Innovation, News, Secondary Care

Leeds Hospitals creates app for liver transplant patients

Clinicians from the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have created a new mobile app to help transplant patients better manage their health after operations.

Called TAPP, the app has so far received positive feedback from patients in Leeds, and the team are now looking to roll-out the tech both nationally and internationally.

It can take over a year for patients to fully recover from a transplant procedure, while recipients have to take immunosuppressants for the rest of their lives, as well as have regular check-ups and maintain health with a good diet and regular exercise.

TAPP works by assisting and supporting patients with the management of their own health and enabling communication with clinicians.

The app creators took part in the Healthcare Entrepreneur Exchange Programme (HEEP), an innovation competition which provides an opportunity for clinical entrepreneurs to collaborate overseas and test ideas. The Leeds clinicians received mentoring, coaching and marketing guidance through the programme and showcased their product at Spain’s Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol (HGTP) of the Institut Català de la Salut (ICS).

Leeds Teaching Hospitals originally launched HEEP Programme in 2020 with Spain’s HGTP to ‘promote innovation in healthcare systems through collaboration’ and ’empower clinical innovators to develop the healthcare solutions of the future’.

Dr Stewart Gibson, a speciality doctor in hepatology from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Every transplant marks the beginning of life-long treatment, with patients requiring ongoing specialist follow-up and medication. Our app provides tools to empower patients to manage their health and to make it easier to communicate with their clinical team.

“The challenges that our transplant patients face are not unique to Leeds; they are faced by patients and clinicians everywhere. Working with HEEP, we have been able to get invaluable feedback on our app. We believe our innovation can help patients and clinicians across the world.”

Alice Greenwood, a clinical nurse specialist at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, commented: “Our team developed the app to be patient-centred and accessible across a range of mobile devices. We know this is very familiar to some of our patients, particularly those in younger age groups. The app will allow patients to access a resource hub with information they can trust, alongside ways to manage their medication and health. Working with clinicians in Spain has helped to improve the product for international markets.”

Mr Omar Masood, consultant transplant surgeon at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, added: “TAPP represents the move towards utilising technology and innovation integrated with health care access to empower our patients.”

Winning entrants from the trust in the 2021 HEEP programme include Dildar Rathore, a specialist biomedical scientist at the trust who has developed a solution to accelerate the process for cellular pathology tests, and the discharge team Vivien Lewis, Dr Emily Holdsworth and Dr Anna Winfield, who devised a quality improvement-led solution for timely patient discharge.