In Focus: HTN Awards 2020 Part One

In this two-part article we cover the projects that were announced as winners and highly commended in the Health Tech Awards 2020.

HTN would like to say a huge congratulations to everyone involved! If you missed the evening, you can watch the announcement videos here. 

We would love to hear your thoughts on the awards programme, please take our 1 minute survey here to let us know what you think here.  

Vijay Magon, CEO, CCube Solutions, the headline sponsor, said: “I would like to say a huge well done to everyone involved in the Health Tech Awards 2020. We’re really proud to be part of such a fantastic people industry, and to recognise the significant contributions from teams across the country. The awards were a great way to take some time out to say thank you and well done to every team making a difference…. and keep going!”

Overall Winner

Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust published its Digital Futures strategy in 2019 which set out the Trust’s ambitions for the next five years. Over the past year the trust has completed work to digitise clinical pathways and improve interoperability as part of the Global Digital Exemplar Programme. This also included the implementation of Share2Care, a region wide proof-of-concept shared records platform. Thanks to a number of pieces of work spear-headed by the Digital team, Alder Hey is now paper-free across most inpatient areas. The Trust also achieved HIMSS level six status in December last year and is now working towards level seven accreditation.

Kate Warriner, Chief Digital & Information Officer at Alder Hey, said:  “An extraordinary amount has been accomplished in the digital space at Alder Hey over the past year, and we are thrilled to achieve this award in recognition of that. In the face of unprecedented challenges, our Digital teams worked together with clinicians, innovation colleagues and other internal and external partners to achieve the seemingly impossible; delivering what was required to support our children and young people, their families and our staff.”

“We have worked with a true sense of team spirit, passion, energy and good humour not to just deliver solutions, but also to support each other through a year of massive challenges for the Trust and for the world. As we move forward, we will continue to build on these achievements, and to harness the positive outlook many staff and patients now have towards digital technologies in moving the Trust even further along in its digital futures journey.”

The Trust also quickly responded with innovations during the year: “When the Coronavirus crisis hit, we saw it was essential to implement Telemedicine immediately to support remote clinical decision-making. The Neonatal Partnership brings together Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Alder Hey in clinically supporting neonates. Numerous individuals from the teams at both sites pulled together, working with InTouch Health to go from nothing to a full telemedicine service in just two weeks. This involved purchasing new telemedicine robots, funded by Alder Hey Children’s Charity.”

Joanne Minford, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at Alder Hey, said: “I can see both how much the system has helped the Partnership weather COVID-19, and how it can help us to continue to improve care for babies in the future. The simplicity of the system, which is very intuitive and the reduction of travel time has meant we can make decisions quickly and with all the information we need. Parents seem to love it too – I can answer all the questions Mums and Dads have in a very natural way.”

Best use of AI

Microsoft Research – InnerEye, Democratising AI for Medical Image Analysis

Best Use of Data

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust

Staff from all parts of the hospital came together to make sure they could monitor staffing levels, PPE kit levels, pathology turnaround times, oxygen status, bed occupancy, and all the other issues introduced by the crisis.

This involved reporting twice a day to the internal command centre on a trust-wide call. It involved regular updates to public health colleagues; local council, and partners in clinical commissioning, community hospitals, mental health and police.

The digital dashboards created provided instant data on; green and red bed capacity across two acute hospitals, closed wards and empty beds, number of COVID patients, number of swabs and results, staff testing numbers and results, actual staffing on every shift broken down by role, intensive care bed space, oxygen supplies available and remaining, patients receiving oxygen and how, numbers on ventilation, gown stocks, hygiene product stocks and further data.

Health Tech Team of the Year

Connected Nottinghamshire – for the digital programme across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System

Connected Nottinghamshire is the digital programme across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System and has, ensuring co-design and co-production of both the workforce and population, brought together data from local and national systems to enable Nottinghamshire residents to access digital tools, information and services; empowering them to drive their own health outcomes, take control and become experts in their health, care and wellbeing.

Alexis Farrow, Head of Strategy and Transformation at Connected Nottinghamshire, said: “The Connected Nottinghamshire Public Facing Digital Services Strategy was produced in 2018 after 18 months of public engagement, which included, attending local events and community groups.  This enabled us to develop a strategy that not only meets our contractual and policy requirements but most importantly was designed around our people, taking into account socio-economic factors which they may face.  We wanted to develop our digital first approach around our people so that we provided them with the digital tools to benefit them and improved patient experience, satisfaction and quality of care.

“Some of the key feedback identified from our people was that wanted access to trusted and easy to understand information in one place across the whole health and care system. We responded to this by utilising the NHS App as the ‘single front door’ to all public- facing digital services. Furthermore, we wanted to enhance this offering to our population by integrating further functionality into the NHS App.  In doing so, we selected Patients Know Best as the regional, system wide personal health record (PHR) of choice, which is the first and only PHR to utilise NHS login and integrate with the NHS App. This offers our population what no other healthcare provider has delivered previously with seamless access to primary care, secondary care, community care, mental health and social care digital services, directly from the trusted and accessible national NHS platform.

“We have also recognised that there are cohorts of our population that are more likely to be digitally and socially excluded as a result of a digital- first approach.  We undertook an extremely detailed review of our population in order to understand the individual localities across our geography that were more likely to become digitally and socially excluded as a result of this.  We identified that in areas where there was a higher risk of exclusion which fell in line with the levels of deprivation across our county and identified the key socio-economic factors which might exacerbate this.

“Operationally we have put in place a number of schemes, which have supported over 600 people across our communities, to reduce health, care and digital inequalities such as; digital hubs on the high street, running drop- in centres at library’s in our most excluded areas, trained over 60 digital health champions across the NHS and community providers, tablet lending scheme, telephone and email support line.   We are also working with a local training provider to offer further basic digital skills training across our workforce, train our workforce as digital champions and offer specific training to encourage women into technical roles.

“Connected Nottinghamshire are delighted to have won the 2020 HTN award for ‘Health Tech Team of the Year’.  As a relatively small team, each member has shown extreme commitment, passion and innovation over the past 12 months in order to deliver digital solutions to meet the needs of both the workforce and the population of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.”

Best Health Tech Solution of the Year

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health for the Digital Child Growth Assessment programme

“Growth is an important indicator of a child health and for decades the state of the art has been plotting growth onto charts printed on paper or card.

“But as digital transformation is reshaping almost every aspect of our lives, paper charts just don’t cut it anymore, and as hospital and GP paper notes over the years have given way to the electronic record, no one has quite known what to do with the charts. The challenge with switching to growth charts in a digital form is that the maths behind these charts is complex and the dataset they rely on for calculations is difficult to understand.

“So a few months ago we have taken a bold step to build an application programme interface (API), and with a small team of developers, childhood growth specialists and a statistician, we have written a code which is fundamentally changing the paradigm. It wraps around those complex steps involved in calculating a child’s measurement, into an easy-to-use layer that any hospital, GP system provider or mobile app developer can use for their clinician- or parent-facing products, speeding up development spectacularly.

“This model of developing ‘best practice as code’ is brand new in the world of Royal Colleges and other medical standards-setting organisations. Our project is the first of its type anywhere in the world. This could spark the beginning in a new phase in the way those organisations engage with technology and for our College especially – it is a remarkably thoughtful investment in the future of child health.”

Best Health Tech Start-up of the Year

Smartr Health Ltd – Constant core temperature monitoring

Celsium combines a smart wearable thermometer with its software platform to create an intelligent body temperature monitoring system, capable of continuous, accurate real time monitoring.

The company said: “early identification of low-grade fevers developing will improve health outcomes across a wide range of health areas. In doing so, Celsium hope to help to reduce the impact of some the world’s most devastating illnesses, such as sepsis.”

Celsium’s CEO Andy Mahoney said: “Launching and building a startup is hard work. It has required a huge amount of effort, sacrifice and belief that what we’re doing will make a difference to the world. For many years, whilst not in the public eye, these endeavours go unnoticed and largely unrewarded and so I’m really pleased for the team and for everyone who has supported Celsium on our journey.”

“Given the influx of innovation in healthcare these last 5 years, winning the HTN Best Health Tech Startup of the Year award 2020 really is dream-come-true territory for the team. We extend a massive thank you to HTN and all those who supported the judging process.”

Major Project Go Live

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust for going live with a major EPR project in 5 months 

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust went live with a new electronic patient record utilising the Allscripts Sunrise platform.

Survey data showed nurses are spending less time on ‘inefficient activities’ such as looking for notes and the time they spend on ‘patient care’ has risen by up to 20%. This equates to a time saving of two-hours on a typical 12-hour shift; a potential cost saving of £110 per ward per day, or £1.53 million per year across 42 wards.

Key results:

  • Increased completion rate for screening and risk assessments to over 80%
  • MUST assessment completion increased by 44% to 95%.
  • Mobile laptops mean nurses spend more time in bays
  • Pilot wards reportedreduction in falls and the use of call bells
  • No cases of unrecognised deterioration of patients since implementing eObs
  • Calculation of NEWS2 improved from 35% to 100%
  • Saved 1 million pieces of paper per year
  • £80,000 print savings
  • Carbon footprint reduced by 800 tonnes

Excellence in Engagement and Communications

Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust ‘Ask Alice project’

Ask Alice was a new, pro-active approach to communicating with pregnant women during Covid-19.

A series of short videos were produced to answer anticipated questions and concerns, including: what to expect from postnatal care, packing your hospital bag, leaving the ward, water births, early labour, visiting policy, complications during birth, importance of attending appointments, induction of labour to advice on scans. In one month the videos received 24,591 views.

Most Promising Pilot

London Ambulance Service and Abbott plc for the Online Diagnostic Ambulance project

The aim of this pilot was to see if it was feasible to utilise point-of-care testing devices used normally within an A&E setting at an even earlier stage by placing them within ambulances. These could speed up clinical decision making, reduce congestion, and improve patient waiting times in busy hospital A&E departments.

To test the concept, an i-Stat blood gas analyser was supplied to three London Ambulance Service emergency response cars, with training provided for the advanced paramedic team. In the initial phase the analyser was used to test for blood electrolytes, lactate, and blood gases, delivering test results within two minutes.

During the seven month feasibility study period the equipment was used on 65 of 697 patients attended. The results were of value in determining immediate interventions and referral pathways, and for 40 patients emergency department admission was avoided.

The next phase of the project will look at connectivity of these devices to both the London Ambulance Service and a local emergency department, so that test results can be electronically transferred to systems at these destinations.

The concept could potentially save numerous patient lives as it could be used for earlier identification of specific cardiac markers such as troponin and earlier identification of sepsis.

Efficiency Savings of the Year

NHS Shared Business Service 

NHS SBS is saving hundreds of thousands of employee hours every year after deploying robots to carry out repetitive financial processing tasks. The robots work round-the-clock on behalf of over 200 NHS organisations, improving speed and accuracy, delivering greater efficiencies, and enhancing NHS user experience.

Stephen Sutcliffe, Director of Finance and Accounting at NHS Shared Business Services: “To win a Health Tech Award is a great achievement for our Robotic Process Automation (RPA) team and really validates our digital first approach to NHS corporate services. The fact the judges represent such a range of frontline NHS organisations makes it all the more satisfying to be recognised for our contribution to NHS innovation. We’re now looking forward to the next steps on our automation journey – helping the NHS deploy robots and other cutting-edge technologies that deliver significant benefits for healthcare systems around the country.”

Delivering at Pace

Patienteer Croydon University Hospital for the development of a tool to manage COVID patients

The immediate problem was inability to visualise in real-time the amount of suspected and confirmed COVID patients, and their relative locations. PATIENTEER software has been used to optimally manage COVID patients throughout their in-patient journey. It flags up clinical parameters such as Oxygen-Saturation and NEWS-2 score. Functionality was created so data could be presented graphically making it easier for clinicians to spot deterioration. CRT (Croydon Respiratory Team) was reassigned to provide an “eye-in-the-sky” view over the wards and used this functionality to guide clinicians and nursing staff to target care to where it was most needed. The software can highlight sub-optimal performance clinically and logistically.

Digital at the Point of Care

Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust and Imprivata 

The Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust won the award for its use of a novel smartphone solution from Imprivata, Ascom and Attend Anywhere for remote ward rounds in the 24-bed ICU where at the early peak of the pandemic there were up to 18 coronavirus patients on ventilators at any one time. Over 40 intensive care clinicians at the Surrey hospital have been using the robust Ascom smartphones. The phones meet strict NHS hygiene guidelines and are enabled with single sign-on (SSO) from Imprivata and two-way video consultation technology from Attend Anywhere – enabling just one doctor to do ward rounds while linked remotely to colleagues.  The mobile technology is also helping relatives to safely stay in touch with loved ones in hospital.

Andy Dargue, IT Infrastructure Project Manager at Royal Surrey said; “This award recognises what can be achieved with great teamwork and the benefits that technology can bring both to patients and clinicians during what are extremely challenging times. The COVID-19 outbreak hugely accelerated our adoption of the Imprivata and Attend Anywhere solution, which we had been using successfully at the point of care in the outpatient clinics. In response to the requirement from ICU, and with close collaboration across the three companies, we were able to rapidly deploy, test and use the secure smartphones in the ICU department, helping to support the Trust’s outstanding efforts in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.”

Partnership of the Year

Healthcall Solutions Limited – a partnership with seven NHS Foundation Trusts in the North East and North Cumbria

The partnership said: “Through our partnerships we have been able to ensure that our products are both professionally-led and technically informed, while remaining focused on individual’s healthcare needs.”

“This joint contribution and dedication to digital healthcare has allowed us to push boundaries and achieve great things over the past 12-months such as launching eight new solutions, including our COVID Virtual ward, which allows patients to be monitored safely at home by clinical teams using real-time data, and our Digital Care Home tool which allows seamless electronic referrals from care homes to clinical teams using a secure portal.”

Ian Dove, director at Health Call, said: “The combination of technology, specialist teams and effective collaborations allows us to make a real difference via intuitive health and care solutions. This award is testament to the tireless work of our team and colleagues across the seven NHS Foundation Trusts in the North East and North Cumbria, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

Best Digital First Project

Liverpool Women’s Hospital NHS Trust – a project using Virtual Reality to support patients, carers and families

Liverpool Women’s Foundation NHS Trust embarked on a radical and revolutionary project to provide patients with an ‘immersive’ experience of coming into the Trust. As part of the Trusts GDE Fast Follower Programme, the Digital Team have worked with Analog Films and Trust departments to develop a comprehensive Virtual Reality (VR) experience for patients, carers and relatives to experience the hospital in a new way.

The VR solution has provided an opportunity to embed the Trust’s guidance and policies for safe social distancing and Covid-19 advice through the narration within the immersive Virtual Reality experience.

Virtual Reality provides an option to experience the hospital setting in the safety of the persons own home, to help significantly reduce any anxiety and therefore improve their experience of care within the hospital.

#HealthTechToShoutAbout Sponsored by Highland Marketing 

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust was the first in the UK to use’s technology to help medics monitor COVID-19 progression in patients. The tool automates the interpretation of COVID-19 proliferation from chest X-rays, making it easier for healthcare professionals to monitor the extent and rate of progression of the viral infection.

Dr Rizwan Malik, Consultant Radiologist at the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said: “Radiology emerged as key area in the fight back against COVID-19. The introduction of AI into the monitoring of chest x-rays provided doctors with a tool to help them make fast, evidence based decisions about the patients they were treating. It gave them a very quick interpretation about whether the changes seen were likely to be COVID related -enabling them to select the right treatment path.”

Dr Gareth Hughes, Critical Care Lead said, “From my experience the implementation of this innovative solution has been very positive, I’m still getting our junior team used to looking at the additional information the software provides.  The software has identified successfully a range of pathology from different patterns of consolidation to pneumothorax.  I think a significant benefit will be seen in the post COVID era when we return to our more usual range of clinical presentations.  I’m hoping this will improve the diagnostic accuracy when our junior doctors first assess patients and should also improve the correct coding and identification of community acquired pneumonia.”

Digital Primary Care 

Coventry & Warwickshire and Imprivata 

For the rapid implementation of Imprivata Confirm ID for Remote Access to deliver secure home working for more than 4,000 staff in just a couple of days over the weekend before full lockdown.

Jaswinder Sian, IT Front Office Services Manager at Coventry and Warwickshire IT Collaborative said: “We are delighted to have won this award with Imprivata. The Trust provides important healthcare services to people of all ages at 60 different locations across a wide geographical area. The logistics of providing access to workplaces during a lockdown and ensure the safety of staff and the public at the same time would have been impossible to manage. Using Imprivata Confirm ID meant we were able to quickly deploy the homeworking solution – we didn’t have to procure, configure and distribute physical tokens to gain access to systems which would have severely slowed down the process and put people at risk.”

User-led Innovation and Experience

PEP Health for their work understanding patients experiences

PEP Health is a digital listening tool which offers a radical new approach to collecting and analysing the views of patients, carers and family members on the health services they have received, offering comprehensive real-time reporting of what patients really think about their care.

PEP aggregates millions of social media and online comments about every acute hospital in England, whether NHS or independent. It then uses advanced machine learning, with comments themed into eight quality domains, to give insights which fully reflect each provider’s strengths and weaknesses, including at departmental level.

Tech Project of the Year

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust 

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has saved 50,000 hours through digital efficiency. The Trust was suffering from multiple inefficiencies, manual paper-based processes and duplicated effort, because of over 100 legacy digital healthcare applications and significant data silos.

Through various digital streams and a culture shift everyone in the organisation has the opportunity to contribute to and influence IT resources.