Meet the innovator: Matt Elcock

In this edition, we caught up with Matt Elcock, Founder of Push Doctor; an innovation that provides clinicians with the technology to enable patients to access primary and secondary care digitally through the NHS across the UK.

Pictured above: Matt Elcock of Push Doctor

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence.

Push Doctor provides clinicians with the technology to enable patients to access primary and secondary care digitally through the NHS across the UK.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

There were two. The idea was created when Uber was scaling, and Push Doctor was born to provide quick, speedy, private access to digital primary care in 2013. At the time, there was typically a 2 or more week wait for an appointment, so Push Doctor set out to help solve this problem digitally. Then in 2018, the second moment was the widespread willingness to adopt this approach to primary care within the NHS and the launch of the NHS 10 year plan. That is when we focussed to deliver the product free via NHS through partners in General Practice.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. It’s your passion and vision which will serve you throughout, ensure that this is clear, long-term, and meaningful.
  2. Think iteratively about the journey, markets change in steps. To achieve your vision may take 2 or 10+ changes within the market. Work through them systematically.
  3. Bring the right people on your journey, who share your passion. This will be the difference between success and failure.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Acceptance. Push Doctor was the first to launch our service within the UK, we were a CQC test-case for regulation. We have worked hard with the regulator to ensure the service can be offered in a safe and effective manner. When we launched the platform, it was far from certain if this could / would be adopted for the future. I’m glad to say that we have demonstrated how it can work at scale and now is widely adopted across the UK.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

For us, saving lives. Push Doctor has been responsible for saving the lives of numerous patients who were struggling to get care in a timely fashion and those patients who were very sick (for example with Sepsis). Having access to a doctor in minutes picked up the red flags quickly and we have coordinated an expedited pathway into A&E because of this. This fact is the most rewarding aspect that any innovator could wish for.

Best part of your job now?

The best part of my role now is working with partners and our internal teams on how we can evolve our support to the NHS. There are so many opportunities where digital health can deliver real benefits to our NHS. In 2013, we had the vision that video consultations would become mainstream for primary care and now we see that digital health will offer benefits to doctors, patients and commissioners and solve so many of the current challenges faced. Our approach to these challenges is once again, unique.

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

This is simple; I would provide direct funding to innovators who have evidence to back the benefits. Proving out the effectiveness of an innovation is the first challenge, getting funding for it afterwards is often very difficult too. I think digital breaks down borders and delivers maximum benefit at scale, but this can sometimes be at odds with how funding streams work and limits the benefit digital can provide.

A typical day for you would include..

My days are quite varied but usually involves me being out meeting our partners within the NHS and working with the Push Doctor leadership team on our approach, product and funding.

Where can we find you?

For more information, visit their website at pushdoctor.co.uk or follow them on Twitter @PushDoctor

Meet the innovator: Evan Harris

In this edition, we caught up with Evan Harris, Co-Founder of Peppy Health; an innovation that gives users ultra-convenient access to vetted healthcare practitioners.

Pictured above: Evan Harris of Peppy Health

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

Peppy gives our users ultra-convenient access to vetted healthcare practitioners in the areas of fertility, parenthood, menopause, mental health and many more to come.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

There have been a series of lightbulb moments but the clearest one came from my colleague and Peppy co-founder, Max, who had recently become a dad. His wife and baby experienced various challenges in the first few months after birth and the care they received from the NHS and their private health insurer was almost non-existent. We started to speak to people in the perinatal sector and realised that many services had been cut to the bone during austerity. Then we became aware of similar issues in fertility and menopause support. Suddenly the huge gaps in the conventional healthcare system – in women’s health and other areas – became obvious and we realised that we had a model that could revolutionise the way people engage with healthcare providers.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. Find co-founders you like and respect. If you’re serious about being an innovator then the first step is to put yourself in a position where you could meet them.
  2. Find a route to revenue from day one. Successful metrics are fairly meaningless if no one will pay for the service.
  3. Experiment rapidly and pivot if necessary. We’ve pivoted our products, routes to market and revenue model about 10 times in the last 12 months. Had we not been willing to move so fast we wouldn’t be here right now.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Finding product-market fit. We’re not 100 per cent there yet but we are much closer to it than we were even six months ago. There are so many moving parts, so many possibilities, and you only have so much cash runway before it runs out.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Definitely the Techforce-19 Challenge in April and May this year. Being able to support over 1,000 new parents in an NHS-funded trial gave us an incredible opportunity to prove that our model could deliver extraordinary outcomes in a short period of time. In our case we reduced the percentage of trial participants experiencing possible depression or anxiety by almost half based on SWEMWBS surveys.

Best part of your job now?

I get a huge amount of joy from hearing feedback from our users and knowing that we are making a positive difference in their lives and the lives of their families. I also love working with innovate HR professionals.

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

I’m obviously biased here but I think it’s much easier to innovate in a small startup like Peppy than it is in a conventional area of the NHS like a Trust. I’d therefore make it easier for these startups to experiment with the NHS on new service models. These experiments need to be funded and decisions need to be made much quicker than they are now. Techforce-19 was a great example of what is possible.

A typical day for you would include..

MS Teams calls!! The whole team are working remotely so I’m on one video call after another. My day starts with three stand-ups: full team, tech team, ops team. Then it’s on to a wide mix of developing our product, client implementation meetings, and ad-hoc catch ups with the team. The typical day is also very long – I need a holiday!

Where can we find you?

Listen to the latest Innovation Exchange featuring Peppy Health.

For more information, visit their website at www.pepp.health or follow them on LinkedIn at getpeppy 

Meet the innovator: Dr Keith Tsui

In this edition, we caught up with Dr. Keith Tsui, CEO and Co-founder of Medwise.ai; an innovation that supports clinicians to answer questions faster than ever before.

Pictured above: Dr. Keith Tsui, CEO and Co-founder of Medwise.ai

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

Medwise.ai is an innovation that supports clinicians to answer questions faster than ever before. We have recently tailored our platform for Covid-19.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Medwise.ai was born out of my frustration working on the frontline as a medical doctor and having to rely on paper books and hard to access local guidelines when smartphones and smart search engines like Google are so prevalent. I decided to make a professional “Google for doctors”, providing evidence-based, fast and concise clinical answers at the point of care.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. Do not give up, things will get tough, but things are usually not as bad as you thought, be creative and find new ways and new angles to tackle the problem
  2. Always talk to the users and understand the problem first. Be obsessed about the problem and the users and that’s the only way you could find and deliver value
  3. It is okay to fail, but it is not ok to fail repeatedly on the same thing. Move quickly but always respect how the health care system work and first “do no harm”.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Navigating the NHS procurement landscape for new and innovative digital health and AI solutions, but it’s good to see NHSx leading the way in making this easier for innovators.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Getting on the DigitalHealth.London Launchpad programme and working with my co-founder to pivot our platform to tailor to Covid-19 content – the beta was up and running within two weeks and now available for NHS clinicians.

Best part of your job now?

Meeting a lot of people (virtually during Covid-19) passionate about using digital and AI to make health care better for patients, doctors and the community.

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

There’s probably a lot of things that could help speed up health innovation, but I think the most important is to help align incentives within the NHS and making a clear path for procurement and adoption of health innovations.

A typical day for you would include..

As a start-up founder there is no such thing as a typical day! Every day is different and that’s the exciting part.

For more information, visit their website at www.medwise.ai/covid or follow them on Twitter @MedwiseAI

Event: Empowering Patients to Self-Manage

Event: Empowering Patients to Self-Manage

Brought to you by our Innovation theme.

Are you a Health and Social Care professional interested in learning more about digital solutions to support patients to self-manage or a company with a digital self-management solution that would like to pitch your idea? Then look no further and join us on Thursday 21 May.

What you will get

This interactive Webinar will bring together Social Care, Primary Care, Trusts, CCGs and innovators to explore solutions for empowering patients to self-manage their long-term conditions, mental health and wellbeing using digital solutions.

We will begin with a presentation from James Woollard of Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust on the potential for self management platforms to support patients. Chris Gumble from NHS South West London CCG will share their experiences with the Diabetes Decathlon project and the collaboration with Sweatcoin, an exercise incentivisation app. Charlotte Lee, the Director of Big Health UK will present lessons learnt whilst rolling out the digital self-care platform Sleepio across the NHS.

Join key stakeholders from NHS providers and commissioners to learn about digital self-management solutions including:

  • 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.

Ten leading companies will each present a short pitch at the event on how their solutions can help patients manage their conditions and play a more active role in their own healthcare decisions.

How to sign up

Health and Social Care professionals, contact Karla Richards, Project Manager for the Innovation Theme to secure your place.

Are you a company that would like to pitch?* Contact Karla Richards, Project Manager for the Innovation Theme for further details on how to be selected.

*please note the deadline for pitch submissions is 6 May.

Testing platform supports target of 100,000 Covid-19 tests per day

Testing platform supports target of 100,000 COVID-19 tests per day

A new platform has been set up to support the drive to achieve 100,000 coronavirus tests per day by the end of April – the platform can be accessed here.

In addition to scaling up existing technologies and channels, the government is looking for innovative solutions in specific areas. Solutions, ideas and comments can be uploaded to the platform, focusing on four key challenges:

  1. Dry swabs for use in virus detection– availability of swabs is essential to speed up testing;
  2. Transport media that inactivates the virus– increasing laboratory throughput and minimising processes including the need to handle test samples;
  3. Desktop PCR equipment for Point of Care Testing– using machines that enable fast, accurate and safe results for the operator;
  4. RNA extraction– new ‘ready to go’ methods of extracting viral RNA or enabling viral detection without an extraction step that can be integrated into PCR testing chains.

The platform is a partnership between the Department of Health and Social Care, the UK Bioindustry Association, British In Vitro Diagnostics Association and the Royal College of Pathologists.

We understand that every idea will be evaluated and that all submissions will receive a response.

Registration is quick via an email address or by signing in with Twitter, Facebook, Google or LinkedIn. Whilst the system is ‘open platform’ to encourage sharing, contributions can be made confidentially through a private submission tab.

Please share this opportunity with others who may be able to contribute solutions to the four challenges – the Twitter hashtag is #TestingMethods2020

The AI in Health and Care Award: accelerating testing and evaluation of the most promising AI technologies

The AI in Health and Care Award: accelerating testing and evaluation of the most promising AI technologies

The AHSN Network welcomes the launch of the new Artificial Intelligence (AI) Health and Care Award. This will make £140 million available over three years to accelerate the testing and evaluation of the most promising AI technologies that meet the strategic aims set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The Award is run by the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), of which the AHSN Network is a key member, in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Guy Boersma, AHSN Network Digital & AI Executive Lead, commented: “We welcome the launch of this new fund to fast track the implementation of the most promising AI innovation into frontline care.

“It is an exciting development following the publication of our AI State of Nation report, supporting the creation of the Code of Conduct and now contributing to the distribution of funding to accelerate testing and evaluation of AI technologies.

“AI has the potential to address the many challenges impacting services today, such as those around workforce and the ageing population. As part of the Accelerated Access Collaborative, the AHSN Network looks forward to supporting this programme through the adoption and spread of AI across our strong research and innovation network.”

About the AI in Health and Care Award

The Award will support technologies across the spectrum of development: from initial feasibility and conception through to initial NHS adoption and testing of the AI technology within clinical pathways.
Initially, it will focus on four key areas: screening, diagnosis, decision support and improving system efficiency.

The AI Award is part of the £250 million funding given by the Department for Health and Social Care to NHSX to establish an AI Lab aimed at improving the health and lives of patients. The Award forms a key part of the AAC’s ambition to establish a globally leading testing infrastructure for innovation in the UK.

A call for applications for the Award will run at least twice a year through an open competition to identify appropriate AI technologies for support into the NHS.

The call for applications for the first Award is now open. A second call will be launched in summer this year.

First competition – application information

The application process for the first competition opened on 28 January 2020 and closes at 1.00pm on 4 March 2020. Applicants will be able to identify which phase they should apply for using the self-assessment criteria. Full details are available here.

Support from the AHSNs
Innovators interested in applying for the AI in Health and Care Award are encouraged to talk to their regional AHSN for advice and support. Find your nearest AHSN on our Innovation Exchange digital gateway here.

AI Event – 3 February 2020
The Accelerated Access Collaborative, NHSX and NIHR are holding an AI Event in London on 3 February. This will provide information about opportunities and support available to AI innovators and technologies at all stages of development.
Come to the event to find out more about the most recent developments and upcoming opportunities, hear about the experience of an SME developing an AI product in the NHS, and find out about organisations such as the AHSNs that can support collaborations. In addition, there will be the opportunity for networking and establishing new connections.
Book your place here.

Webinars

A series of webinars are being organised to provide more information to potential applicants:

Initial information session: 31 January 2020, 11-12.00 Join here
Applicant Webex: 4 February 2020, 11:00-12:00 Join here
Applicant Webex: 11 February 2020, 11:00-12:00 Join here
Applicant Webex: 18 February 2020, 11:00-12:00 Join here
Applicant Webex: 25 February 2020, 11:00-12:00 Join here

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The urgency for digital innovation in urgent and emergency care

The desperate need for digital innovation in urgent and emergency care – sparking connections and inspiring innovations

Written by Lesley Soden, Programme Director, Innovation Theme, Health Innovation Network

This winter has once again been a record-breaking one for A&E departments across the country —but not in a good way. Programme Director of Innovation, Lesley Soden, reflects on how technology, and not targets, needs to be the centre of the discussion to really support health and care providers delivering urgent care.

According to data and analysis published in the Health Service Journal earlier this month, overall type-one performance in emergency and urgent care units—the turnaround time for treating the most critical patients in A&E—has fallen nearly 11 percentage points since December 2018, while some individual trusts have experienced a year-on-year slide of between 20 and 30 per cent.

But how can anyone be surprised when in London alone, A&Es saw over 25,000 more patients in December 2019 than they did in December 2018.[1] Service expectations and pressures grow higher, while clinical staff continue to be spread thinner.

But instead of joining in the discussion on whether the targets need to change, I want to talk to you about the impact that existing technology could have on the urgent and emergency care system. Last October, at Health Innovation Network (HIN), we partnered with the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme to host an Innovation Exchange event to debate exactly the question I believe is the most important to answer – how can technology help? At the event, we brought together key stakeholders from the urgent and emergency care sector in London and creators of some of the latest innovations tackling ever-growing issues with the wait times and overall efficiency  The event sought to achieve two things; firstly, to share a deeper understanding of vital NHS needs with the health tech innovators, and secondly, to start the conversation about how digital innovations that are already transforming other areas of healthcare might be able to help.

An honest discussion

Determined not to present an idealistic view of transformation, we started the day discussing the complexities of digital innovation. There are 32 CCGs across London, each with different systems, providers, patient pathways and data flows. This lack of cohesion across the board can result in real challenges for the introduction of new innovations, particularly digital ones. For example, a product may fit into one hospital easily, but be incompatible with another. Similarly, a product may require or generate specific data that we don’t have a standard process for sharing across multiple settings. These challenges are best appreciated when you look at urgent and emergency care. It is here that speed and effectiveness can make the difference in highly pressurised life or death situations.

It was eye-opening to hear about the level of activity that the London Ambulance Service (LAS) experiences. LAS handle approximately 5,000 emergency calls every day in London and has approximately 6,000 staff, 65 per cent of them front line staff responding to emergencies. On average, the LAS responds to all Category 1 calls (the most serious of emergency calls) within 6 mins 28 seconds. In these often-chaotic situations, bandwidth, hardware and human factors such as the staff’s experience of the technology, are all integral to a successful A&E handover.

Where technology is already helping

Stuart Crichton, Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) at the LAS, described one of the challenges they experienced when implementing the use of iPads. The issue lay with ensuring that paramedics remembered their most up-to-date passwords. As we all do on occasion, staff kept forgetting their login details or couldn’t access their most up-to-date credentials (a password reminder was sent to an email address they couldn’t easily access). To resolve this issue, LAS removed the need for usernames and passwords, opting instead for using fingerprint recognition, the same type of technology many people use day-to-day with smart phones and tablets. Stuart described this as an exciting breakthrough, and a simple solution the LAS believes will have a positive impact in crucial life and death situations.

Dr. Gabriel Jones, Consultant of Emergency Medicine at St George’s NHS Foundation Trust, described the lightbulb moment he had when looking around the waiting room one day and noticing that almost all the patients who were waiting were using their smart phones. In the UK, 78 per cent of adults now have a smartphone. Dr. Jones recognised this as an opportunity to try something new. They designed a digital solution and set up a pilot, known at the hospital as ED Check-in, that enables patients to input information to a secure mobile website via their smart phones while they wait. A doctor can then access that information instantly, and it follows the patients through their hospital journey, keeping clinicians informed at each stage. Sometimes, clinicians with an entrepreneurial nature can design the best solutions to challenges within their health services, which is why it’s so important that they’re included in conversations around digital innovation.

… to create positive change, it’s imperative that today’s innovators understand the complications as well so they can deliver the most appropriate digital solutions

At the event, we were lucky enough to have guest speaker Eileen Sutton, Head of Urgent and Emergency Care at the Healthy London Partnership (HLP) and London Regional Integrated Urgent Care (IUC) Lead at NHS England. Eileen is a District Nurse by background and has a range of experience across the IUC system. She identified the need to reduce the number of people turning up at A&E with conditions or illnesses that could be treated at home, by a community pharmacist or other care professionals, and the need to improve patient flow to reduce the time spent waiting to be treated upon arriving at A&E as some of the greatest challenges. We know that NHS expert staff are the only ones who really understand the high complexity and nuance of these situations, but in order to create positive change, it’s imperative that today’s innovators understand the complications as well so they can deliver the most appropriate digital solutions.

Working with the DigtialHealth.London Accelerator Programme, we were able to identify 11 companies that offer solutions to these two main challenges. We held a rigorous and open application process for innovators to attend this event, during which they had the opportunity to pitch their innovations to London NHS commissioners, trusts and other NHS expert staff.

The companies selected to present were:

To demonstrate the real-world application of the innovations, we created some fictional scenarios in which the innovators present could help to reduce A&E attendance and improve patient flow.

Scenario one: Reducing A&E attendance challenge

We discussed Ahmed, a frequent visitor to his A&E for a number of minor ailments that could be managed by a pharmacy or primary care. At his next visit, he is referred to the Health Navigator solution and assigned a Health Coach, with whom he speaks weekly. He now rarely visits A&E and has joined local classes.

And Claire, who is worried that she has a UTI. We offer her a virtual and confidential consultation via Q Doctor with a doctor at a local urgent care centre instead. The doctor refers her to the local pharmacy to use the Dip-IO test from Healthy.io, which tests positive and the pharmacist then prescribes antibiotics.

And then Bob who calls 111. He is re-directed to the MedicSpot station at his local pharmacy, where he is given a remote consultation with a virtual doctor, who takes his blood pressure checks for other vital signs.

All three patients are given the care they needed in a timely and effective manner, without the need for ambulance or a prolonged wait in A&E.

Scenario two: Improving patient flow and reducing waiting times challenge 

For our next challenge, we talked about Mary, who has multiple complex co-morbidities and goes to her local A&E when she experiences tingling in her legs. In the reception area, there are tablets with the eConsult triage system. Mary checks in using a tablet, by answering a few brief clinical questions about her symptoms. The system automatically triages Mary by her clinical symptoms within five minutes of her arrival.

While Mary is in the waiting area, she also inputs her symptoms, medication and medical history into the MedCircuit app, which helps save the doctor time and uses Mary’s wait more efficiently.

Mary sees the A&E doctor, but the light isn’t working in one of the consultation rooms. She uses the MediShout app to report this logistical issue, which links to the estates helpdesk and reports it immediately. She receives a notification that it will be fixed in two hours.

The doctor runs a full blood count test using Horiba’s Microsemi CRP device, which gives test results in four minutes. Mary is transferred to the x-ray department using the Infinity ePortering system to request a porter, saving critical time for herself and the doctors.

The A&E department also uses CEMBooks, which allows the consultant managing Mary’s case to plan her care and predict the demand for inpatient beds if this is required.

Mary deteriorates rapidly and requires a transfer to a specialist hospital. During her transfer in the ambulance, the MediVue platform provides real-time data taken from her monitor and active correspondence between the transferring doctor and the receiving hospital.

When she arrives at the specialist hospital, staff are prepared to smoothly transfer her to the appropriate unit, having already been informed of her history and symptoms.

These may be fictional scenarios, but they represent just a fraction of the real-life attendances to emergency care that technology could be helping make safer, more efficient and a better experience for both staff and patients. And most significantly, whilst time and efficiency were intended benefits of the digital solutions presented at the event, the focus of our discussions were about patient outcomes and supporting staff to deliver. Maybe if we changed the focus from targets to technology nationally too, we’d get to a clearer solution more quickly.

About the author

Lesley Soden
Programme Director – Innovation Theme, Health Innovation Network

Lesley has led the HIN’s Innovation Exchange function since 2017. She has over 20 years’ experience in the NHS and public sector working in senior business/strategy and programme management roles. Her roles have included work with transformation, contracts and commercial, programme delivery, business development/ planning, bid writing and clinical service re-design, all delivered in collaboration with a variety of partnerships. She is interested in new ways of working and maximising technology to improve patient care.

Meet the innovator: Christian Moroy

Meet the Innovator

In this series, we’ll get up close and personal with an innovator asking them to share their thoughts and experience from their journey into the world of health and care innovation. In our latest edition, we caught up with Christian Moroy, Co-founder & CTO of Edge Health; supporting NHS organisations use data more effectively to increase theatre utilisation and reduce cancellations.

Pictured above: Christian Moroy, Co-founder & CTO of Edge Health.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

SpaceFinder is a booking support software that enables hospitals to accurately predict how long surgical operations will take and then support staff in optimally scheduling them using available theatre space.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

We were working with an NHS Trust that struggled with underused operating theatres. We noticed that some theatres were empty while staff struggled to schedule life changing operations. This made us realise that scheduling was a truly difficult problem that required a solution.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. Don’t make presumptions – spend time ‘on the ground’ or at the front line of the services you want to help. You can only really learn about problems that exist from experiencing them or being with the people who experience them every day;
  2. Create space and time to be creative – it is important to learn new things and attempt new approaches to problems you see but you need to prioritise that or you’ll never be able to fit it into your day to day; and
  3. Be strategic – once you have a great idea you might be impatient to get it out there. Implementing innovations, particularly in health care can be a long journey and there is a real skill in being prepared and equipped for that.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

NHS IT is inconsistent between hospitals and often local teams are really stretched. Trying to get the information needed can be slow at times.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Joining the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator! We were really proud to have been successful in getting on the programme and we are really making the most of the support, guidance and connections.

Best part of your job now?

Working with great people across all parts of the health system and keeping up to date with the latest technology at a time of great flux in the area.

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

Make processes and standards simpler. I’d support healthcare providers in creating standardised systems for key services into which third party suppliers can easily plug into. This would enable an “App Store” like situation that innovators could offer their services quicker and more effectively across different Trusts.

A typical day for you would include..

We usually start the day with a team meeting in the Edge office discussing ongoing projects. As a team we work across several projects so it is important to regularly catch up with each other. Then I would visit a Hospital Trust to take part in a workshop on how to implement SpaceFinder!

For more information, visit their website at edgehealth.co.uk or follow them on Twitter @edge_health_

Meet the innovator: Shaun Azam

Meet the Innovator

In this series, we’ll get up close and personal with an innovator asking them to share their thoughts and experience from their journey into the world of health and care innovation. In our latest edition, we caught up with Shaun Azam, CEFO at Sweatcoin; an app that incentivises physical activity by converting steps into points that can be exchanged for actual rewards.

Pictured above: Shaun Azam, CEFO at Sweatcoin.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

Through our digital app Sweatcoin, we incentivise people to be more active by converting steps into reward points that have real world value.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Realising that modern technology makes us lazy, and as humans we need instant rewards for effort (which is why most of us struggle to go to the gym for sustained periods). Hence, our app that converts steps into points with real value.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

    1. Listen to your users! You are building your product for them, so listen and take on board what they want.
    2. Don’t test ideas, test a hypothesis – ideas are real life applications and sit above a core hypothesis. When you test a hypothesis, you also test a whole host of ideas, saving vast amounts of time.
    3. I coined an acronym for this – ABA – Always Be Adding. Everything you do should be always be adding value to the business – we’re in a digital age, so use as many tools and apps as you can to create efficiency + cost savings, so you can focus on things that will ADD value to the business. Also, delegate whenever possible.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Overcoming the complexity of the healthcare system – we are fortunate in that our product has the ability to improves the lives of everyone in the world. Along with this comes difficulties around ensuring our product accurately caters for these vastly different demographics.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Academics at the University of Warwick investigated the impact of incentives on physical activity – they used Sweatcoin to do this. Their academic study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and found that Sweatcoin helped users walk +20% more each day, even after six months.

That was the moment that we realised that we ARE making the world more active, and that all the struggles were worth it.

Best part of your job now?

Genuinely improving the quality of lives of millions of people, every day. We receive countless messages from our users, informing us that Sweatcoin has motivated them to walk more, and how it has contributed to their improved physical + mental health.

Receiving these messages is truly incomparable.

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

I would include a line item in NHS budgets, that is designated to be spent with SME’s – this would foster the uptake of new digital solutions that have the potential to improve healthcare and patient journeys across the NHS.

A typical day for you would include..

Trying to grow and sell our product – we operate on two week ‘sprints’ – this means we aim to release new features of our product every fortnight. As you can imagine, this means countless user focus groups, product tests, and iterations.

The product is one aspect – selling it is the other! I’m a big believer in ‘people buy from people’ – so most of my remaining day is around meetings, understanding open opportunities, and communicating the value prop of Sweatcoin.

For more information, visit their website at sweat coin.com or follow them on Twitter @Sweatcoin

World Mental Health Day: A story of a burning platform for change

A burning platform for change

By Breid O’Brien, HIN Director of Digital Transformation

Today is World Mental Health Day; a day observed by over 150 countries globally to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health. In the 17 years since the day was first conceived, society has come a long way in its understanding of mental health. However, even today, people with serious mental illness are still likely to die approximately 15-20 years earlier than other people.

So this World Mental Health Day we would like to highlight some of the incredible progress being made by mental health teams around the world, to bring about parity of esteem in this area by reflecting on a recent roundtable event we held to share learning internationally, where Martin Davis, a Clinical Nurse from New South Wales’ Mental Health Emergency Care division (MHEC), presented on the successful implementation of a virtual consultation system in a rural and remote mental health setting in Australia.

This is a story of a small team that led the way. MHEC was kick started by a government cash injection at a time when the team needed to deliver a better, more cost-effective system of care to its rural and remote population in rural Australia. Before the MHEC service was introduced remote and rural ambulances (and often other emergency services) were transporting patients hundreds of miles just for an acute mental health assessment; taking them from the comfort of their home, family and friends when they were in a vulnerable state, and often leaving their hometown without any emergency provision. Imagine living somewhere where if there was a fire, there would be no one to put it out, simply because they are effectively acting as a patient taxi? Their situation provided a clear rationale for change – a burning platform, if you will. By using virtual consultations, they could save time, save money and deliver faster patient care.

Starting with an 1-800 number 12 years ago and progressing to an online video system just under a decade ago, MHEC now prides itself on answering calls within three rings, and being able to assess patients on a video call within an hour during daytime hours. The stats continue. Every year since its inception, they have saved the combined services over $1,000,000 AUD a year; and 80% of the patients they see are discharged back into their community within a day, a direct reversal of the 20% of patients who were able to go home under the previous system.

“All just geography”

Despite the obvious differences between MHEC’s setting (their ‘patch’ is the size of Germany but has only 320,000 residents), and our urban south London area where almost three million people reside in an area a fraction of the size, when Martin shared his story the similarities were immediately apparent. In London we have a diverse population who speak an estimated 250 languages, requiring a need for numerous cultural sensitivities; the MHEC team have a large aboriginal population – almost 40% of their mental health in-patients identify as aboriginal.

Patients in New South Wales were having to travel miles away from their families to receive acute mental health care; we too have examples of this happening in acute mental health care in the UK, and while the distances in Australia may be greater, the impact on the patient and their family will be the same. The Australian health system also faces an increasing demand for acute mental services against a backdrop of challenges with staff recruitment; turns out, Julia Roberts had it right in Pretty Woman; it is “all just geography”.

The question our roundtable guests discussed cut to the heart of the complexities of digital transformation: if we have so much in common, why, over a decade later, are we still not embracing virtual consultations in the same way that they are? Distance and cost were MHEC’s burning platform, pushing them to make changes ten years ago that other services are only just catching up with. We seemingly are yet to find our burning platform, despite the pressures on our services and the progress being made in many areas.

As our roundtable participants moved the discussion on to the inevitable complexities of implementation, many of the usual barriers made an appearance; procurement, interoperability, money, time. But a few more situation-specific ones also livened the debate; what are the implications for information governance? How do you prevent reprisals of misdiagnosis? How do you train people to deliver virtual care? How do you ensure that changing a pathway won’t affect patient safety? How do you empower your teams to step outside their role? How do you get buy-in from all the organisations needed to deliver the change?

The need for systems to talk

For Martin – and MHEC – all the barriers to change raised were not only a stark reminder of how far they have come, but also how much work is still to be done. We delved into the extensive stakeholder engagement the MHEC team undertook (they visited all the GP practises in person because face-to-face meetings achieved better buy in from clinicians – an irony that wasn’t wasted on them), and listened to how the accountability process was redefined, before unveiling a key area of distinction between our two situations; how joined up their IT systems had become. A steely silence answered Martin’s assumption that we’d managed to fix the interoperability of medical records in the 20 years since he’d served at Homerton, Enfield and the Royal Free. Sadly, Martin, we have not but it is high on the agenda of NHSX and others so perhaps this time we will.

And therein lies part of the problem. The collaborative nature required to implement the MHEC system between mental health, emergency departments, General Practitioners, community mental health teams and even the police (they have supplied local police with digital tablets to ensure they can get the virtual consultations to people in their own homes, not just the local emergency department) is a testament to the power of joined-up care systems, but working together was undoubtedly made simpler by the support of a joined up technology system, something the various LHRCEs are still working hard to crack.

From the discussion, it became clear however that no one issue of technology, procurement, change management, organisational boundaries or geography on its own poses enough of a barrier, but the cumulative effect of them all risks putting off too many commissioners, clinicians and managers from implementing digital transformation. The risk made all the more terrifying by the fear that it might go wrong and that safety could be compromised.

Martin was incredibly open and forthcoming about the fact that MHEC is not yet perfect. When they started the technology didn’t work; not everyone was bought in to the system; it was not – and still isn’t – an overnight success, but none of that mattered. They were trying something new that, at its heart, was trying to improve patient care and support emergency services to deliver better support to people in a mental health crisis, whilst also saving the overall system money. It is clear that really innovative organisations are willing to tolerate failure and see it as an opportunity for learning and doing things even better. Whilst we can’t tolerate failure in terms of compromising patient safety, it does feel that perhaps sometimes this fear also stops us from implementing proven innovations. So why does the fact that something won’t work perfectly first-time round make us in the NHS feel so uncomfortable? Perhaps this is our inherent fear of failure?

We heard from some present about the fabulous work they are doing to implement similar technology and different ways of working, however, to really impact care we need to do this at scale. And to achieve anything at scale, risks will have to be taken. Perhaps our burning platform is just not hot enough. Yet.

About the author
Breid O’Brien leads HIN’s digital consultancy function. She has extensive improvement and digital transformation experience supported by a clinical and operational management background in acute care within the UK and Australia. She has supported major system level change and has a strong track record of delivering complex programmes of work whilst supporting collaboration across varied teams and organisations. With a Masters in Nursing, an MSc in Healthcare Informatics and as an IHI improvement Advisor, Breid is especially interested in the people, process and technology interface.

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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The new GP contract didn’t mention innovation once. Yet the space it opens up for innovation is exciting, and we should seize it

The new GP contract didn’t mention innovation once. Yet the space it opens up for innovation is exciting, and we should seize it

Dr Caroline Chill, Clinical Director for Healthy Ageing at Health Innovation Network looks at the potential of the new contract to support innovation.

I’ve worked in primary care for over 30 years, and have been involved in leadership and innovation for most of them. GPs have a history of being innovative with the early coded electronic health record systems being a prime example. In recent years, it has felt like this innovation has been stifled by increasing workload, staffing pressures and ever changing contractual requirements. I’ve seen innovation talked about in countless different ways and these days it seems to me that policy makers are falling over themselves to describe initiatives as ‘innovative’ or to talk about the potential to improve care through innovation but with less commitment to support the delivery of innovation in practice. So, I was fascinated to see how this would be expressed in our new GP contract which to my surprise did not mention the word ‘innovation’ at all. Not a single mention, despite the contract being extremely innovative.

An obvious area relates to support for Primary Care Networks and additional staffing. The aim of Primary Care Networks is to connect the primary care teams to help deliver more integrated and comprehensive local services, to allow new models of care to emerge and to support higher levels of self-care. From 1July, 1,259 Primary Care Networks become operational and backed by nearly £1.8 billion funding over five years with most of England’s nearly 7,000 GP practices participating.

Additionally, the interim NHS workforce plan and dubbed the “People Plan” was published in June.  This focuses on three key areas – recruiting more staff; making the NHS a great place to work; and equipping the NHS to meet the challenges of 21st century healthcare.  It re commits the government to delivering 5,000 full time equivalent GPs “as soon as possible” as well as nearly 6,000 extra nurses, and the creation of “nursing associates” offering a career route from care support into registered nursing.

The GP contract acknowledges the fact that the additional staff we need in general practice will not come from doctors and nurses alone. The money available through the contract can be used to help recruit a much broader range of professionals – Initially the scheme will meet 70% of the costs of additional clinical pharmacists, physician associates, first contact physiotherapists, and first contact community paramedics; and 100% of the costs of additional social prescribing link workers.

I think it will be down to the primary care networks to find innovative ways to recruit, train, support, mentor and part fund these new roles. This is no simple task as the existing training and skills of these professionals will need to be strengthened and adapted for working in community settings, where there is less supervision and where patients need holistic care, encompassing multiple physical, social and psychological issues.

I believe GPs will rise to this challenge and seize the opportunity. . It could be the beginning of a new, more modern and holistic way for patients to experience general practice.

Increasing the numbers of physiotherapists and other community-trained staff could lead to another important shift. Take MSK as an example which includes chronic knee, hip and back pain, has a major impact on an individual’s quality of life and society. It is the second most common reason for GP visits, accounts for around 25% of all GP consultations and is estimated that 9.3 million working days are lost in the UK to MSK problems.

An intervention that relieves chronic joint pain, called Joint Pain Advice , already exists and can be delivered by a wide range of professionals and lead to lasting improvements in pain. The model focuses on reducing reliance on painkillers through exercise and education. Trained professionals, who could be physiotherapists, community health trainers, or others provide a series of face-to-face consultations, working collaboratively with people with hip and/or knee osteoarthritis and/or back pain, focusing on supporting self-management. The programme consists of up to four 30-minute face-to-face consultations between the advisors and people with hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA) or back pain. Patients attend an assessment where they discuss their lifestyle, challenges and personal goals and then jointly develop a personalised care plan that gives tailored advice and support based on NICE guidelines for the management of OA. They are then invited to attend reviews after three weeks, six weeks and six months to access further tailored support and advice. This has the potential to reduce pressure on existing physiotherapy services and potentially reduce demand for GP follow up consultations.

To date, more than 500 patients have used the service led by physiotherapists. In a previous pilot in Lewisham, south London, they reported less pain, better function and higher activity levels. A high satisfaction rate was achieved which included reduced BMI, body weight and waist circumference and has led to fewer GP consultations, investigations and onward referrals.

In addition to the patient benefits, for every £1 spent on the programme there is a saving to the health and social care system of up to £4, according a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis.

Why not embed this training into these new roles? This could genuinely help deliver one of the aims of PCNs to empower people to self-care and improve the quality of life for people living with MSK pain. This one example could radically change the approach for addressing the needs of people living with MSK pain helping them to become fitter, more active and more empowered,  provided that the additional funding for primary care staffing does not result in reduced provision in other sectors.

Primary care will find countless other ways of using new staff to do more in primary care. While this doesn’t magically reduce our workload in practices, it has the potential to shift it and makes it easier for patients to access a broader range of professionals in community settings without the need for referrals to hospital.

These initiatives alone will not be enough to completely transform and modernise primary care but they are a great starting point. Change is easy to talk about but difficult and complex to enact. Even innovations that will lead to significant savings will often require upfront investment of resources, time and goodwill. The introduction of state based indemnity is very welcome to help retain experienced GPs, however,  changes to pension contributions and tax implications may have an equal and opposite effect impacting  the number of sessions doctors are choosing to work.

For me the key headlines which make the new GP contract so innovative and exciting are the significant increased staff funding, support for the development of Primary Care Networks, a five-year timeline and introduction of state based indemnity.  What we now need is the time and space to deliver.

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Meet the innovator: James Flint

Meet the Innovator

In this series we’ll get up close and personal with an innovator asking them to share their thoughts and experience from their journey into the world of health and care innovation. In our latest edition, we caught up with James Flint, CEO and Co-Founder at Hospify; a compliant, trusted healthcare messaging app.

Pictured above R – L: James Flint, Co-founder and CEO with Neville Dastur, Co-founder at Hospify.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

Available for free in the Apple and Android app stores, Hospify puts a simple, affordable alternative to non-compliant consumer messaging services like WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram and Messenger directly into the hands of healthcare professionals and patients.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Meeting with the Head of Health for the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2015 and discovering that, while a very big chunk of the NHS was using WhatsApp to communicate while at work, once GDPR arrived in 2018 they were going to have to stop doing this.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

    1. Be prepared for the long haul. And I mean long.
    2. Keep it simple.
    3. Never miss lunch.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Getting sufficient funding, without a doubt.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Getting on the NHS digital heath accelerator last year. It felt like we’d finally been given the official stamp of approval.

Best part of your job now?

Meeting nurses and hearing directly from them what a difference Hospify can make to their working lives.

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

Implement and support proper health data interoperability standards. I know this Is finally happening, but it’s still the most important single thing that needs to be done.

A typical day for you would include..

Answering a lot of email, talking to my development team, meeting or calling potential investors, networking or promoting Hospify at some kind of health event, answering customer support questions about the platform. Usually all on the same day and sometimes all at the same time!

For more information on Hospify visit www.hospify.com, Facebook, LinkedIn or follow them on Twitter @hospifyapp

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.

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.

Patients set to benefit from world-leading innovations on the NHS

Patients set to benefit from world-leading innovations on the NHS

3D heart modelling to rapidly diagnose coronary disease and an advanced blood test which can cut the time it takes to rule-out a heart attack by 75% are among a raft of technological innovations being introduced for patients across the NHS.

New innovations have already reached 300,000 patients, and speaking at the Reform digital health conference in London today, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens will announce that over 400,000 more will benefit this year from new tests, procedures and treatments as part of the Long Term Plan.

This includes pregnant women getting a new pre-eclampsia test, and cluster headache sufferers getting access to a handheld gadget which uses low-levels of electric current to reduce pain.

The new treatments and tests are being delivered as part of the NHS’ Innovation and Technology Payment programme, which is fast-tracking the roll-out of latest technology across the country, building on progress in the past two years.

The programme’s latest innovations include a cutting-edge blood test which can detect changes in protein levels in blood, allowing emergency doctors to rule out a heart attack within three hours – nine hours faster than the current rate – meaning people get quicker treatment and avoid admission to hospital.

NHS England has also confirmed that funding for 10 other new tests and treatments as part of the programme – including a computer programme that creates a digital 3D model of the heart and avoids the need for invasive procedures – will be extended, allowing more patients to benefit.

From this year, thousands of pregnant women will be offered a test on the NHS which can help rule-out pre-eclampsia – a serious condition linked to labour complications, acute pain and vision problems – and allow women either to get extra care faster, or avoid the need for further hospital trips during pregnancy.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “From improving care for pregnant women to using digital modelling to assess heart conditions and new tests to prevent unnecessary hospitalisations for suspected heart attacks, the NHS is taking action to ensure patients have access to the very best modern technologies. It’s heartening to see the NHS grasping with both hands these rapidly advancing medical innovations.”

Plans to speed up the uptake of proven, cutting-edge treatments is being overseen by the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), a joint NHS, government and industry effort which aims to make the NHS the world’s most innovation-friendly health system.

Dr Sam Roberts, chief executive of the Accelerated Access Collaborative and director of innovation and life sciences for NHS England, said: “This programme has been amazingly successful at getting new tests and treatments to patients, with over 300,000 patients benefitting already, and this year we have another great selection of proven innovations.

“We will build on this success with our commitments set out in the Long Term Plan, to support the latest advances and make it easier for even more patients to benefit from world-class technology.”

As set out in the Long Term Plan, the NHS will introduce a new funding mandate for proven health tech products so the NHS can adopt new, cost saving innovations as easily as it already introduces new clinically and cost effective medicines.

Innovations being supported include:

  • Placental growth factor (PIGF) based test: a blood test to help rule‑out pre‑eclampsia in women suspected to have the condition who are between 20 weeks and 34 weeks plus 6 days of gestation, alongside standard clinical assessment. Read more here.
  • High sensitivity troponin test: a blood test that when combined with clinical judgement can help rapidly rule-out heart attacks. Read more here.
  • Gammacore: a hand-held device that delivers mild electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve to block the pain signals that cause cluster headaches. Read more here.
  • SpaceOAR: a hydrogel injected between the prostate and rectum prior to radiotherapy, that temporarily creates a space between them so that the radiation dose to the rectum can be minimised, reducing complications like rectal pain, bleeding and diarrhoea. Read more here.

Lord Darzi, chair of the Accelerated Access Collaborative, said:“As Chair of the AAC, I am delighted that four of the seven technology areas currently receiving AAC support have been selected for this NHS programme.

“This is a vital step in helping patients receive rapid access to the best, proven innovations being developed in our world-class health system.”

This is the third year of the drive to identify and fast track specific innovations into the NHS, which has already benefitted over 300,000 patients across the NHS.

The NHS’ own innovation agencies – the 15 Academic Health Science Networks across England – will take direct responsibility for accelerating uptake locally.

Meet the innovator: Lydia Yarlott

Meet the Innovator

In this series we’ll get up close and personal with an innovator asking them to share their thoughts and experience from their journey into the world of health and care innovation. In our latest edition, we caught up with Lydia Yarlott, Co-Founder at Forward Health; a secure messaging and workflow app, connecting care workers around patient pathways.

Pictured above: Lydia Yarlott.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

Forward is a mobile communications platform aiming to connect healthcare professionals for the first time.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Probably being a first year doctor on my own in an NHS ward at 2am in the morning trying to get help for a deteriorating patient and being unable to contact anyone. Poor communication leads to a real feeling of helplessness, and I want to change that for doctors and nurses everywhere. It’s hard to believe we’re still using pagers and resorting to WhatsApp to get hold of each other in hospitals, so it wasn’t so much a lightbulb moment as an increasing feeling that something had to change!

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

    1. Talk to everyone, and anyone, you can about your idea. You never know what will happen next. My great friend Will worked with me as a junior doctor; he’s now with us on Forward full-time. We never would have had him as part of the team if we hadn’t spent hours on night shifts discussing the problem together!
    2. Find a Co-Founder (or several!) I couldn’t imagine doing this alone. Philip and Barney are both amazing people and amazing leaders, and it’s their drive and optimism that got us to where we are today – 5% of the doctors in the UK and growing. Whenever one of you is losing faith (inevitable at times!) the others can put you back on your feet and help you with that resilience you need in spades to be a successful Founder.
    3. Care about your problem more than your solution. Get as close to it as you can and stay there. Your solution will be wrong first time around, but as long as the problem isn’t solved, you have a chance of something really worthwhile.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Personal doubt!

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Getting our first real use cases. Watching our product change the way people work, resulting in better, faster care for patients. We have an amazing group of physios and orthopaedic surgeons using Forward to streamline shoulder surgery for patients, and another group who are using it to coordinate the multidisciplinary team in paediatric allergy. I can’t get enough of those stories because I know how tough it can be on the frontline of the NHS.

Best part of your job now?

The great privilege of working as a doctor and as a Co-Founder. I love clinical work, but I get frustrated by outdated systems, and I would hate it if I couldn’t focus on changing that. I care about healthcare at a systemic level and I want the NHS to survive, but I know that for that to be the case things will have to move forward, fast. I want to be a part of that.

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

Get Trusts talking to one another and sharing what they do. Incentivise knowledge transfer – both successes and failures. Share the ways in which they are working with others, including start-ups and small businesses, to foster innovation at scale.

A typical day for you would include..

A typical day being a paediatrician is just that – looking after sick children! I’m a junior doctor, so I’m still learning a lot, and working closely within a team to achieve the best outcome for the patient. When I’m at Forward, I spend most of my time meeting with the team to discuss progress and strategy, representing the clinical face of the company and the problem we’re trying to solve. The two jobs couldn’t be more different, but ultimately they are focused on the same thing – improving healthcare for everyone. I love what we’re building at Forward and I love the team – even those of us who aren’t from a healthcare background are driven by the mission to improve communication, and you can feel that energy walking into the office.

For more information on Forward Health visit www.forwardhealth.co or follow them on Twitter @ForwardHealth_

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.

Invitation to pitch: digital workforce transformation showcase

Invitation to pitch: digital workforce transformation showcase

We all know that the NHS is facing increasing demands on its services. Alongside the challenges of recruiting and retaining clinical professionals, there is a role for technology as a driver of productivity within the clinical workforce.

Working in collaboration with NHS England, and NHS Improvement, the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is running a showcase event for HR Directors exploring how technology can help NHS staff and employers to improve workforce productivity, recruitment and retention.

We are looking for ten companies to present their innovations, and in particular, innovations that are already being used by NHS employers and that meet workforce challenges including:

  • Recruitment / time to hire
  • HR transactional tasks / HR productivity
  • Workforce capacity management / clinical workforce productivity
  • Retention
  • Staff wellbeing (physical and mental health)

If selected, you will give a three-minute pitch to the audience on how they could adopt your innovation(s) in their organisations. You will also participate in our “world café” session to discuss your solution in more detail. We aim to help you generate warm leads by curating a receptive audience for workforce innovations.

We are looking for innovations that are already well-developed – this is not an event for innovations at the idea stage.

Please apply to take part by downloading and completing this short form and returning it to geraldine.murphy8@nhs.net by 5pm on Friday 10 May.

Event details

  • Date and time: Tuesday 11 June, 17:00 – 20:30
  • Venue: DAC Beachcroft, Walbrook Building, 25 Walbrook, EC4N 8AF

Agenda

  • 16:30-17:00 Registration
  • 17:00- 17:05 Welcome
  • 17:05-17:15 Clinical Productivity – Andy Howlett, Clinical Productivity Operations Director, NHS England / Improvement
  • 17:15-17:25  Can technology and artificial intelligence help to improve workforce productivity and create a more agile workforce? What can be done now? – Lesley Soden, Head of Innovation, Health Innovation Network
  • 17:25-17:35 NHS Trust Case Study: Lessons from transforming our medical workforce – Alfredo Thompson, HR Director, North Middlesex Hospitals NHS Trust; Dr Frances Evans, Medical Director, North Middlesex Hospitals NHS Trust
  • 17:35-17:50 Q&A
  • 17:50-18:20 Company pitches
  • 18:20-18:30 Close – Lesley Soden, Head of Innovation, Health Innovation Network
  • 18:30-20:00 Refreshments and networking

 

New report maps the MedTech landscape for innovators in England

New report maps the MedTech landscape for innovators in England

The NHS spends approximately £6 billion a year on medical technology, also known as MedTech, such as medical devices, equipment and digital tools. It is an industry that accounts for over 86,000 jobs in the UK, almost a third of which are within small companies, and supports an additional 24,600 service and supply roles.

A new report from the AHSN Network provides an essential guide for companies looking to successfully develop and roll out innovations in this complex and diverse industry, focused around the MedTech innovation pathway. It includes a foreword by Piers Ricketts, Chief Executive of Eastern AHSN and Vice Chair of the AHSN Network.

The MedTech Landscape Review will be launched formally at an event to be held jointly with one of our partners, the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI), on 20 March and introduced by Piers.

In the meantime, the report is available for download here, featuring case studies, statistics and practical advice for navigating each step of the MedTech Innovation pathway.

Meet the innovator: Vivek Patni

Meet the Innovator

In this series we’ll get up close and personal with an innovator asking them to share their thoughts and experience from their journey into the world of health and care innovation. In our latest edition, we spoke to Vivek Patni, Director and Co-Founder of WeMa Life; an online marketplace that brings customers and their families together with social care and community care service providers.

Pictured above: Vivek Patni.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

WeMa Life is an online marketplace that brings customers and their families together with social care and community care service providers; giving choice, accessibility and efficiency in the service procurement and delivery pathway.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

As an informal carer for my grandfather, I was immediately shocked by the lack of innovation in supporting families to find, coordinate and manage local care services for their loved one, hence WeMa Life was born. I find online marketplaces very convenient and use them for so many aspects of my life – products, clothes, hotels, restaurants – I knew a similar digital environment was needed for care services. Using WeMa Life as a customer I can search, compare, purchase and rate local care services whilst as a provider I can digitise the outdated, manual, paper-based visit records and manage my daily business activity.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

    1. Stay flexible: it’s tempting to start a business with a clear idea of how things will unfold; but this is rarely the case. Pivot and react to obstacles and have an open approach to finding the best solutions to all your problems.
    2. User experience: test your product constantly and get as much feedback as you can from all your user groups. Simple solutions sit very well in such a diverse industry.
    3. Be creative in your approach to developing tech and running your business. There are so many applications and tools to create efficiency and cost saving in finding resources, marketing and development, so use them!

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Where I had faced the difficulty from a customer side of social care, I was less aware of the complexity in delivering publicly funded social and community care to different user groups. This meant learning the nuances of each service type/provider and creating a fluid product that would fit all.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Designing the tech architecture from scratch, building an international technology development team and bringing my ideas to life in just eight months is something I am very proud of.

Best part of your job now?

Taking my product into the market! Now that the product is live, I am driving its use through digital marketing and sales. I meet so many interesting people on a daily basis who bring exciting new ideas to what we do – my mental technology roadmap is never ending.

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

I would give more opportunity and financial incentives to SME’s. There are a huge number of SME’s with great ideas and technology, they tend to be more fluid, interoperable and customisable to the needs of the NHS; they would be able to make a real change to the daily lives of providers and customers.

A typical day for you would include..

Typically, my days are devoted to technology and selling. My morning tends to be engagement with my India tech team to make sure we are always refining and innovating our solution. Afternoons will be selling, calling and meeting as many people as I can. I get energised by talking to people about what we do so I try to do that as much as possible.

For more information on WeMa Life visit www.wemalife.com or follow them on Twitter @wemalife

Meet the Innovator

Meet the Innovator

Each issue we’ll get up close and personal with an innovator asking them to share their thoughts and experience from their journey into the world of health and care innovation. In our latest edition, we spoke to Dr Sukhbinder Noorpuri, Founder and CEO of i-GP, an online consultation platform to allow patients faster access to primary care for minor illnesses.

Pictured above L-R: Dr Sukhbinder Noorpuri with Co-Founder, Dr Aleesha Dhillon.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

i-GP provides digital consultations for minor illnesses, using interactive pictures and online questions. It is accessible to patients 24/7 from any device, and 90% of users can start their treatment within just one hour.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

When I was working as a GP, I met Michael, a 70 year old gentleman who waited three hours to see me at a walk in centre back in 2015. I thought that there must be an easier way to access healthcare. So I started looking into alternatives, and when I found none, I decided to go about creating one. I have been fortunate enough to have a great Co-Founder in Aleesha who has been instrumental in developing creative solutions to all the challenges that we have encountered.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  • Have a vision and make it a big one – set your goals globally rather than just locally in the spirit of true disruption.
  • Be relentless in the pursuit of this vision and always try and learn from every experience or opportunity which comes your way – know your market, keep reading about it and stay focused.
  • Build a world class team and inspire them to believe in the company mission. Be confident in your leadership and enjoy the process. A successful entrepreneur may build a well respected company, but a successful team will change the world.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Healthcare innovation is very challenging because impact takes time to achieve. However, your clinical experience is really the key differentiator in the marketplace. If you genuinely feel you have a clear perspective on the problem and have created the solution then building the evidence for your product, despite being time consuming, is the clearest way to show its potential.

Some regard regulation as being a tough element of service delivery, but embrace the challenge as a well executed process is the reason you will stand out in the industry.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Over the last three years, we have won or been shortlisted for 22 healthcare awards as a result of the innovations we have developed in digital care. This has led us to international recognition and the opportunity to showcase i-GP at Conferences all over the world.

Learning to adapt and raise healthcare standards has been a reflection of the dedicated team approach to the venture. However, this recognition is secondary to the feedback we receive from our patients as this is our main driving force. Impacting the patient journey to care on a daily basis  is the motivation and inspiration to transform traditional routes of service. For example last week, we treated a patient who was due to catch a flight abroad for her sister’s wedding but was suffering with a urinary tract infection. It was late at night, she was in a rush and her chosen pharmacy was closed. We managed to arrange her prescription at the chemist within the airport just before she was due to take off. When she returned she was so thankful that her trip hadn’t been ruined by illness and she had been well enough to enjoy the celebrations.

Best part of your job now?

Without a doubt, my greatest fulfilment comes from leading our team. We are all passionate about seizing this opportunity in time to showcase the good that technology can bring to healthcare and the NHS. Digital health is still very much in its early stage of adoption and even though smartphones have been commonplace for several years, we are still on the cusp of widespread digital use. The service that we implement today, we hope, will continue for many years to come.

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

There has been a real drive recently with Rt Hon. Matthew Hancock advocating technology to modernise the NHS. Accompanying this, are the additional Government funds being made available to trial new products. This combination offers a paradigm shift from previous regimes and as innovators, we are very much looking forward to this filtering down to provide new opportunities. I also feel it is imperative that decision makers utilise patient feedback to help determine the future course and not just rely on industry advisers.

A typical day for you would include..

Most days are very varied due to the wide scope of avenues we are exploring at i-GP. I usually like to hold key meetings in the morning with either members of the team or board to review processes and define our future strategy.

We have a schedule over the week to assign time to all the key aspects of service from marketing to patient outcomes and from technology developments to the financial structure we have adopted. Reflection is part of this process and the opportunity to network with other innovators is often on the timetable to ascertain the potential for collaboration.

Liasing with the Accelerator team and our navigator Sara is also a key part of our time as we look to integrate further into the NHS.

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Dr Sukhbinder Noorpuri who recently won the Chairman’s Entrepreneur Award (pictured above) at the TiE Awards Wednesday 5 December. Find out more about the awards here

For more information on i-GP visit i-gp.co.uk or follow them on Twitter @wellness_igp_uk

Think Diabetes for World Diabetes Day

Think Diabetes for Diabetes Day

HR managers are working in partnership to revolutionize the workplace in a move which could improve employees’ health, save money for the NHS and boost productivity, argues Health Innovation Network Senior Project Manager Linda Briant (pictured below) who is driving forward Think Diabetes.

Employees with a diagnosis of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes (and carers of people with diabetes) will be supported and encouraged to take time off work to learn about their diabetes. The insight and knowledge gained at these Structured Education sessions will empower individuals to self-manage their condition and improve their long-term health outcomes.

How big a problem is diabetes?
Diabetes costs the NHS more than £10 billion per year and this constitutes roughly 10 per cent of the entire budget. We know that Structured Education is part of the solution. People with diabetes benefit from being able to self-manage their condition and make changes to diet and lifestyle. Structured Education helps them to do this and is clinically proven. It also provides much needed peer support after being diagnosed with a life changing condition. What’s more, it is recommended as a basic and crucial part of care for an individual with diabetes by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the NHS’s guidance on clinical standards.

Despite this, uptake rates of diabetes education are low and one of the reasons commonly cited is that it is difficult to take time off work. Diabetes is covered by the Equality Act 2010 as a long term condition that has significant impact on individuals’ lives. 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.

What must change?
The working population in Britain spends roughly a third of their life at work. Yet all too often, the role of employers in creating and maintaining healthy workplaces, or supporting their staff to be healthy, is overlooked.
The workplace is a great setting for reaching people with messages that promote and encourage healthy lifestyles and many businesses are already taking action by promoting healthy initiatives. The benefits to them are higher staff morale and lower rates of sickness absence.
Evidence shows that employers that invest in appropriate workplace health initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of their employees have the potential to see a significant return on investment (1) A review of academic studies shows that the return on investment for some workplace health initiatives can range from £2 for every £1 spent (1:2) to £34 for every £1 spent (1:34) (2).

How is the Health Innovation Network influencing change?
Human resource (HR) professionals, alongside people living with diabetes have worked with the Health Innovation Network to develop and test strategies that could easily be adopted by organisations to support people living with diabetes attend structured education. These include:
1. HR policy and strategy changes to facilitate taking leave to attend courses
2. Structured education delivered in the workplace
3. Healthy lifestyles awareness-raising sessions at work with a focus on diabetes prevention

The learning from this feasibility study is being incorporated into a ‘how to’ guide, which provides examples of good practice, along with recommendations for undertaking this initiative in your workplace.

This guide will be published and available in January 2019.
How can you make change happen for your workforce?
• Sign up to receive a free copy of the ‘how to guide’ for supporting people living with diabetes in the workplace
• Implement the recommendations
• Tell us about the impact
• Grow the UK’s healthy workplace community
If you are an HR professional interested in receiving more information, contact me on linda.briant@nhs.net.
Citing the evidence

Evidence informs us that working age adults and younger people with diabetes are less likely to complete Structured Education, which can result in poor health outcomes.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes’ report: Taking control: Supporting people to self-manage their diabetes (March 2015) highlighted that many structured education courses require substantial time off work during the week; and that this is a major disincentive to attendance as people often do not wish to use annual leave for this purpose.
A recommendation from the report states: “The clear benefits to people’s health of attending education courses mean that the Government should give people a legal right to time off work to attend education courses about their diabetes that their healthcare team believe are appropriate to their needs.” (3) NICE recommends that well-designed and well-implemented structured education programmes are likely to be cost-effective for people with diabetes and should be offered to every person and/or their carer at and around the time of diagnosis, with annual reinforcement and review.
References:
1 Healthy Work – Evidence into Action 2010 page 46
2 BUPA, Workplace Health – A Worthwhile Investment, 2010
3 Taking Control: Supporting people to self-manage their diabetes, page 20 – APPG Diabetes Report

Meet the Innovator

Meet the Innovator

Each issue we’ll get up close and personal with an innovator asking them to share their thoughts and experience from their journey into the world of health and care innovation. In our latest edition, we spoke to Dr Nicholas Andreou, Co-Founder of Locums Nest, a staff bank management app; connecting healthcare professionals to temporary work.

Pictured above r-l: Dr Nicholas Andreou with fellow Co-Founder of Locums Nest, Ahmed Shahrabanian.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

Locums Nest bridges the gap between hospitals and doctors. Making staff vacancies easier and simpler to fill, without the expensive agency middle man.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Working as junior doctors in the NHS and experiencing first-hand the frustrations and inefficiencies of filling gaps in the rota.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  • Be tenacious- don’t take no for an answer, have thick skin
  • Hire people with purpose who believe in your message
  • Be kind to everyone you meet.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Trying to positively change an established institution, with large long-standing incumbents. Challenging the status quo.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

With our help, a Trust managed to staff a winter pressures ward without going to an agency. This meant they saved £1.6m in the first 10 months.

Best part of your job now?

Meeting different people in different environments; realising the NHS is enriched with experience and expertise from a vast range of backgrounds.

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

Open up the barriers to meeting the right people in the system to support innovation.

A typical day for you would include..

There’s no such thing! One day I could be travelling across the country for meetings, in the office for a full day product meeting or spending the day supporting our NHS clients.

Contact us

W: locumsnest.co.uk

T: @locumsnest

Thousands of care home residents across south London to benefit from safer emergency hospital visits and faster discharge as novel ‘Red Bag’ scheme expands

Innovative Red Bag

Thousands of care home residents across south London to benefit from safer emergency hospital visits as novel ‘Red Bag’ scheme expands

Novel ‘Red Bag’ ensures thousands care home residents across south London will have safer emergency hospital visits and faster discharge

The ‘Red Bag’ keeps vital medical info and personal belongings safe during emergency hospital visits

Thousands of care home residents will benefit from an innovation designed to make emergency hospital visits safer and speed up discharge after health and care chiefs agreed to extend the innovative Red Bag scheme across the whole of south London.

The news comes on the United Nation’s International Day of Older Persons (1st October) and means older residents enjoy a more personal and seamless health and care service.

Started three years ago Sutton Vanguard’s Hospital Transfer Pathway ‘Red Bag’ ensures key info such as existing medical conditions and other clinical information is communicated and helps ensure residents return to their care home as promptly as possible once hospital treatment is completed.

Developed by NHS and care home staff, the Red Bag has already been adopted across 11 London boroughs and is expected to go live in south London borough Croydon in November. NHS England unveiled a Red Bag scheme toolkit in June to encourage all areas of the country to adopt the scheme.

Care homes across south London, holding more than 13,000 care home beds between them, have committed to taking part in the Red Bag – a simple innovation which ensures records and personal belongings are kept safe when a care home resident is transferred into hospital.

Under the scheme, when a patient is taken into hospital in an emergency they have a Red Bag to take with them. The Red Bag contains:

  •  General health information, including on any existing medical conditions
  •  Medication information so ambulance and hospital staff know immediately what medication they are taking
  •      Personal belongings (such as clothes for day of discharge, glasses, hearing aid, dentures or other items)

The Red Bag also clearly identifies a patient as being a care home resident and provides hospital staff with the information they need to speed up clinical decisions. This means patients can often be discharged sooner which is better both for the residents and for the NHS, as it means individuals are out of hospital more quickly and money is saved. Extended hospital time can be particularly problematic for those with dementia who can deteriorate more rapidly when away from their usual settings.

The bag stays with the patient whilst they are in hospital. When patients are ready to go home, a copy of their discharge summary (which details every aspect of the care they received in hospital) will be placed in the Red Bag so that care home staff have access to this important information when their residents arrive back home.

The Red Bag has been used with care home residents 2,000 times in south London since April 2017 and length of stay in hospital has reduced by on average 2.4 bed days per Red Bag used.

The Red Bag initiative was created by Sutton CCG hosted Sutton Homes of Care, which was a national Vanguard programme to improve care in residential and nursing homes, in partnership with clinicians from Epsom and St Helier University hospitals, Sutton and Merton Community Services, London Ambulance Service and representatives of the care homes.

Since its introduction in Sutton, the Red Bag has also stopped patients losing personal items such as dentures, glasses and hearing aids worth £290,000 in a year.

There are half a million more people aged over 75 than there were in 2010 – and there will be two million more in ten years’ time. They are also spending more years in ill-health than ever before.

Caroline Dinenage, Care Minister, said:

“The Red Bag is a great innovation that helps link up health and care services for older people, so it’s fantastic news that the whole of south London is now committed to using it. Not only is this more efficient – saving valuable resources – but it leads to a much better experience for patients leaving hospital when their treatment has finished. It’s encouraging to see the scheme being rolled out even further across the country as we move towards our ambition of joined up care that is centred around the individual.”

Aditee Naik, Peartree Care Home Manager, said: “Care home residents are at their most vulnerable when they travel in an emergency into hospital. This is why the Red Bag is so important because it ensures all key paperwork, medication and personal items like glasses, slippers and dentures, are handed to ambulance crews by carers and travel with patients to hospital where they are then handed to the doctor.

“Sometimes it’s the personal touch that makes a big difference to patients, especially if they’re elderly, and the Red Bag helps people feel reassured and more at home. It’s great that on United Nations International Day of Older Persons, here across the whole of South London we are celebrating the fact that the Red Bag is helping ensure our older residents and patients have the very best care.”

Jason Morris, London Ambulance Service Clinical Team Leader, who helped develop the Red Bag at Sutton CCG during its national Vanguard status, said:

“The Red Bag standardises the process of handover from a care home and means we can get all the essential information in one go, no matter which home in they’re in.

“We’re delighted this scheme has led to such a wide range of benefits for us, our colleagues in hospitals as well as care home staff. But most importantly, it’s seen improvements in the care of these patients who can go to the hospital with everything they need. We’re even seeing them returning back to the care home quicker.”

Stephanie Watts, NHS Greenwich CCG Commissioning Manager, said: “The Red Bag pathway is a true example of collaboration between health and care agencies. It works well because all the agencies involved in patient transfers from care homes are invested in it.

“Use of the Red Bags has a number of proven benefits which we are already beginning to see, even though it’s only been a few months, including things like increased communication between hospital teams and Care Home staff, shorter stays in hospital and improved quality of information provided to Care Homes when their residents are discharged.”

 

Chris Terrahe, Deputy Director of Nursing at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside our partners in Croydon CCG and local care homes as part of the new Red Bag scheme in the borough. For care home residents arriving at or leaving hospital, it should make things much more efficient because all the vital information about their health will be in one place.”

 

Dr Agnelo Fernandes, Clinical Chair of NHS Croydon CCG and local GP said: “I’m delighted that the Red Bag is being rolled out in Croydon.  We’ve seen that it can really reduce hospital stays for care home residents, ultimately improving their quality of life.”

 

Sarah Blow, Senior Responsible Officer for South West London Health and Care Partnership, said: “We’re incredibly proud of the work being done to improve the health of older people in Sutton by bringing together health and social care providers. Having seen the benefits to patients, we have already rolled out the red bag scheme in other boroughs in south west London, so we’re delighted that this will become a national scheme.”

 

Tara Donnelly, Chief Executive of the Health Innovation Network, said: “Our hospitals provide great care, but no one wants to spend any longer there than they need to and being transferred from a care home to hospital in an emergency can feel traumatic. That’s why the Red Bag is a great example of a simple idea with a big impact.”

 

From the “Mortality Aware” to the “Baby Boomer Boozers”, we all need help to cut through the app…

From the “Mortality Aware” to the “Baby Boomer Boozers”, we all need help to cut through the app…

A new report out today from the International Longevity Centre – UK, Cutting through the App: How can mobile health apps meet their true potential?brings together a whole range of statistics and analysis on the current state of play with health apps. It’s a good read and identifies several health apps that have been proven to reduce unhealthy behaviours.  It’s the latest report to emphasise the potential of digital health. From apps that help tackle the devastating impact of insomnia, to those that make it easier for anxious teenagers to discuss mental health as well as apps to tackle diabetes, the reality is that healthcare can be in your pocket.

The report identifies several population groups in the UK that could benefit the most from effective health behavioural change apps. These include:

  • Nearly 1 million ‘baby boomer boozers’ who are over 60, drink frequently and use a smartphone;
  • 760,000 ‘living fast, dying young’ who are under 40 and smoke, drink frequently, have a smartphone and regularly use the internet;
  • 5.7 million people who ‘just need a push’ and who eat healthy and don’t smoke, but drink moderately and rarely exercise;
  • 2 million ‘connected, healthy and young’ who eat well, exercise frequently and regularly use the internet.

While these groups are found to have a huge opportunity to benefit from health apps, the biggest barrier is the sheer volume of apps out there and the difficulty this adds when it comes to sorting the best from the rest. The NHS apps library is applauded for its approach but complexity for consumers remains.

At AHSNs, we see the way that this complexity can be a barrier for busy clinicians too. With so many digital health innovations to choose from, finding the time to assess and assure them can be incredibly tough. That’s why a key part of the role of AHSNs is to work with the NHS up and down the country to cut through this noise, and find and spread the kind of proven digital innovation that makes a difference.

If you’re a clinician and need help “cutting through the app” you can browse examples of the innovations we support, including apps, here:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/innovation/nia/

https://digitalhealth.london/accelerator/companies/

If you need advice about an innovation, contact us at hin.southlondon@nhs.net

£100k awarded to drive NHS innovations across South London

£100k awarded to drive NHS innovations across South London

Twelve projects including schemes to meet the needs of women with perinatal mental health problems, group consultations for chronic health management and challenging conversations training for volunteers have won funding under South London Small Grants 2018.

The awards were made by the Health Innovation Network working in partnership with Health Education England. In all there were 120 applications across 45 different organisations that applied for funding.

The aim of the grants is to support innovative practice that can be spread and adopted across the Health and Social Care landscape.. The funding also aims to encourage cross-boundary working in areas of research, education and improvement in healthcare services.

In previous years, the Small Grants have enabled people across London to access small pockets of funding for research and innovation to try out their ideas, using the grant as a springboard to support their potential.

The 12 Projects that will receive funding are:

Kim Nurse, Darzi Fellow, (Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust): A collaborative project with the University of Creative Arts to create a campaign to education patients, their relatives and staff regarding the risks of deconditioning in hospital

Emily Symington, GP, (Amersham Vale Training Practice): Group consultations for chronic health management in urban deprived population in GP

Manasvi Upadhyaya, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, (Evelina Children’s Hospital): Development of a gastrostomy care package – a quality improvement project

Vicky Shaw, Clinical Lead, (Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust): A integrated and collaborative approach to Falls training to address high levels of falls amongst residents with dementia in Lewisham Care Homes

Katherine Bristowe, Herbert Dunhill Lecturer, (King’s College London): ACCESSCare-e: reducing inequalities for LGBT people facing advanced illness and bereavement – an evidence based self-paced online intervention

Hind Khalifeh, Honorary Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist, (SLAM/KCL): Meeting the needs of women with perinatal mental health problems through partnerships between NHS perinatal mental health services and voluntary sector organisations Home Start and Cocoon

Ursula Bowerman, Operational Director/Lead Facilitator, (Project Dare/SLAM): The LGBTQ+  Dare Sessions

Estelle Malcolm, Clinical Psychologist, (NAAAPS/SLAM): Using an appreciative inquiry approach to increase the voice of adults with an autism spectrum condition in shaping psychological therapy services

Kate Heaps, CEO, (Greenwich & Bexley Hospice): Young Ward Volunteers Scheme

Michael Brady, Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV, (Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust): Delivering and evaluating a Sexual Health and Well-being service for Trans communities in SE London

Liz Bryan, Director of Education and Training, (St Christopher’s Hospice): Challenging Conversations: training volunteers to support the frail elderly and those with long-term conditions in the community who want to talk about end of life issues

Sophie Butler, Higher Trainee in General Adult Psychiatry, (SLAM): Extreme Psychiatry 2.0

Meet the Innovator

Meet the Innovator

In our latest edition, we spoke to Mike Hurley, creator of ESCAPE-pain – a rehabilitation programme for people with chronic joint pain. Mike is currently a Professor of Rehabilitation Sciences at St George’s University of London & Kingston University as well as Clinical Director for the Musculoskeletal theme at Health Innovation Network.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

ESCAPE-pain “does exactly what is says on the tin”, it’s a rehabilitation programme for older people with chronic knee or hip pain (often called osteoarthritis) that helps participants understand why they have pain, what they can do to help themselves cope with it, and guides them through an exercise programme that helps them realise the benefits that can be attained from being more physically active.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Not sure it was a lightbulb moment, it was more like one of the low energy lights slowly coming on! But there were two turning points that have led to ESCAPE-pain.

The first was realising the impact of pain on people’s everyday physical and psychosocial function was as important to them as the sensation of pain itself, and that addressing these impacts is as important as minimising pain.

The second was realising the importance muscle plays in causing joint pain and joint damage. We used to think joint pain was caused by damage to joints that resulted in pain, this stopped people doing their regular activities, which caused muscle weakness and makes the joint susceptible to further damage. However, we highlighted muscles are very important for protecting our joints from abnormal movement and suggested impaired muscle function that occurs as we get older may initiate joint damage. Thus, muscle is a cause rather than simply a consequence of joint damage. If that’s true then maintaining well-conditioned muscles through exercise-based rehabilitation programmes, we might prevent or reduce joint pain and damage, and improve people’s quality of life.

Coupling the first light bulb moment – addressing the psychosocial impact of pain – with the second light bulb moment – experience and understanding of the value of exercise – gives us ESCAPE-pain.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. Prove your innovation works – if people aren’t convinced it is useful to them why would they use it?
  2. Surround yourself with a team of clever, hardworking people who believe in you and the innovation.
  3. Keep your eyes on the prize – wide implementation – and be prepared for lots of ups and downs and hard work convincing the multitude of non-believers that your innovation works.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Some of the conversations we had with commissioners would have been laughable if they weren’t so depressing. Financial pressures mean people delivering the programme continually want to reduce the number of sessions, but we know doing that reduces its effectiveness. And even though commissioners were often convinced about the need for the programme and wanted to do the right thing, the requirement to focus on short term benefits meant that anything taking more than a year to show benefits, whether health or cost, was of little interest. Many felt unable to invest in services where the benefits are felt by other parts of the health system, for example taking the pressure off primary care. Often commissioners could hear the madness of what they were saying even as they articulated it, but that didn’t change anything. It was tough and these issues really do slow the spread of innovation.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Getting the unwavering backing of the HIN. In late 2012, I was about to give up on getting ESCAPE-pain adopted clinically, because there were no channels for innovative healthcare interventions to spread across the NHS and beyond. Then I answered an email enquiring about local MSK research in south London from its newly founded Academic Health Science Network, met with the Managing Director and frankly my professional life took a new, exciting and very fulfilling turn for the better.

Best part of your job now?

There are two:

Working with the MSK team is terrific and fun. They work so hard to make it everything work. It’s a privilege to work with such a lovely group of people.

The second great thing is the kick the whole team gets from the positive feedback we get from ESCAPE-pain participants. It never ceases to make me feel very humble and honoured to be able to help people.

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

I’d start “NICE Innovations”, a body that would screen potential (digital, models of care and service) innovations, pick the most promising, work with innovators and the health systems to find out what works (or not), why (not), and then actively promote and incentivise the health and social care systems to adopt or adapt effective innovations. Its kind of happening at the moment but feels fragmented, so it needs to be brought together to make it more effectual and “given teeth”.

A typical day for you would include..

The great thing about my work is that there is no typical day. I usually wake about six, make a cup of tea and listen to the news on the radio before heading into the new day. That could involve writing papers, grants, presenting at conferences, attending meetings at the HIN or St George’s, lecturing, mentoring students or clinicians, figuring out how to get our MSK work seen and adopted.

Find out more about ESCAPE-pain by visiting the website at www.escape-pain.org or following them on twitter @escape-pain

Contact us

W: chc2dst.com and ieg4.com (main company website).

T: @IEG4

Meet the Innovator

Meet the Innovator

In our latest edition of Meet the Innovator, we caught up with Simon Williams of CHC2DST, a cloud based digital solution for continuing healthcare assessments. Simon is currently the Healthcare Director at IEG4 Limited.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

CHC2DST supports the digital transformation of the Continuing Healthcare (CHC) Assessment process by digitising the forms used in the national framework and automating workflow processes to improve patient service, boost productivity and control CHC care package allocation.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

When we saw that a complex national process relied upon the copying and transmission of reams of paper across multiple stakeholders, it was clear that the process would be impossible to manage effectively and, that, through automation, efficiencies and service quality improvements could be realised.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. Be sure the challenges you are solving are recognised within the NHS and then be prepared for a long gestation period
  2. Find some NHS body/bodies who become early adopters, with whom you can collaborate to prove the solution within the NHS
  3. Promote your innovation at multiple levels within NHS to gain ‘share of mind’.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Despite a direct call to action from Matthew Swindells and Jane Cummings in Summer 2017 to drive up performance against the 28 Day National Standard for decision turnaround, the biggest challenge is engaging with the CCGs who are struggling to run the existing paper-based process. From NHS England Quarterly Situation Reports for CHC, we can see that many London CCGs would benefit from digital transformation of the assessment process. We are keen to talk to the CCGs in South London. An hour invested in watching a webinar would bring the digital transformation benefits to life.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

When the alignment of NHS bodies came together effectively under the auspices of the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN to create a focussed, specific event targeted at an audience of CHC practitioners. NHS Strategic Improvement for CHC explained the importance of improving the area to NHS England. Cheshire and Wirral CCGs discussed their CHC transformation journey supported by our technology and through collaborative working with us. The result was a further take up of the innovation and an increased awareness amongst the 20-odd Y&H AHSN CCGs in attendance that an alternative to the status quo was available and proven to work.

Best part of your job now?

When people who are working very hard to manage and execute the existing assessment process see how our solution puts them in control of their workload.  The ‘lightbulbs’ go on during the demo and the feedback we receive is positive . It’s great to know that we are helping to making a contribution to improve ‘our NHS’ in this area.

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

For all service leads, make exploring and championing innovation part of the job description on which they are evaluated. Create a National Innovation Channel which holds approved content which can be accessed by NHS professionals to make it easier to find solutions in use in the NHS.

A typical day for you would include..

Reaching out to NHS stakeholders in AHSNs, CCGs, and NHS Executive Management to highlight CHC2DST’s capabilities to them and share results visible from NHS Quarterly Situation Reports for CHC. The data shows that CHC2DST helps to improve productivity by reducing unnecessary work activities, improves decision turnaround timeframes and improves CHC care package allocation.

IEG4 runs regular webinars to demonstrate CHC2DST to NHS Professionals working within the CHC area, without obligation. If it works for them, we help build stakeholder support and the case for change.

Contact us

W: chc2dst.com and ieg4.com (main company website).

T: @IEG4

Meet the Innovator

Meet the Innovator

In the first of our ‘Meet the Innovator’ series, we spoke to Asma Khalil, creator of the innovation ‘HaMpton’ (Home monitoring of hypertension in pregnancy). Asma currently works as a Consultant Obstetrician at St George’s NHS Foundation Trust.

Asma Khalil, creator of the innovation 'HaMpton' (Home monitoring of hypertension in pregnancy).

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

New care pathway involving the use of an app for monitoring high blood pressure at home, empowering expectant mothers to be involved in their own care.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

I was having a dinner with my friend who had a heart attack and he showed me at the restaurant that he can monitor his heart rate using an App.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. Do not give up
  2. Believe in yourself and your innovation
  3. Listen carefully for any feedback and think of it positively.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Finances. There are some small sources of funding that can make a big difference, like south London small grants, and I’d encourage people to take advantage of them. But finances are still the biggest challenge.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

2017 HSJ Innovation Award

NIA Fellowship

Finalist for the 2017 BMJ Innovation Award.

Best part of your job now?

The best part of any doctor’s job is when he/she helps someone who is suffering or could be going through a difficult/challenging time in their life.

When I come across a pregnant woman who used my innovation and hear her feedback (without knowing that it is me behind it).  I realise that I made a difference to this women’s life and her family. It makes me realise that my efforts are worthwhile.

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

I would ensure that the NHS Hospitals have innovations at the Heart of their practice and potentially link innovation with financial incentives. I would also ensure that innovations are integral part of the hospital review/rating.

A typical day for you would include..

Looking after my patients and trying my best to provide the safest and the best possible care that they deserve. It is very rewarding to be proud of what you do.

Find out more about HaMpton here.

NHS rolls out new tech to prevent 3,650 strokes, save 900 lives and £81 million annually

NHS rolls out new tech to prevent 3,650 strokes, save 900 lives and £81 million annually

Thousands of patients to benefit from increased diagnosis of irregular heart rhythms

Innovative technology is being rolled out across the country to prevent strokes in a national campaign.

More than 6,000 devices including mobile electrocardiogram (ECG) units are being distributed to GP practices, pharmacies and NHS community clinics across England during National Heart Month this February. The range of tech being rolled out can detect irregular heart rhythm quickly and easily, enabling NHS staff to refer any patients with irregular heart rhythms for follow up as they could be at risk of severe stroke.

Official figures show that more than 420,000 people across England have undiagnosed irregular heart rhythm, which can cause a stroke if not detected and treated appropriately, usually through blood-thinning medication to prevent clots that lead to stroke.

The range of technology includes a smartphone-linked device that works via an app and a new blood pressure cuff that also detects heart rhythms. Small and easy-to-use, NHS staff can also take the devices on home visits and allow more staff in more settings to quickly and easily conduct pulse checks.

The devices pictured, which are being distributed by NHS England and the AHSN Network, can accurately and quickly detect atrial fibrillation. Clockwise from top right: Watch BP blood pressure cuff, imPulse, Kardia Mobile, MyDiagnostic & RhythmPad

The mobile devices provide a far more sensitive and specific pulse check than a manual check and this reduces costly and unnecessary 12 lead ECGs to confirm diagnosis. As a result, the project aims to identify 130,000 new cases of irregular heart rhythms (known as Atrial Fibrillation) over two years, which could prevent at least 3,650 strokes and save £81 million in associated health and costs annually.

The devices are being rolled out by the 15 NHS and care innovation bodies, known as Academic Health Science Networks, in the first six months of this year as part of an NHS England-funded project.

Professor Gary Ford, Stroke Physician and lead on the project for the Academic Health Science Networks, said:

“More than 420,000 people throughout England are unaware they have irregular heart rhythms and of the dangers that this can pose to their health. We have highly effective treatments that can prevent these strokes, but early detection is key. Using cost-effective technology, the NHS will now be able to identify people with irregular heart rhythms quickly and easily. This will save lives.

“As the NHS approaches its 70th birthday this year, this is also a great reminder of the way that healthcare is continually evolving and innovating. Taking advantage of digital health solutions will be even more important for the next 70 years. Today’s new devices are just one example of the way that low-cost tech has the potential to make a huge difference.”

Professor Stephen Powis, Medical Director of NHS England, said:

“Cardiovascular disease kills more people in this country than anything else, but there are steps we can all take to prevent it. These innovations have enormous potential to prevent thousands of strokes each year, which is why NHS England has committed to funding the rollout of 6,000 mobile ECG devices to help identify cases of atrial fibrillation so behaviours can be changed and treatment started before strokes occur.

“We are also encouraging people, during National Heart Month, to learn how to check their own pulse so we can catch even more cases.”

One million people in the UK are known to be affected by AF and an additional 422,600 people are undiagnosed. As the most common type of irregular heart rhythm, it is responsible for approximately 20% of all strokes. Survivors must live with the disabling consequences and treating the condition costs the NHS over £2.2 billion each year.

The rollout is being unveiled during National Heart Month, which raises awareness of heart conditions and encourages everyone to make small changes towards a healthier lifestyle. This year the British Heart Foundation is encouraging everyone to make small changes towards a healthier lifestyle. See more here.

The public are being encouraged to spread the word about irregular heart rhythm and urge friends and family – particularly those aged over 65 – to check their pulse and see a GP if it is irregular. Pulse checks can be done manually (a British Heart Foundation video and guide shows how here) or through new technology, with irregular rhythms investigated further by healthcare professionals.

REAL STORIES

Ian Clark, 62, North West London

I was visiting a client in 2012 and suddenly thought I was having a heart attack. The client called 999 for an ambulance. When the ambulance arrived, they took me to see a registrar in A&E who said that I had atrial fibrillation. I was in complete shock because I didn’t know what it was. She told me it’s an irregular heartbeat, lots of people have it and you will get attacks from time to time.
I felt dreadful. Really, really bad as it felt like I could die at any point. I was living in fear. The ongoing feeling was of complete and utter exhaustion and being totally drained. It’s far worse than the worst jetlag. You do not have the energy to do anything at all.
To know that there is something dreadfully wrong with your heart is awful and all you want to do is collapse into a corner.
Three days after being in A&E I went to my GP. The nurse there gave me a ECG and while doing it she ran out and came back with the doctor and they thought I was having a heart attack! It turned out I wasn’t but they booked me to see a cardiac specialist at the Harefield Hospital in North West London, who was amazing. She put me on anti-coagulants to treat my condition.
During this whole period, I constantly thought I was going to die and that was massively draining and stressful. I had 37 medical appointments in three months.
Six years on after the diagnosis, the reality is that I am living a normal life. Two years ago, I even went white water rafting in Costa Rica!

Above: Chris (4th from left) white-water rafting in Costa Rica six years after an atrial fibrillation diagnosis

Wendy Westoby, 77, Tyldesley in Wigan

After suffering from an AF-related stroke, Wendy Westoby is the first to encourage people to get their pulses tested.
77-year-old Wendy, from Tyldesley in Wigan had been suffering from an irregular heart rate since 2000. She first noticed an atrial flutter after her 60th birthday but put it down to “over indulgence!”
Wendy suffered a stroke in 2009 and but despite many consultations with cardiologists, her symptoms “wouldn’t appear to order” so she wasn’t diagnosed with AF until 2011.
Wendy has received a catheter ablation but her symptoms reappeared in 2017 and Wendy is scheduled for further surgery this weekend at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital.
Now Wendy has become an AF Ambassadors – using the latest AliveCor technology to test people’s pulses in her community – she also finds it useful for emailing her own ECGs to her consultant’s secretary.
She said: “The experience has shown me is that it’s even more important to pick cases up early.”
And for those who may be nervous after being tested, she advised: “Go ahead – very simple – initial treatment should be non- traumatic and may avoid long term problems after a stroke.”

Adoption and spread of innovation in the NHS

Adoption and spread of innovation in the NHS

Boots on the ground, local freedoms and supportive leaders: ingredients for successful spread of innovation detailed in new report.

A new report from The King’s Fund, published today and commissioned on behalf of the AHSN Network, charts the journeys of eight innovations from creation to widespread use.

From new communication technologies for patients with long-term conditions, to new care pathways in liver disease diagnosis, to new checklists for busy A&E departments, the report details the highs and lows of an innovator’s journey through the NHS.

While thousands of patients are now receiving new innovative treatments for arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic liver disease, thanks to successful innovations, the report outlines the significant barriers that stand in innovators’ paths.

The case studies reveal common themes:

  • New innovations may appear simple to introduce but can have a domino effect – triggering a series of changes to diagnosis and treatment, revealing new patient needs and resulting in big changes to staff and patient roles. That’s why staff need time and resources to implement them.
  • As long as the NHS sets aside less than 0.1% of available resources for the adoption and spread of innovation, a small fraction of the funds available for innovation itself, the NHS’s operating units will struggle to adopt large numbers of innovations and rapidly improve productivity.
  • Fragmentation of NHS services remains a barrier to adoption and spread of innovation, making it harder to develop shared approaches and transmit learning across sites.
  • Providers need to be able to select and tailor innovations that deliver the greatest value given local challenges and work in the local context.

Read the report in full here.

The findings of the report will be discussed in depth at a live online event hosted by The King’s Fund on 19 January at 10am. Register and more details here.

England’s 15 AHSNs were set up by the NHS in 2013. They bring together the NHS, social care, public health, academic, voluntary and industry organisations to support the spread of innovation throughout the NHS and care. During their first licence (since 2013) they have spread over 200 innovations through 11,000 locations, benefiting 6 million people, creating over 500 jobs and leveraging £330 million investment to improve health and support the NHS, social care and industry innovators.

A manifesto for spread

A manifesto for spread

Innovation – the word is ripe with the prospect of a better future. However for me, the most exciting part of innovation in healthcare is not the invention or discovery element, it is that crucial part of getting the idea to many hundreds or even millions of citizens to benefit their health says Health Innovation Network Chief Executive Tara Donnelly.

While we have a great reputation for discovery in healthcare in the UK, which long predates the existence of the NHS, my recent chapter in Leading Reliable Healthcare argues that there is much more we could do to achieve spread, and that a focus on this would be an important way to achieve legacy from the abundance of entrepreneurial and creative talent that exists in this country in life sciences, digital health, clinical research and process improvements.

This blog expands on this topic further, bringing in thoughts both from the chapter and elsewhere to outline ideas on a manifesto for spread that I think we need to find a way to put in place, as a matter of some urgency.

It is important to acknowledge that there is a variety in the types of innovations; from new devices to digital tools, concepts and processes can be the most significant in changing care design. The chapter starts with a working definition:

“When we talk about “innovation” in the NHS, what do we mean? In the author’s opinion, the most useful is “an idea, service or product, new to the NHS or applied in a way that is new to the NHS, which significantly improves the quality of health and care wherever it is applied” (Taken from Innovation, Health and Wealth, Sir Ian Curruthers, Department of Health 2011).

Spend on spread

Spread has a cost, it is not a free good as clinicians and organisations need some support in adopting any new intervention or product within their practice. In innovative companies they see that communicating and supporting spread really matters and invest in spread related activities. Analysis completed by the AHSN Network indicates that there is a consistent ratio that the most admired companies seem to use.

Regardless of whether you are Apple or GE or a pharma company, the spend on spread activities including sales and marketing is typically over 2.5 times your investment in R&D, so 250-300%. In the NHS, we currently spend less than 1% of our £1.2bn R&D annual spend, on actively spreading it, and this ratio simply looks wrong. It was cited recently in Falling short: Why the NHS is still struggling to make the most of new innovations, a Nuffield Trust publication.

Within the chapter, I interview a range of people to hear their perspectives, particularly on spread and diffusion. Sir Bruce Keogh observes that “the spread can be more important than the innovation in terms of making a difference to people’s lives”. He offers that perhaps the most important single technical innovation to impact the health service is the microscope, invented by the Dutchman Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (“the father of microbiology”) in 1683. But what made a huge difference to adoption was that the president of the Royal Society, Robert Hook, wrote a beautifully illustrated book in English about it called Micrographia, understanding the significance this breakthrough could have in understanding disease. His book became “the first scientific best-seller” and “captured the public’s imagination in a radically new way; Samuel Pepys called it ‘the most ingenious book that I ever read in my life”.

 

Valuing innovation as much as invention

I’m currently reading James Barlow’s comprehensive assessment of “Managing Innovation in Healthcare” where he puts the distinction between invention and innovation beautifully: “an invention is merely a nascent innovation and it may be many years before it makes it to innovation status” p43. He also quotes Schon’s succinct definition: “Innovation is ‘the process of bringing inventions into use’” p25, and I believe we forget this at our peril. James is Professor of Technology and Innovation (Healthcare) at Imperial College Business School and I’d heartily recommend his new book if you’d like to get into this topic in greater depth, details are referenced at the end of this blog.

Elsewhere – in an article entitled “We’re serious about innovation – now let’s get serious about spread” – I state “spread – meaning at scale adoption of an innovation – is the way we will move from unwarranted variation in the NHS; from pockets of poor performance contrasting with beacons of excellence, often in a single geography, to improvements at scale to touch many more lives”. Within the piece I suggested if we were really serious about it we might celebrate and reward spread activities more vigorously, for example, introducing a Nobel Prize for spread rather than only congratulating discovery. Intelligent alignment is also critically important, so that different parts of the NHS and social care systems are set up and incentivised to adopt, including but not limited to financial rewards and methods of tracking data on progress. A transformation fund for hard pressed NHS institutions keen on spread would make a real difference in the current climate. It is welcome that the Office for Life Sciences has announced it will be setting one up, particularly to help parts of the NHS adopt innovations, and interesting that this is coming from a separate part of government than health, as a result of the Accelerated Access Review.

Importantly, that’s not to give the impression the NHS wouldn’t benefit hugely from additional resource as has been articulated clearly by the CEO of the NHS, Simon Stevens. In my view, this is essential, as we face the combined demands of an ageing population and increasing chronic disease burden. But were the NHS to receive an appropriately generous financial settlement, I would like to see proper funding of spread activities, so that we can get the best well-evidenced solutions – that help patients, clinicians and often make better use of resources in the longer term – to as many people, as quickly as possible.

It is interesting to see that across the channel the French government has established 14 regional tech transfer hubs with a budget of one billion euros to draw up, including investing in the strongest digital ideas, many of them in the health sphere. Eight years ago, it also introduced a system to make certain innovations available entirely free of charge to its healthcare system, as referenced by Barlow: “Since 2010, France has operated a system for conditionally covering the full cost of selected innovative devices, services or interventions which appear promising but for which there is insufficient data on the clinical benefit.” (p218)

Reaching many patients as a priority is a sentiment agreed with strongly by all of the interviewees, Tony Young emphasises the unique opportunity we have within the NHS: “The NHS is the single largest unified healthcare system in the history of the human race. This gives us some opportunities that no one else has had the chance to do— and one of them is to innovate at scale. It’s complex and divided— but that’s what gives us the opportunity to say well let’s have a go at it. If you really want to do this at scale, then we can do this in the NHS. Recently, 103 of the brightest clinicians you could ever want to meet were selected to be a part of the Clinical Entrepreneur programme and came together for their first weekend recently. Never before has there been a cohort at such a scale of clinical entrepreneurs who’ve worked together on the planet, ever”.

Skilling up for ‘scale ups’, not just ‘start ups’

Helen Bevan draws a distinction between the skills required for start-up v scale up: “What I think is one of the biggest problems that I see now, is the issue between start-up and scale-up. We have, in my mind, a system that is primarily designed for start-up— and what we keep doing is to put in charge the kind of people that love doing early-stage invention and early innovation. They’re your pioneers, your early adopters. What we keep doing is going over and over the cycle, of start-up again to attempt to spread and scale. But we’ve only got so far. We need a lot a lot of additional thinking … and need to find the people who are good at scale-up, and put them in charge of this activity, not the people who are good at start-up”. Her addition to David Albury’s work at the Innovation Unit, in creating a “checklist for scale” is incorporated as a figure in the book.

Research and data

James Barlow highlights that spread in healthcare has been under-researched to date: “situations involving collective or organisational decisions have been relatively neglected by researchers. Finally, until relatively recently, there was little research on the adoption and diffusion of innovation in the public or non-profit sectors.” P161. The exceptions to this include pioneers such as Trish Greenhalgh of Oxford and Ewan Ferlie of King’s as well as Ritan Atun at Harvard and those in the Imperial group.

Ian Dodge adds “We’re also systemically atrocious at using data systematically. For instance, looking at population outcomes of what’s happening at the end of a service line change, getting rapid feedback, iterating. Some of the initial bit of improvement science is so vital to getting stuff off the ground, but then typically we see really poor engineering discipline, factory style, around how do you actually convert this at scale”.

Clinical innovators and spread

In the chapter, some interesting examples of where spread activity is beginning to work in the English NHS are referenced, calling out the NHS Innovation Accelerator which seeks to accelerate uptake of high impact innovations and provides real time practical insights on spread to inform national strategy. Given publishing deadlines, I wrote the chapter more than a year ago, and it is both fascinating and encouraging to see how the NHS Innovation Accelerator – a programme supported by all 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) and NHS England, coordinated by UCL Partners – has gone from strength to strength in this time in terms of tangible results of achieving scale.

It is also striking that many of the innovations on the Accelerator have been developed by innovative NHS clinicians who spotted opportunities to improve care – making it safer and more effective. For instance, Simon Bourne, a consultant respiratory physician at Portsmouth Hospital devised myCOPD, an online platform that helps patients self-manage with dramatic results, Dharmesh Kapoor, a consultant obstetrician at Bournemouth Hospital invented Episcissor-60, scissors specifically designed to make childbirth safer, Maryanne Mariyaselvam, a doctor in training working in research in Addenbrookes, came up with the NIC a device that prevents tragic accidents with blood lines, Peter Young, a consultant anaesthetist at King’s Lynn Hospital created a ventilation tube that prevents the most serious complication of ITU care.

All the products referenced are now eligible for NHS England’s Innovation and Technology Tariff which began in April 2017 and enables NHS Trusts and CCGs in England to use these innovations either for free or to claim a charge per use. It is an important scheme and would be very valuable to see it expanded in future years.

Taking the myCOPD example, it is really interesting to see the impact of this support in terms of scale-up. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder or COPD is a progressive disease, meaning it gets steadily worse over time, and people living with it find that exacerbations increase and they are admitted to hospital more and more frequently. In fact, COPD is the second most common reason for hospital admissions in the country, causing a great deal of distress to people and families and costing the NHS over £800m in direct healthcare costs. Studies have also found that 90% of people with COPD are unable to take their medication correctly. The myCOPD on line platform has been found to correct 98% of inhaler errors without any other clinical intervention.

If you have COPD, there is a great deal you can do to help yourself avoid exacerbations, but it can be hard to do these things consistently, alone. The evidence demonstrates that those who manage to quit smoking, do regular exercises known as pulmonary rehab, have optimal inhaler technique and are able to resist the understandable urge to panic when breathless, do much better than those who do not. Simon’s support system for people with COPD has educational, self-management, symptom reporting, mindfulness and pulmonary rehabilitation aspects, all delivered online. Typical quotes from grateful patients include “Since I started using myCOPD, I have lost weight, my depression has lifted, and I see my GP just once a year (compared with twice-monthly visits previously). I have not needed hospital treatment for 18 months”, “last year, before using myCOPD, I had 12 exacerbations. This year I have had just two.”

The programme is now being used by over 55,000 people with severe COPD in England, which is roughly one-quarter of that population, with more CCGs and respiratory teams coming on board each week. I think it is fantastic that people living with this chronic condition that responds well to regular exercise and relatively simple interventions, now have a tool in their pocket that can help them better manage it, and it is very appropriate that this is NHS funded. What’s more, this expansion has been pacy and achieved in around 18months.

I discuss this further in a blog entitled “Finally, a tariff for digital innovations” – you can perhaps hear the note of impatience in the title – and state that while it is a much needed start, we need to go further faster and expand the scheme to accelerate the adoption of great tools like these that are essential for patients with long term conditions seeking to stay as well as possible. Funding six devices/tool types in its first year, only one of which is digital, the programme has started very modestly compared to the scale of investment of our counterparts in France for example.

 

Patient-led innovation

There have also been some great examples of patient-led innovations succeeding recently. The three London AHSNs founded Digital Health.London with MedCIty in 2016 and established an accelerator focused on spreading the best digital health solutions across the capital. On our founding cohort was Michael Seres, an incredibly entrepreneurial patient who had designed a tool to link stoma bags with smartphones via Bluetooth, to increase the dignity of the user and ensure alerts were provided when bags were reaching capacity, who is now CEO of 11 Health. The ostim-i had achieved sales in other countries but not the UK when Michael joined our programme and we were delighted that the first NHS contract has been achieved in west London. It is also available to patients to buy direct, as is the myCOPD tool. The ostim-i has been a beneficiary – as was myCOPD – of the development fund we have to support interesting UK concepts, the Small Business Research Initiative or SBRI fund – subject of my most recent blog “Why SBRI matters”.

But there are many more ideas out there, developed by patients, parents of patients and carers alongside entrepreneurs and clinicians and we need to radically increase the capacity to give them the support they need. I am encouraged that the Office for Life Sciences, part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is investing in creating Innovation Exchanges, hosted by AHSNs to increase the support to local innovators, with funding due early in this new year and committed to for three years. The need to provide stronger support to UK companies and ideas is felt all the more intensely given Brexit.

I conclude the chapter “While there is plenty to do, it feels as though there is reason for optimism that the entrepreneurial zeal at the heart of our health system will continue to burn brightly and that more recent learning and focus on collaboration and scale will help us to ensure that the best ideas in health and care are disseminated more widely across the NHS.”

A system for spread

A year on, I remain optimistic; we’ve had commitments made as a result of the Accelerated Access Review, it has been announced that AHSNs will be relicensed to operate as the innovation arm of the NHS and we have strong spread and progress particularly through our major collaborations – the NHS Innovation Accelerator and in the capital through Digital Health.London, NHS England has made an important start in a tariff for innovation.

However, my view is that we need many more including our regulators, politicians, NHS staff, patients and their representatives to join this movement if we are to achieve the change we need to take place, and be much bolder about our commitment to spread. To see all NHS organisations join the best in  moving beyond “not invented here” to truly rewarding adoption and diffusion activities and acknowledging that change needs support to be durable, and happens at the speed of trust.

We need our inspection regimes and regulators to really get this and understand the behavioural insights we now know about achieving sustainable diffusion and change, and leaders supporting staff through these changes not resorting to an over simplistic and non-evidence based paradigm that telling will result in adherence.

If the spread movement was to achieve this level of support across the NHS, we would then be able to enact all aspects of the manifesto for spread and with support for these principles, and the action required, including investment in supporting NHS organisations scale up innovation, and I believe it could be possible to make significant change happen quickly.

Acknowledgments

I am very grateful to all those people I’ve discussed this topic with and particularly Suzie Bailey, Richard Barker, Helen Bevan, Ian Dodge, Sir Bruce Keogh, Becky Malby and Tony Young for the generous support they have lent to the chapter and to Stephanie Kovala for all her assistance in compiling it.

Suzie Bailey is Director of Leadership and Quality Improvement at NHS Improvement, Richard Barker is Chair of Health Innovation Network and CEO New Medicine Partners, Helen Bevan is Chief Transformation Officer, Horizons Group, NHS England, Ian Dodge is National Director, Strategy and Innovation, NHS England, Sir Bruce Keogh was Medical Director, NHS England to Dec 17, Becky Malby is Professor Health Systems Innovation at London South Bank University and Tony Young is National Clinical Lead for Innovation at NHS England as well as Consultant Urological Surgeon within the NHS. Stephanie Kovala was my Business Manager and is now Project Manager within the Strategy Team at NHS England.

Author: Tara Donnelly is CEO of Health Innovation Network, the academic health science network for south London. Health Innovation Network exists to speed up the best in health and care, together with its members in south London, and is part of the AHSN Network and Digital Health.London.

Follow Tara on Twitter at @tara_donnelly1­­­­

References:

AHSN Network: ahsnnetwork.com

Al Knawy, B. Editor, Leading Reliable Healthcare, Chapter 12 – Health System Innovation and Reform, Productivity Press CRC, Dec 2017

Barlow, J. Managing Innovation In Healthcare, New Jersey: World Scientific, 2017

Castle-Clarke S, Edwards N, Buckingham H. Falling short: Why the NHS is still struggling to make the most of new innovations. Nuffield Trust Briefing Dec 2017

Curruthers, I and Department of Health, NHS Improvement & Efficiency Directorate, Innovation and Service Improvement, 2011. Innovation, Health and Wealth, Accelerating Adoption and Diffusion in the NHS

Digital Health.London: digitalhealth.london

Donnelly, T. Sept 2016. We’re serious about innovation— now let’s get serious about spread. Health Service Journal

Donnelly, T. Nov 2017. Finally, a tariff for digital innovations. Healthcare Digital

Donnelly, T. Dec 2017. Why SBRI matters

Health Innovation Network: healthinnovationnetwork.com

What are we doing to prevent strokes?

A new online tool will help prevent strokes and save lives

An estimated 68,000 people in London are living with undetected AF and at risk of blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. The Health Innovation Network’s Fay Edwards talks about the launch of an important new tool.

This week together with our partners we launched the Pan-London Atrial Fibrillation (AF) toolkit. The online toolkit is the culmination of a collaboration between the three London Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) and the London Clinical Network (LCN).

Visualised in 2016, it is targeted at commissioners and providers who want to find more people with AF (Detect), Treat more people with AF (Protect) and improve the outcomes of those people receiving treatment (Perfect).  The toolkit focuses on each of these three areas and is laid out in a logical order, first setting the scene with an introduction from Tony Rudd (National Clinical Director for Stroke, NHS England) and Matt Kearney (National Clinical director for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, NHS England) highlighting the unmet need for appropriate anticoagulation and improved detection of AF.

Within each of the three domains there are three “opportunities for improvement” designed to stimulate ideas and focus efforts.  These contain case studies, resources and best practice examples which provide guidance on how to replicate.  With all quality improvement it is vital for teams to understand their ‘current state’ before embarking on the future. The AF improvement cycle (on page 7) encourages teams to consider the quality and performance of their service compared to national standards and highlights the need for them to understand and interpret their own service level data. The AF improvement cycle is a complete and concise methodology which has been developed through the understanding of the critical success factors needed to undertake AF improvement work. It can be applied to any of the three domains and opportunities for improvement.

Complementing the AF improvement cycle is a series of infographics for each London CCG which clearly and pictorially presents data on prevalence, anticoagulation rates, those known to be at risk of stroke and those who have had a stroke in the past year.  These have already proved very powerful in engaging interest and understanding a starting point.  For those teams outside of London, or for data more focused on each domain (Detect, Protect and Correct) there is a useful table of data sources laid out within each of these.

Supporting all of this is the AF business case model.  Designed by Public Health England and the AHSNs this tool uses publically reported data of AF to help organisations identify areas for improvement in the identification management of AF.  It will also quantify the cost and savings associated with addressing these opportunities.

Detect 

Within detect there is a focus on AF Awareness campaigns, the importance of manual pulse rhythm checks and AF detection devices. This includes the Health Innovation Network’s AF detection device review, a detailed report which defines the current technology and software designs available to enhance AF detection. It contains examples of how to use these devices and improve actual prevalence in a variety of settings.

Protect

Within protect there is focus on how to improve anticoagulation, Initiating anticoagulation in community settings, correcting heart rhythm and rate where necessary.

Perfect 

Perfect encourages high quality anticoagulation services which provide patient education, a range of treatment options and support of self-monitoring. It contains the ‘Excellence in Anticoagulation Care’ document from the London Clinical Network – a guide for commissioners and service providers to help deliver high quality anticoagulation services.

A pathway for service review is contained in this section including a checklist to assist commissioners in benchmarking their anticoagulation service or create a service specification.

There are also educational resources for patients and staff n to support self-management and self-monitoring of International Normalisation Ratio (INR) for those prescribed Warfarin.

Mythbusters

Designed to dispel the common myths and misconceptions encountered when prescribing anticoagulation, by providing an evidenced based explanation.

I hope the toolkit will inform clinicians and commissioners in the design of local services to deliver the best patient care and optimum outcomes.

Download the toolkit here.

Smartphones among digital tech transforming London’s NHS

News

Smartphones among digital tech transforming London’s NHS

Digital technologies – from smartphone apps that help people successfully manage their diabetes, avoid “no shows” at hospitals, to tools that save time for nurses and paramedics – are beginning to transform London’s NHS services.

For the first time, NHS providers in London have revealed the extent to which smartphones, the Internet and Bluetooth are improving patient care and look set to save the capital’s NHS millions each year.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust expects to save £2.5 million each year by reducing missed appointments through an app called DrDoctor which gives patients much more say in selecting a date and time of their choice, resulting in “no show” rates falling by 40%.

Health chiefs are also using smartphones to tackle a looming health crisis with London boroughs tackling type-2 diabetes.

Programmes run by the North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups, covering eight boroughs, are successfully tackling diabetes through digital technology. OurPath links an app to a fitness wristband and 3G connected weighing scales to provide clients with realtime updates that help tackle type-2 diabetes, and in studies has achieved an average 5.3kg weight loss, while Oviva has seen more than 200 people complete the online programme with an impressive 90 per cent completion rate.

Dr Tom Willis, diabetes clinical lead for the Collaboration, said: “GPS are by nature very busy, naturally sceptical and want evidence.”

The London Ambulance Service, which was praised for its speedy and high quality care to the victims of the recent London Bridge terrorist attacks, is a key adopter having helped adapt the Perfect Ward audit tool specifically for its ambulance stations. The city-wide service has also developed Perfect Kit Prep and cuts out medicines paperwork for faster ambulance care, these are being implemented across over 70 ambulance stations in the capital.

In Chelsea and Westminster another tool links a stoma bag, used to collect faeces and urine for more than 13,000 people who undergo surgery each year nationally, through Bluetooth to users’ smartphones. A discrete device called ostom-i Alert Sensor, developed by a patient innovator, provides alerts when the bag is full so users have more control over their daily life and, importantly, greater dignity.

A new report ‘Digital Leadership in London’s NHS’ reveals that within eight months the 31 start-ups and digital companies backed by an organisation called DigitalHealth.London have achieved strong uptake within the capital.

Download the report here