due to stroke. Traditional NHS approaches aren’t working well enough – these communities are less likely to attend NHS health checks, despite being the most at risk. Therefore, this team is going to work in an innovative new way to go to these communities and work alongside local leaders to engage people.
In total, the project aims to perform at least 1,000 “Stroke Busting Health Checks” in hard-to-reach communities at high risk of stroke. It will use healthcare assistants from local GP practices to offer regular checks through a hub and spoke model of engagement in high volume places of worship and association, including temples, mosques and churches.
To support the checks and help engage the community in this work, the team will also produce a bespoke film, distributed through social media, featuring local faith and community leaders with a call to action to take part in the checks. This culturally specific content can support other health projects elsewhere in the borough and beyond.

The project is expected to increase awareness of stroke and cardiovascular disease as well as reduce the prevalence of stroke in the Borough. All those identified at risk of stroke through the checks will be supported to attend further tests and commence treatment. Faith and community leaders will trained and upskilled to support and encourage their communities to access additional services where needed, including registering with GPs.

Find out more about our work in stroke prevention


Innovator Spotlight

Dr. Nicola Jones, a GP and Chair of Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“The people of Wandsworth can look forward to a new and innovative local approach to stroke prevention. At the moment, over a third of people invited for a health check do not attend. We’re using this funding to kickstart an innovative new collaboration between Wandsworth community leaders and the health service, working hand-in-hand with local groups to get our services to those who need them most.

By targeting hard-to-reach communities we will reduce health inequalities and we expect this grant to be the first step in developing a new approach to screening that will benefit the communities we serve.”

Malik Gul, Director of Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network, Wandsworth, said:
“Together, we’re bringing health checks into the community in a way that is unique and transformational. The approach unlocks the value and capabilities held in communities – in mosques, churches, temples, as well as in community groups and associations. This is a vital network of microsystems – the project is creating an innovative, emergent system that can offer the NHS new ways to make early health interventions more effective and work towards reducing health inequalities.

“Leadership has been essential – senior people across Wandsworth have been brave enough to say yes, we need change and yes, we’re ready to get behind this. Without strong collaborative and cross-sector leadership, the NHS would not be working in these new ways.”

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Lewisham Primary Care Recovery College Pilot Project

Lewisham primary care recovery college pilot project

Recovery College Pilot at-a-glance

A new way to support people with mental health needs in primary care, through 10 week courses delivered by clinical experts alongside people with lived experience of mental health conditions.
The team wanted to find a way to help people whose mental health needs more support than a GP can offer in a short appointment, but don’t need acute services. They were also inspired by the power of these courses to connect people through shared experience.
• Improved and open access for people who need support.
• In South East London, 40 per cent of GP consultations relate to mental health. This could help reduce pressure on primary care at the same time as improving access.
• This is a new way to improve patients’ understanding of conditions, confidence in managing their health independently and personal resilience: and for this to have a measurable impact on their subsequent patterns of contact with a clinician.
• Increases opportunities for patients/service users and carers within primary care to work within a co-production framework, learn together and reduce of mental health stigma within the primary care environment.
• Strong example of care delivered in different settings and opportunities for primary care to offer new services in collaboration with other parts of the system.
• An opportunity to gather evidence and make the case for a sustainable roll-out.
• Recovery colleges quite new so evidence base is still emerging but studies to date show a high return on social investment – up to £10.81 for every £1.


Recovery College: innovating to improve mental health support in primary care 

A new project to take mental health recovery, self-management and wellbeing workshops into GP practices will be funded by the HIN Innovation Grants.

From the team that leads SLaM’s successful Recovery College, this project will take its model to GP practices. Recovery Colleges focus on hope, opportunity and choice/control- co production. They enable the students to become experts in their own self-care, and develop skills they need for living and working.

Students are usually individuals who do not currently need acute mental health services but do need more support than they’re able to get from busy GPs at present. It could be for a very wide range of conditions, for example long term stress or low-level depression and anxiety that affects people’s daily lives but not to the point where it needs acute intervention.

The project will provide free, co-produced self-management, recovery and wellbeing workshops and courses for patients, carers and staff in primary care, using shared perspectives, skills and knowledge to help people recover and live as well as possible. By extending into GP practices for the first care, it aims to reach more people with support and improve access.

The pilot college will be based within a health centre in Lewisham and aimed at service users/patients registered with five GP surgeries at in and around New Cross. A key part of the approach is that the trainers are paired together so that there is one ‘peer recovery trainer’ – someone who has lived experience of mental ill-health or distress as a service user – and a ‘professional trainer’ – someone who has professional experience. This means students get the clinical perspective and a personal narrative so that they can discuss and learn from someone who knows what it can be like, and feel more comfortable to share personal experiences.

Recovery College also helps people to network and meet people who are in a similar circumstance, increasing peer support. Often people are isolated and benefit from social networks. Learning about staying well in addition to having opportunities to stay connected can be very helpful for recovery. The team plans to offer a range of courses over a ten week pilot period. The courses will be co-designed, based on current SLaM Recovery College content, including topics around depression, anxiety, mindfulness, staying well and making plans and wellbeing.

The pilot will accept both referrals from GPs as well as self-referrals, with a maximum of 20 – 25 per workshop. Increasing access and routes to this kind of support will not only support people with their mental health, it aims to reduce the need for these individuals to use GP appointments for support that can be offered through the college.

The use of peer trainers has been very successful at SLaM Recovery College to date. Taking the peer trainer model into primary care is likely to be an extra and impactful support for the current NHS workforce when designing services and an additional forward step to tackle stigma and culture around mental health services.

Find out more about our work in mental health


Innovator Spotlight

Kirsty Giles, Manager (OT), SLaM Recovery College, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Our hope is that this pilot shows that recovery colleges can become an essential part of the primary care landscape, improving access to support for people with mental health needs while reducing the pressure on traditional GP appointments. Our trainers and our students are really brave, by putting themselves out there and sharing their story to help someone else. The approach is welcoming and effective.

“The college works with a really diverse group of people. As clinicians, we’re always learning from our students’ lived experience and are inspired by how they look after their wellbeing. This is a two-way knowledge exchange.”

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Transforming delivery of antenatal care in gestational diabetes

Transforming delivery of antenatal care in gestational diabetes

Improving care for women with diabetes in pregnancy at-a-glance

A package of innovative measures to help women with gestational diabetes: an app to help with monitoring blood sugars, a connected waiting room and guided support with food choices.
The team was excited by the potential of the new app to improve their communication and monitoring of women with diabetes in pregnancy. This is a chance to open up ways for women to continue to see their regular midwife team while still receiving specialist care.
• Potential to reduce deliveries before 36 weeks and caesareans.
• The NHS is working hard to make sure women have consistent midwife contact through their pregnancy by 2021. This could free up to 600 specialist appointments so that women can spend this time with their community team and have familiar faces throughout.
• Focus on education supports faster changes to diet and medication, helping to improve sugar levels more promptly over the course of the pregnancy.
• Values women’s time and creates a space to deliver education around food and exercise alongside specialist one-to one input.
• Gives women more control of their care as well as improving outcomes.

New innovations to improve care for women with diabetes in pregnancy 

A HIN Innovation Grant will go to fund the Kingston Hospital team to introduce innovative approaches to supporting women with diabetes in pregnancy (gestational diabetes). The team plans to introduce a sugar monitoring app (GDM-Health), guided shopping trips and a ‘connected waiting room’ with added benefits.
Currently women are required to prick their fingers four times a day, record this in a book and then have a face-to-face appointment once a fortnight. This new app and the changes that will be made to specialist midwives job plans will mean daily virtual clinics with midwives, run via the app and phone. Every day, midwives will go through all of the information received and contact anyone who needs support to get their blood pressure under control. Too often at present, such regular face-to-face appointments for diabetes in pregnancy can overly medicalise their pregnancy, increase anxiety, result in lots of time spent at the hospital and take away a woman’s feeling of control over their pregnancy as it is closely monitored by medical professionals.

Research has shown that gestational diabetes can be an indicator that a woman is more likely to develop diabetes later in life, and that the children of mothers with gestational diabetes are more likely to be obese and to develop diabetes themselves. Risk factors for this condition include increased body mass index, maternal age and non-caucasian ethnicity, factors which are present in south London’s population. Effective interventions that support education around diet, weight and exercise are essential to try and prevent poor health later in life.

There are three main aspects to the pilot:

• Using a new app, women will upload the sugar measurements they take four times each day so it can be reviewed in real-time by specialist midwives. Work arrangements for the midwives will be redesigned to ensure that there is someone available Monday to Friday to answer queries by phone or email, and proactively monitor results – so that the team can act more quickly with diet advice or medication adjustments to improve sugar control and reduce the risks to mother and baby.
• The team will also seize the opportunities of the waiting room to create a ‘connected waiting room’ that encourages exercise, healthy eating and peer bonding to help women explore ways to maintain good sugar levels alongside a healthy pregnancy. The waiting room is a key opportunity as women will often have appointments with more than one team member in the clinic, meaning that there is time spent in the room between appointments. To maximise the value of that time, the team will bring the room alive and introduce a library of recipe books, posters around diet and exercise in pregnancy and conversation prompts to encourage women to talk to each other. They will also hold drop-in education sessions covering diet tips, breast feeding advice, first aid for newborns and other topics suggested by the women using the service.
• To support the women in their care further, the team plans to pilot guided tours in a local supermarket, where they will guide women through changes they can make to their weekly shopping and hold an education session on healthy eating at the supermarket, suggesting alternatives and exploring barriers to change.

The project aims to reduce caesareans and interventions in birth through more responsive antenatal care as well as increasing the space for education around food and exercise. The plans are also designed to improve continuity of care. Most women with gestational diabetes are diagnosed at around 28 weeks. When their care is transferred to the diabetic clinic it breaks already established relationships with their community midwifery team.

The new app’s ability to monitor sugars more easily and remotely should mean that women need two fewer face-to-face appointments with the diabetic clinic. Instead, women can then make two appointments with their usual community midwifery teams, maintaining consistent contact with the team that will support them when they deliver their baby and in the community after delivery. Continuity of carer is proven to reduce preterm birth and pregnancy loss, as well as increasing maternal satisfaction with the care received. The team predict that if successful, the pilot could move as many as 600 appointments each year back into community settings.

Find out more about our work in diabetes


Innovator Spotlight

Caroline Everden, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Lead for diabetes in pregnancy, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“It’s really exciting when you see something and realise the impact it can have on the women you care for. Women’s time in pregnancy is valuable and we want to use it effectively as we can. Whether it’s through the app to monitor sugars more easily, making the most of the waiting room or by giving them more time back to spend with community midwifery teams, we believe that there is more we can do.

“Our model will hopefully demonstrate that specialist input and education can be delivered in a way that values and supports the relationship established between a woman and her midwife, while also ensuring that expert attention is paid to a potentially very serious condition in pregnancy.”

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Diabetes prevention decathlon

Diabetes prevention decathlon

Diabetes Decathlon at-a-glance

A new ten week programme for people at risk of developing diabetes.
The team wanted to increase choice when it comes to Type 2 diabetes prevention support and want to make weight loss and physical activity easier to take part in and achieve.
• Reduce health complications for people and cost to the NHS through increased prevention of Type 2 diabetes.
• Potential for great clinical outcomes; including weight loss (targeted at 5% of their body weight) and reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and the devastating complications that it can bring (such as blindness and amputation).
• Increases choice and offers GPs more prescribing options.
• Opportunity for people to try different types of physical activity and learn about their health;
• Includes psychological support and peer support from other local people.
• Builds new relationships between the NHS and leisure/physical activity sector.
• Aims to strengthen social prescribing evidence and models.


Diabetes Prevention Decathlon to increase choice and prevent diabetes

A new Diabetes Prevention Decathlon programme will be funded by the HIN Innovation Grants. This project will pilot a new type of diabetes prevention programme over 10 weeks that offers patients more choice and encourages them to work together as a team, by introducing different types of physical activity while learning key information that can help prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.

There are currently five million people in England at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable through lifestyle changes. If current trends persist, one in three people will be obese by 2034 and one in 10 will develop Type 2 diabetes. About 10 per cent of the entire NHS budget is spent treating complications from diabetes. Reducing this would have a major impact both on people’s well-being and on resources.

The new pilot programme will include all of the diabetes education and self-management aspects included in a typical programme but will be marketed as a combined education and fitness programme for diabetes prevention. It will be designed to offer choice to patients who can only currently access the NDPP.

The Diabetes Prevention Decathlon will:

• allow participants to try a different sport each week, and with their teams achieve goals based on activity levels and weight loss and participate in organised team activities at the end of every session;
• hold sessions in sports centres, overseen by qualified coaches;
• pilot the benefits of gamifying weight loss, while incorporating key messaging about diabetes prevention, psychological support, and healthy cooking advice;
• provide every applicant with a basic activity tracker, to encourage them to continue to remain active between sessions, and reward those who meet their goals with points for their team;
• integrate with mental health support from a psychologist;
• be considerably shorter in length than the national diabetes prevention programme: 10 weeks compared to nine months.

The diabetes prevention space is well represented by the National Diabetes Prevention Programme, which is the largest of its kind in the world and includes both digital and face-to-face providers. While it’s a proven programme, the dominance of a centrally funded programme has led to a lack of choice as CCGs/Public Health teams are under no pressure to seek alternative local solutions. This new programme seeks to offer more choice and test new ways of combining curriculums and activities for patients in south London.

All diabetes prevention programmes, both digital and face-to-face, need to align to the same NICE guidance and provide broadly the same advice, and this programme will be no different in that respect. The course will be designed by expert diabetes clinicians and will align to NICE guidance to ensure it provides the best possible health advice to people at risk of diabetes. The programme will also be designed with input from local people in Merton.
Its key innovation is to pair the usual behaviour change advice with a truly engaging physical activity programme, psychological support, and live cookery classes to provide a more holistic experience in the one programme.

The funding will help the team co-design and deliver this course.

Find out more about our work in diabetes


Innovator Spotlight

Chris Gumble, Project Manager, South West London Health and Care Partnership, said:

“Often, Type 2 diabetes can be prevented and we’re passionate about helping to do that in south London. At the moment we’re asking everyone to take up a one-size-fits-all prevention programme, rather than offering a range of options. The Decathlon will add something new and exciting, combining physical activity with diabetes prevention over a fun, interactive 10-week period.”

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Engage Consult – Digital Self-Referral for MSK

Engage Consult – Digital Self-Referral for MSK

Digital self referral at-a-glance

Faster, digital referral for people with MSK conditions
The desire to use technology to speed up the time between someone seeking help and being effectively triaged, so that care is safer and more efficient.
• It’s estimated that 30 per cent of GP appointments are due to MSK conditions. Self-referral could make a huge difference and reduce pressure on primary care while improving access for patients.
• The new system will ensure faster triage and picking up of warning signs that could indicate more serious conditions, improving patient safety.
• Aims to help patients that are anxious about their symptoms and/or pain. When people are anxious, this can worsen pain and may make it harder for their condition to get better. An early phone call to reassure and offer advice can make a huge difference and mean that when they do come in for a physio or other face-to-face appointment, recovery is already underway.
• It allows NHS staff to work flexibly.

Digital self-referral for people with musculoskeletal problems and pain  

HIN Innovation Grants will fund a new project to improve care for people with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions or injuries.
Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions affect the joints, bones and muscles, and also include rarer autoimmune diseases and back pain. More years are lived with musculoskeletal disability than any other long-term condition. This includes chronic back, hip and knee pain. It is estimated that 30 per cent of GP appointments are due to MSK conditions.

The project will introduce a new digital self-referral route that will allow for faster triage for people needing MSK treatment. Using a system called Engage Consult, people will be able to self-refer via a website. As well as triaging people for treatment, the site will include pop up information about other local services that could help such as weight management, exercise and walking groups. Over time, the system will link up with other digital technology in use so that patients and clinicians can see and discuss care plans, along with additional education and videos designed to help people manage their condition more easily.

At the moment, patients are referred via GPs and must first speak to an administrator before receiving a call from the triage team. Digital self-referral will improve this by picking up any worrying signs and symptoms more quickly, without the current gap between the administrator’s call and telephone triage. Engage Consult is able to ask smart questions to screen for sinister problems such as Cauda Equina, Metastatic Cancer ‘Red Flags’, or Charcot. This will allow for screening for serious warning signs from the point of contact, reducing the timeline between someone deciding they need help and the time they receive clinical advice. In some cases, this could have a significant impact on safety.

Additionally, the new system is expected to speed up telephone triage when it does take place. At present, it can take up to 20 minutes to take a patient’s history over the telephone. By placing the digital history in front of the clinician the length of these calls can be reduced, freeing up staff time to do more triage calls more quickly.

This means more people can be seen and access can be faster. The service receives approximately 2,000 referrals coming in via GPs every year. Even if only 50 per cent of people decided to go direct to MSK specialists, the impact on GPs and extra capacity in the system would be very significant.

The project is taking a longer term view and working hard to introduce a modern care model, supported by digital platforms.

Find out more about our work in MSK


Innovator Spotlight

Heather Ritchie, Service Lead and Operational Manager, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“MSK affects so many of us and puts huge pressure on primary care. We’re passionate about finding ways to speed up access to our expert team and our management team has supported us to develop and try new ideas.

If people can get clinical advice more quickly it doesn’t only improve safety, it means that individuals will feel more supported and less anxious. What’s great is that this is additional to the 1-1 care we provide at the moment, so it’s adding a better experience for patients while at the same time removing some of the pressure from our GP colleagues.”

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Innovating in Urgent and Emergency Care

Innovating in Urgent and Emergency Care

Join our Urgent and Emergency Care Innovation Exchange event exploring the solutions that could transform urgent and emergency care services.

Briefing for innovators to apply to pitch at the event

The Health Innovation Network, and DigitalHealth.London Accelerator are hosting an Innovation Exchange showcase event on Urgent and Emergency Care on Tuesday 31st October 9.30 to 12pm.

We would like to showcase innovations that meet the challenges within London’s urgent and emergency care for example:

• Improving patient flow through emergency departments
• Supporting clinical decision systems
• User experience – directing patients to the most appropriate service
• Predicting emergency admissions
• Alternative models of care eg. Virtual / remote clinical support
• Quicker access to diagnostics / point of care testing
• Real time information for clinicians

We’re looking for a diverse range of digital technologies that are operational in emergency care clinical services to attend the event to pitch their innovations. The event will enable discussions with commissioners, providers and innovators on the potential for technology to address the challenges and pressures on all urgent and emergency care.

On the day we will start with our guest speaker from Healthy London Partnership to give a policy perspective and presentation from the Chief Clinical Information Officer from London Ambulance Service.

Following these presentations there will be an opportunity for innovators to provide a short pitch (3 minutes) to the audience on how they may adopt your innovation(s) in their organisations and participate in our world café session to discuss your solution in more detail. We are aiming to generate warm leads and fruitful follow on discussions by curating a receptive audience for urgent and emergency care innovations.

In order to select the best innovators to showcase, we are asking innovators to complete this short application form, to allow the Health Innovation Network and stakeholders to select an interesting and varied agenda. Please complete the attached for and return to us by 20th September 2019 at 5pm.

Successful applicants will be expected to complete a short registration form immediately, and 3 months after the event for us to quantify the impact of the event on generating new leads and conversations.

Timeline

• Application submission deadline: 20th September 2019
• Notifications to successful applicants: 30th September 2019
• Urgent and Emergency Care Innovation Exchange event: 31st October 2019

Applications to pitch are now closed please email  steph.mckenzie@nhs.net to register for the upcoming event on 31st October 2019.

 

20 New digital health care innovators set to transform the NHS

20 New digital health care innovators set to transform the NHS

Today the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator announce the 20 new digital health care innovators to be supported by the 2019-20 Accelerator programme at a launch event in central London.  Now in its fourth year, the Accelerator supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accelerate the adoption of digital health innovations into the NHS each year. The programme gives innovators improved access to the wealth of world-class research, medical technology, and resources London has to offer and supports NHS providers and commissioners find, and adopt, the new technologies.

Each of the 20 innovators selected for this year’s programme directly support the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan published earlier this year. The programme will support these SMEs to develop and deploy solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing the NHS.

The exciting innovations include a technology that helps clinicians plan and rehearse heart surgery by using patient scans and mechanics to predict the behaviour of a device once inside a patient (Oxford Heartbeat).  Another is a mobile app that tracks the number of steps walked by an individual and incentivises them to walk more through reward points that can be redeemed for products, goods and services (Sweatcoin). Cutting edge technology such as sensors, machine learning and home devices have been brought together in a digital solution to help carers monitor the health and well-being of elderly patients better at home (Birdie).

Anna King, Commercial Director of the Health Innovation Network said: “The Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN) have a unique role helping companies navigating the health system and supporting the NHS in the adoption of value-enhancing innovations. The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme helps deliver both improved patient care through the use of digital innovations, but also economic growth through the supporting the best innovative companies. The track record of previous participants in the programme has been fantastic, and we are excited about introducing these new innovations to the NHS.”

Sara Nelson, Programme Director, DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, said: “I feel really proud of the Accelerator and its achievements over the last three years. Today is another step forward and represents how both sides – innovators and the NHS – are coming together more and more to solve the very real challenges NHS organisations face every day. Digital technologies are not only creating new opportunities to change things for patients, they are also creating new opportunities to make things better for staff, and the wider system. We all share the ultimate objective of making our NHS sustainable and I am looking forward to helping the next set of digital innovators make this a reality.”

Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer for London, said: “I am delighted to support the Accelerator and this latest intake of digital health companies looking to bring their innovations to Londoners. The programme’s work ensures that London is at the forefront of digital innovation and is vital to building a future where its citizens benefit from the latest technologies to support their health.”

Tara Donnelly, Chief Digital Officer, NHSX said: “The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is part of a long- overdue digital revolution in the NHS. We must create a system whereby healthtech innovators are supported and can really feel our commitment to them and their ground-breaking work. This programme does just that, plus it supports the NHS and social care to make the most of the digital opportunity.”

Success stories the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator in previous years include; a product from MIRA Rehab that turns physiotherapy exercises into video games that can be customised to individual patients’ needs. This has been particularly useful for children and orthopaedic patients who often do not achieve their rehabilitative potential because they do not complete their exercises. As a result of its engagement with the Accelerator, MIRA Rehab is now working with Great Ormond Street NHS Foundation Trust, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Royal National Orthopaedic NHS Trust. It is now available in 10 NHS organisations across the country.

Infinity Health developed an app to improve patient flow in hospitals. It provides clinical staff with an improved experience from the traditional paper-based processes for requesting, tracking, and prioritising porter requests. The app is now used in Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, one of the busiest Emergency Departments in the country. It has helped save over 10,000 hours of staff time.

The work of DigitalHealth.London Accelerator companies has resulted in almost £76 million in savings for the NHS, with just over a third of this (£24.8 million) credited to the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator’s support – based on information self-reported by companies involved. Some of these savings are made in efficiency gains, for example finding more efficient ways of supporting patients to manage their own health conditions, whilst others may help reduce inappropriate urgent care attendances by providing easier access to GP services.

There have been an estimated 22.2 million opportunities for patients to benefit from new technologies supported by the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator.

For more information please contact hin.southlondon@nhs.net.

South London’s first transgender sexual health service, funded by HIN receives positive feedback from patients

South London’s first transgender sexual health service, funded by HIN receives positive feedback from patients

Last year King’s College Hospital in Camberwell were awarded funding from the Health Innovation Network to open the first sexual health service in south London for trans people. The clinic celebrated it’s formal launch at King’s on Friday 13 July 2019. Since its opening the new trans service at has already had a positive impact on trans people’s lives, giving people easier access to an informed, respectful, dedicated local service in South London.

In partnership with cliniQ, the new service offers a range of health and wellbeing initiatives to meet the needs of trans people. Services include STI testing and treatment; contraception; counselling; cervical screening; hormone testing, hormone injection and advice; sexual assault support; hate crime support; housing advice; and the PrEP Impact Trial.

The service includes a counsellor; a support worker; a nurse; and a doctor. Although the focus of the service is sexual health, it has adopted a holistic approach and works with other relevant services such as primary care, mental health services and social services.

In addition to clinical and support services, King’s is also developing and delivering a range of training materials for healthcare professionals to raise awareness, knowledge and skills in relation to trans health.

Since the clinic opened the clinic has seen over 50 people for a range of issues including sexual health testing; contraception; hormone level monitoring; hormone injections; advice and counselling. The feedback from patients so far has been really positive.

Evren Filgate, a 24-year-old service user, said: “With long waiting times for the specialist Gender Clinics, a lack of training for GPs and hospitals, and a general lack of understanding of trans healthcare, combined with difficulties accessing healthcare CliniQ at King’s as a walk-in clinic accessible to all trans people provides dignified, non-judgemental care for myself and my friends. Without CliniQ I would not have been able to access life-saving care many times over. Many trans people I have spoken to agree that CliniQ is absolutely vital to trans people in south London and its importance cannot be overstated.”

Dr Killian Quinn, Clinical Lead for Sexual Health Services at King’s, said: “I’m really proud that King’s and cliniQ are delivering this service here in South London. The service has the expertise of both sexual health professionals and trans community leaders to address not only any medical and sexual health needs but also psychosocial health inequalities of trans people.”

Dr Michael Brady, Consultant Sexual Health and HIV at King’s and National Advisor for LGBT Health, NHS England, said: “Trans and non-binary people experience unacceptable health inequalities and poorer experience of healthcare in general. Services like this one delivered by cliniQ and King’s provide essential clinical care and support as well as training for healthcare professionals and the opportunity to raise awareness locally of trans health issues.”

Michelle Ross, Founder of cliniQ, said: “cliniQ at King’s is fundamental in establishing trans and non-binary people’s health services in South London and further afield. At cliniQ sexual health and HIV are central to our services, as are holistic health and wellbeing. Trans people are disproportionately affected by all health issues – it is cliniQ’s reason for beginning to change these inequalities.”

Dr Natasha Curran, Medical Director, Health Innovation Network, said: “This clinic is a first for South London and fantastic example of genuine co-design in the NHS.  The Health Innovation Network are delighted to have helped open this important service that offers an innovative, holistic approach to the specific needs of trans people. We aim to fund and support healthcare innovation that improves people’s lives and helps staff deliver the best possible care, the innovation grant we awarded the clinic, will help it do just that.”

Cllr Ed Davie, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, London Borough of Lambeth, said:

“This new service is something we’re very proud to deliver alongside King’s and the Health Innovation Network. I’m certain that it will make a positive difference to the lives of trans people in Lambeth and across South London, providing a whole range of health support in a safe, comfortable environment. This will increase learning and awareness, both for health professionals in the issues that trans people and non-binary people face, and also for trans and non-binary people themselves around sexual health and wellbeing, helping us reduce inequality and ensure that everyone can access the support that is right for them. From our black mental health commission to leading the Do It London HIV campaign, Lambeth Council has a proud record of working with our minority communities to improve health and I’m very pleased this new trans clinic builds on this offer.”

Cllr Evelyn Akoto, Southwark Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Public Health, said: “I am hugely proud that the first dedicated health centre for trans, non-binary and gender diverse people is coming to South London. Everyone has a right to access healthcare safely and with dignity, however trans people can face unique barriers to certain services. Anything that we can do to help people lead healthier and happier lives is a step in the right direction. I am sure that this will have a positive impact on the lives of many people who live in Southwark and South London.”

Mayor Damien Egan, London Borough of Lewisham, said: “I am delighted that cliniQ has officially launched today. In Lewisham we proudly support the trans community, including the principle of self-definition. As the first sexual health service in south London for trans people we know that clinicQ will make a real difference for Lewisham residents, by making sure they receive the advice and care they need. This is a vital service and I am delighted that Lewisham is supporting it. I hope that more clinics will open in the future so that we can continue to support trans people”

The new service is funded by the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham and the Health Innovation Network (South London) and is run every Tuesday from 4pm – 7pm at the Caldecot Centre at King’s College Hospital.

 

South London NHS Innovation and Research Priorities Highlighted

South London NHS Innovation and Research Priorities Highlighted

Following a national consultation of key local health stakeholders conducted across all regions in England, the NHS innovation and research priorities for south London have been outlined in the regional statement from the Health Innovation Network.

The views of clinical leaders, managers and directors within each Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN) region were collected through qualitative interviews with 61 people and a questionnaire which received more than 250 responses in total. The survey was conducted by ComRes, an independent research agency.

This widespread consultation was commissioned by the AHSN Network, in partnership with NHS England and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to inform the publication of a statement of local NHS research and innovation needs for each AHSN region – as one of the actions in the NHS England and NIHR joint paper on ‘12 actions to support research in the NHS’.

Whilst there were some differences in regional priorities, common themes emerged which reflected both south London priorities and wider challenges facing the NHS and align with the priorities of the NHS Long Term Plan. These include:

  • a need for innovation and research addressing  workforce challenges
  • delivery of mental health services and providing care for patients with mental health needs, particularly in children and young people
  • integrating services to provide effective care for patients with complex needs – including  multimorbidity and frailty
  • use of digital and artificial intelligence technology

The National Survey Full Report outlines the findings from the consultation with local health and social care stakeholders across England. It includes a detailed analysis of the innovation and research needs at local level across all AHSNs.

Natasha Curran, Medical Director, Health Innovation Network said: “Thank you to the south London stakeholders for their invaluable contributions. The statement provides a really useful starting point to build discussions with wider stakeholders, patients and others in the community to address the priorities outlined.”

Professor Gary Ford, Chief Executive of Oxford AHSN, led the AHSNs input into the survey. He said: “The survey provides important information on the research and innovation needs of the NHS which will shape future work of AHSNs and the research community”.

The first cohort of LGBTQ+ Project Dare graduate!

The first cohort of LGBTQ+ Project Dare graduate!

Last week, Project Dare celebrated the graduation of their first LGBTQ+ cohort with a showcase event that saw students performing excerpts of the work they have created on the subject of positive body image.

LGBTQ+ Project Dare, funded by the Health Innovation Network, is a 12-week practical, creative and educational course that encourages individuals to participate in dares as a way of approaching wellbeing, encouraging confidence. It gets students to step out of their comfort zones in a safe space amongst their peers whilst also providing support for those within the LGBTQ+ community, for whom resources are often limited.

Ursula Joy, Lead Facilitator said: “LGBTQIA+ Dare Sessions allow participants a judgement free safe space in which to express themselves creatively, and address head on the issues that affect LGBTQIA+ bodies.”

“Within the gay community, there can be immense pressure to look certain ways. The need to conform in a society dominated by social media and marketing where binary bodies are under the spotlight and non-conformity is monetised.”

“LGBTQIA+ Dares not only gives participants a voice but challenges them to step out of their comfort zones, make positive and accepting connections to who they are, forge meaningful relationships and make changes in their lives.”

“Drama is the perfect vehicle for personal growth and the final showcase provides a sense of ownership, empowerment, and achievement.”

Josh Brewster, Project Manager, Health Innovation Network said:“The Innovation Grants are crucial for projects like “Project Dare” that would be unlikely to receive support from the usual commissioning sources. The grants are a fantastic opportunity to fund projects that can make a huge different to people and do so in ways that are very unique. They act as a great springboard for success allowing the projects to prove their value and hopefully get adopted elsewhere.”

Project Dare ran this course in collaboration with the Recovery College and all of the participants were recruited from the College’s database of service users. The Recovery College offers recovery and wellbeing courses with co-production at the heart of everything they do.

Think Diabetes Report calls on London employers to better support staff living with diabetes

Think Diabetes Report calls on London employers to better support staff living with diabetes

London employers are being urged to ‘Think Diabetes’ in the workplace in a new report published by the Health Innovation Network. Figures in the report show a major gap in the number of with people living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes attending free educational programmes to help them learn about their condition and live healthier lives.

There were more than 3.1 million people  diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes  in England in 2017-18 and it is estimated that in London over 671,000 people of working age (over the age of 16) have  either Type 1 or Type 2  diabetes. But the Think Diabetes Report shows less than 8 percent of eligible Londoners living with Type 2 diabetes are attending these courses (this figure is less than 9 percent of eligible people across England).

Reasons for people not attending these courses are varied, but previous reports have cited ‘time off work’ as one of the key issues.  Given the potential for employers to support staff with health, the Think Diabetes report makes a series of recommendations on how employers can help support their staff to take advantage of the education opportunities available to them, or even provide education for staff themselves.

To celebrate the launch of the report, we partnered with Diabetes  UK  to deliver the Think Diabetes Summit. The event brought employers, diabetes experts and patients together, to discuss ways in which organisations can support their staff including; running education sessions in the workplace, sharing new digital approaches to education with their teams so staff can complete these courses online and by making sure staff are supported to take time off work for education to help them live with a long-term health condition.

Diabetes is covered by the Equality Act 2010 as a long-term condition that has significant impact on individuals’  lives and employers are therefore obliged to make reasonable adjustments, although these adjustments are not defined. The case for employers adjusting their policies and supporting individuals to attend structured education is overwhelming.

The event was chaired by Dr Neel  Basudev, Diabetes Clinical Director of the Health Innovation Network and GP in Lambeth, who said:

“Employers have huge influence over the lives of the working population and a unique opportunity to help with what is arguably the greatest challenge facing our nation’s health: diabetes.

“There are more ways for people to access vital education about diabetes than ever before, with many parts of the NHS innovating with digital courses and new approaches to offer support. We now need to raise awareness of what’s on offer and remove as many barriers as we can. Workplace barriers are some of the simplest to address and changes can be made to support staff that will increase the health and productivity of the workplace.”

As well as hearing from diabetes experts and representatives from the organisations who were case studies in the report, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Shadow Culture Minister Tom Watson MP shared how he self-managed his own type 2 diabetes into remission. A passionate advocate for helping people learn to self-manage, he said: 

“By changing my diet and lifestyle I’ve put my Type 2 diabetes into remission. I feel fitter, faster, and healthier than ever before and this has given me a new mission to help others get healthy.

“Supporting people who live with diabetes is a major challenge facing our society, and one in which we all have a part to play. Employers in particular can play a key role in supporting people in their journey to learn more about their condition, and how best to manage it.

“It is time employers think differently about diabetes in the workplace and the Think Diabetes Summit is bringing together key leaders from across businesses and organisations to do just that.”

The Think Diabetes Summit was attended by organisations that collectively employ thousands of Londoners. TechUK attended the event and their CEO Julian David said: “techUK represents the companies and technologies that are defining today the world that we will live in tomorrow. I feel passionately that our members should also be leaders in supporting and developing the workforce for the future.  Diabetes is an increasing problem in our society and employers should be engaging with innovative ways to help support staff living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes to better manage their condition.”

Download the Think Diabetes Report and Toolkit here.

Innovation Exchange – the digital innovations transforming the NHS

Innovation Exchange – the digital innovations transforming the NHS

As part of London Tech Week, Health Innovation Network and DigitalHealth.London Accelerator partnered with DAC Beachcroft and NHS Improvement to deliver an Innovation Exchange evening at the Wallbrook Building.

At the event, NHS leaders from across the health system, came together to learn about the innovative digital solutions that are already helping trusts across the country to tackle current NHS workforce challenges and discuss the challenges of implementation, interoperability and cost. Attendees included; HR directors from Acute & Mental Health Trusts around London, Borough Councils as well as representatives from national bodies such as Care Quality Commission CQC, NHS England & NHS Improvement.

The overwhelming response to the information shared was encouraging, but also very timely. The recently published Interim People Plan highlighted the important role that digital will have to play to help the NHS combat the current workforce crisis, particularly in relation to productivity.

But digital transformation can be difficult when you consider challenges with costs, planning and implementation. As well as showcasing some of the solutions available right now, discussions were centred around what cultural change is needed to find and uptake digital solutions. A key point that was raised is interoperability – new innovations must be able to work seamlessly with existing systems for compliance and adoption to happen.

And as is always the case with any discussion around digital, the question of how automating services will affect patient care was raised. Workforce shortages are a fact of the NHS and while not all services can be automated, using AI to support the workforce in areas such as rotas and training will help clinicians spend more time on delivering better patient care.

As well as looking to the future, a series of innovations that are already transforming NHS services, by saving money, time and supporting staff, were presented on the night:

  • Locum’s Nest – a temporary staffing management platform to simply connects doctors to locum work in healthcare organisations. The App matches doctors to short-staffed shifts available within preferred hospitals across a chosen geographic area.
  • Virti – Virtual and augmented reality platform for workforce training that transport staff users into realistic environments and uses computer vision to assess how they respond to stress to reduce anxiety and improve skills. Used for mental health staff to provide simulation training.
  • Establishment Genie – An NICE-endorsed digital workforce planning tool for health and social care staff. The Genie collects staffing data for instant reporting at individual unit, organisation and group level, providing analysis and benchmarking capability not previously available to assure and support professional judgement in identifying safe and appropriate staffing levels.
  • Infinity – a secure collaboration and task management solution that integrates with existing health information systems and transforms the way healthcare professionals coordinate their activity and access critical information.
  • Lantum – is a total workforce platform transforming how healthcare organisations and professionals connect. Their next generation AI-powered software helps staffing managers to better manage their rotas, fill shift gaps & drastically reduces reliance & money spent on temporary staffing agencies.
  • Truu – is a digital identity platform that enables secure, digital, remote pre-employment checks. Truu’s approach uses direct connections between doctors’ and hospitals and the sharing of verified credentials that meets regulatory standards and is inherently GDPR-compliant.
  • CoachBot – is the world’s first digital team coach and is designed to help managers get their team performing at the top of their game. It’s built on the principle that technology should make us interact offline more, not less. CoachBot makes it easy for teams to regularly have conversations about the things that matter – it’s not about teaching managers how to be good managers, it’s about making it easy for managers to do the things that great managers do.
  • SilverCloud Health – is a platform that’s provides clinically effective and easily accessible digital programmes that reduce barriers to engagement for those wanting emotional or mental health support. Life changing for users, especially those who feel unable to access help due to stigma, personal situation, location, or service wait times;
  • Q doctor – uses secure video consulting as a workforce solution; to allow NHS organisations to delocalise their workforce across their geography, putting the right clinician in the right place at the right time. Video consulting decreases workforce travel time between sites and in the community and introducing more flexible working.
  • Induction App – is a secure communications toolkit that quickly connects healthcare professionals to the people and information they need to work more efficiently and effectively in hospitals. The functions include a directory of bleep and extension numbers, document and guideline sharing, secure messaging and departmental workspaces. Induction is used by over half of all NHS doctors and is used by healthcare professionals in most NHS trusts.

“It was incredible to see so many well presented company pitches for innovative solutions to tackle the workforce crisis in the NHS. Overall the responses were positive and no doubt many of the conversations that started here will help mitigate the workforce crisis and result in improvements to the NHS using digital technology in the future.” Lesley Soden, Head of Innovation, Health Innovation Network.

To meet the gaps in NHS workforce, the adoption and spread of innovation across the NHS must be accelerated. Increasing awareness of the products that are currently available and their successes in different trusts is the first step to ensuring a robust NHS workforce fit for the future.

Got a digital innovation project or pilot that could improve the lives of people within NHS south London but would benefit from some additional funding? Then make sure you apply for the Innovation Grants 2019.

Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound Grant Winner Kim Nurse

Winning films selected as part of Homeward Bound Project

Homeward Bound, an innovative project in which patients, carers and clinicians from across Kingston Hospital Trust worked with local students to create short films that explain the transfer home process for patients who have had prolonged hospital stays, has confirmed it will begin showcasing two of the final films to patients, family and carers.

The Homeward Bound project, funded by the Health Innovation Network, brought together film students from the University of the Creative Arts, along with the hospital’s staff and volunteers, to create a series of original animated short films. The films explained some of the issues and practicalities involved in the discharge process from hospital back home, which can often be an anxious process for people who have experienced prolonged hospital stays. The films were then entered into a competition and the winning two films will now be shown to hundreds of patients and carers across the hospital and wider community as part of the patient discharge process.

The first winning film, the Panel’s Choice, was selected a special screening of the shortlisted films at the VIP Screen in Kingston’s Odeon Cinema by an expert judging panel that included, Jan Ives, Patient and Carer Partner, Bob Suppiah, Director of Promotions and Partnerships at SkySian Bates, Chairman of Kingston Hospital, Sophie Beard, University of the Arts Senior Lecturer, Dr Kim Nurse, NHS England and the Health and Innovation Network’s Director of Digital Transformation, Breid O’Brien.

Breid said: “We’re delighted to have supported this fantastic project that is a great example of real co-production in action; hospital staff working alongside students, carers and patients and everyone involved having an important and equal role to play.

“I think all involved should be incredibly proud of what they managed to achieve with the Homeward Bound project. Ultimately what these films will do is make the transition from hospital to home that bit easier for patients, families and their carers, at a what is a very difficult time in their lives.”

The second winning film, the People’s Choice, was voted on by patients and hospital staff online and was announced at the Kingston Hospital Improvement Seminar. Both winning films uniquely provide information to patients to feel more in control of their departure and return back home more quickly and comfortably.

Both films will soon be shown on television screens around the hospital and made available online too.

Innovation Grants 2019

Innovation Grants 2019

We are looking to support 10 innovative projects that either test or pilot an innovation that improves healthcare, with a grant of £10,000 each.

Last year we funded 12 incredible projects that either supported innovative practice that could be spread and adopted across the health and social care landscape or encouraged cross-boundary working in areas of research, education and improvement in healthcare services.

This year, the Innovation Grants programme is open for applications from Health Innovation Network members in south London and their partners, be that a company, voluntary organisation, statutory body or similar.

To be eligible, the innovation should either be market ready or close to being market ready, and the lead applicant must be a Health Innovation Network member organisation. The funding is available over a year, and applications need to meet one or more of our three organisational priorities:

1. Our clinical themes:

Musculoskeletal (MSK)
Diabetes
Healthy ageing
Children and Adults Mental health
Diabetes / cardiovascular patients and a serious mental illness.
Patient safety and patient experience
Stroke prevention

We are particularly interested in innovations that promote self-management, help people get active – physically, mentally and socially, support ‘mind and body’, address cardiovascular risk factors in stroke such as weight and lack of exercise, or seek to improve maternity, neonatal, deterioration, dementia and end of life care or medicines optimisation specifically.

2. Real world validation.
The innovation must be capable of being evaluated within real world settings (e.g. in clinical services) in South London to generate evidence of effectiveness and /or how to carry out the implementation most effectively. This does not include research or clinical trials but does require a report being available to Health Innovation Network at the end.

The innovations we support via the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator and NHSE’s Innovation and Technology Payment are all real-world validated and may provide solutions that you are looking to implement and/or evaluate.

3. Health inequalities.
Innovations which meet specific local South London population needs and specifically address health inequalities in our local area.

Applications are now closed.

Key Dates

9 September 2019: Successful applicants notified


24 September 2019
: Innovation Grants Awards launch event


1 October 2019
: Project start date

If you have any questions, please email hin.innovationgrants@nhs.net, before 5pm on Wednesday 3 July 2019.

Polypharmacy in Care Homes

Reducing Inappropriate Polypharmacy in Care Homes

Aiysha Saleemi

Polypharmacy – literally meaning ‘many medicines’ – is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as use of four or more medicines and is extremely common among the older population. In fact, on average, care home residents in the UK take seven medicines a day1. This mix of numerous medications, at times prescribed by multiple clinicians, comes with a massive 82% risk of adverse drug reactions2.

Dementia week

I have been a qualified pharmacist for over 10 years and I am currently completing the Darzi Fellowship; a one year leadership course accredited by London South Bank University (LSBU). Within this year, I have been tasked with a project to ‘reduce inappropriate polypharmacy in south London care homes’. An exciting but daunting task for a 12-month period, which if I am successful in, has the potential to reduce hospital admissions, 5-20% of which are related to adverse drug events, and subsequently contribute to saving the NHS millions of pounds per year3 As part of this project, I also aim to specifically reduce the use of anticholinergics in people with dementia. Anticholinergic medicines, often prescribed for various conditions (such as hay-fever and depression), can cause a number of uncomfortable side-effects such as constipation, dry mouth, dry eyes and confusion, but beyond that, they also block the beneficial effects of medicines used for dementia.

Dementia generally affects the older population, for whom polypharmacy is commonplace. Taking numerous medications poses the risk of medication errors, non-adherence and adverse drug reactions and is particularly dangerous for the older population as some of these individuals may also be extremely frail leading to increased susceptibility to illness and slower recovery times. Between this, and the fact that at the current estimated rate of prevalence, the number of people with dementia in the UK is forecast to increase to over 1 million by 2025 and over 2 million by 2051, I was determined that my project would contribute to improving the quality of life of care home residents living with dementia.

My project has been focussed on four care homes in south London. At each of these care homes, we are trialling several interventions. One involves the nurses and carers being informed on the dangers of anticholinergic drugs for people living with dementia and which medications have high anticholinergic activity so they can highlight their use to the pharmacist or doctor. The aim is that the medicines will be reviewed and hopefully reduced or stopped if no longer providing the most benefit to the resident. Another intervention involves educating residents and relatives on the potential risks of polypharmacy so they will understand why some medicines might be stopped. Data is being collected around the knowledge and confidence of nurses and carers to highlight these medicines for review to the pharmacist or doctor and if the reviews result in reduced use of anticholinergics.

Working on this Darzi project is very new to me, but it has been a great way to not only use my pharmacy background to have a direct impact on improving outcomes for a vulnerable patient group, but it has taught me a lot about project management and the importance of building good relationships with all your stakeholders. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people from different organisations and getting to share my knowledge with others, knowing it might help them to improve outcomes for care homes residents. Although there are no results to report yet, I have learnt a great deal.

My top tips so far, for how to reduce inappropriate polypharmacy in care homes are:

1. Involve everyone in the decision-making. Polypharmacy affects the care home residents, relatives and staff members and so ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard is imperative. Consider holding focus groups for residents/relatives and attending GP and care home meetings to capture healthcare professionals’ opinions.
2. Keep your stakeholders updated and informed. Engaging all stakeholders once and then not communicating with them again will lose their enthusiasm for the project. Attend regular meetings or send information to be added to their local newsletters so that everyone is kept informed. Also, ensure that the GPs have agreed for any interventions to be trialled.
3. Target the type of medicines you want to concentrate on reducing. There are hundreds of medicines available in the UK and so it is important to pick the specific medicines you want to work on first. Think about the medicines that may be causing the most harm in your chosen population.

I hope the data collected from this project will demonstrate that these simple but effective interventions can contribute to reducing the use of inappropriate polypharmacy in care homes, and – most importantly – improve outcomes for residents with dementia. And if so, I hope that other care homes in south London will be able to easily adopt some of the methods used in my project and perhaps even spread it across the rest of London.
There are no results to report on this yet but final results will be published on the Health Innovation Network website in August 2019.

Be the first to read Aiysha’s final report, by signing up here

References
1. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (2016) The Right Medicine – Improving Care in Care homes Available from https://www.rpharms.com/
2. Prybys, K., Melville, K., Hanna, J., Gee, A., Chyka, P. Polypharmacy in the elderly: Clinical challenges in emergency practice: Part 1: Overview, etiology, and drug interactions. Emergency Med Rep. 2002;23:145–53.
3. Barnett N., Athwal D. and Rosenbloom K. (2011) Medicines related admissions: you can identify patients to stop that happening. Available from: https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/learning/learning-article/medicines-related-admissions-you-can-identify-patients-to-stop-that-happening/11073473.article?firstPass=false