Here, we take a look at the 21 entries for the Health Tech Awards 2022 category of ‘best health tech solution of the year’.
Overview: Darent Valley Hospital has successfully used Antser Virtual Reality (VR) for the past two years as a training and development resource for the hospital workforce.
Why? Sonya Stocker, Senior Sister for Safeguarding, discovered the VR technology at an NSPCC conference and saw how it could be utilised at the hospital within its safeguarding training programme, to help staff understand and recognise certain situations with empathy.
What happened? The VR programme is used at the beginning of the hospital’s ‘Think Family’ training approach. Using the VR, staff members witness a range of family scenarios including alcohol and domestic abuse, to improve their knowledge and understanding. From there, the right referrals to social care can be made, at the right time. Antser worked closely with the hospital, training ten members of staff to deliver the VR programme throughout the organisation. To date, 306 staff members have now completed the training from across a range of departments. Success was measured through the number of referrals made and staff feedback; the number of referrals has “increased dramatically”, and 75 percent of practitioners reported having a good understanding of child safeguarding after the VR training, up from 48 percent.
Looking ahead. Antser and Darent Valley Hospital are looking to explore other potential opportunities where VR could be used, including a stop smoking initiative and trauma-related training.
Overview: Willows Medical Centre deployed X-on’s flagship product Surgery Connect at practice level and then across the entire Willows Health PCN.
Why? Willows Medical Centre was “struggling to get lines in and out, especially during peak hours,” said CIO Kieran Mann. The site wanted a provider to help them transition to cloud.
What happened? Following the deployment of Surgery Connect at Willows Medical Centre, the other sites in the PCN migrated to X-on’s platform, servicing around 46,000 patients. Kieran highlighted particular benefits of the platform including seamless integration with SystmOne; support for remote working; utilisation of X-on Contact Centre technology; and the ability to help improve CQC ratings for acquired practices through improvement of phone system and patient experience. Kieran called the reporting capability of Surgery Connect “phenomenal” and added that the “biggest and most exciting thing” for the PCN is the way it supports them in merging all sites into one unit, creating more efficiency and resilience.
Looking ahead. The PCN is keen to utilise Surgery Connect’s reporting abilities to continue to improve. It is also looking forward to sharing learnings with other PCNs to create a wider impact, through providing blueprints of their own improvements through X-on’s platform.
Overview: Lantum unites clinicians and employers on one platform to deliver the best patient care together. 19 ICSs, over 300 PCNs and one-in-two practices use Lantum to transform workforce management.
Why? Lantum saves time for staff and money for the NHS, and note over £30 million saved to date.
What happened? Connecting Scheduling, Lantum’s total workforce management solution, supports organisations to efficiently schedule staff, with a rostering solution, staff bank feature and network of locum clinicians in one place. It is used by more than 3000 healthcare organisations across the UK. As well as managing their staff, organisations can tap into a rich network of vetted staff to fill shift gaps, with more than 30,000 clinicians across a diverse range of more than 50 roles. Lantum fills upwards of 20,000 shifts across the UK every month. In the last 12 months, booking volumes have more than doubled and 14,000 more clinicians have been onboarded. Organisations have also noted improvements in staff retention and satisfaction; for example, when an NHS organisation adopts Lantum, they commonly see 40 percent increased staff retention due to its benefits such as next-day payments and ease of managing work.
Looking ahead. In their latest funding round, Lantum raised $15 million to build new products to help the NHS make more vital and substantial savings to staffing costs.
Endpoint Automation Services Limited (EAS)
Overview: EAS has supported NEP, the largest NHS consortium in England, to save administration processing time through provision of robotic process automation (RPA) software solutions.
Why? The COVID-19 pandemic triggered immense pressure on NHS services, with the need to add new suppliers significantly increased, leading to NEP uploading 700 supplier requests to their database every month. NEP’s service level agreements required competition of new requests within three hours, so the influx of new requests caused by the pandemic caused enormous pressure.
What happened? When NEP discussed their needs with EAS, they agreed to test an RPA process to transfer supplier information onto the database. NEP quickly saw a positive impact from the robot’s introduction, with data entry becoming much more efficient and accurate. NEP’s service level agreement has reduced to complete new requests within one hour and other benefits have been observed, such as freeing up staff to carry out other tasks.
Looking ahead. Craig Alderson, NEP’s Head of Applications, commented that the partnership has led to “increased confidence to bring in a full-time robotics expert in-house” which will mean that NEP can implement additional enhancements and look at other areas of the business which could benefit.
Overview: The Cheshire and Merseyside model for stratifying elective surgical waiting list, built around an AI-backed prioritisation system from C2-Ai, was commissioned by NHS England and pioneered at St Helens Knowsley NHS Trust.
Why? The previous manual approach was time-consuming and could be inconsistent, with up to 15 percent of patients in the wrong category.
What happened? C2-Ai system uses existing AI-backed systems, 30 years of research and the world’s largest referential patient dataset to create priority scores built on detailed calculations for mortality and complication risks. It aims to ensure that the right patient is seen in the right place at the right time, leading to the right outcome. Feedback shows that clinicians have agreed with 99 percent of reprioritisation decisions made by the C2-Ai system. The model has now been deployed at multiple NHS trusts and ICSs across four regions in England.
Looking ahead. NHS reporting shows that the system provides a number of ongoing benefits for the organisations using it, including an 8 percent reduction in emergency admissions, savings of 125 beds per 1000 patients due to reduction in avoidable harm, reductions in associated cost, and an estimated 5 percent increase in capacity due to fast clearing of the elective waiting list backlog.
Overview: MendelScan AI case-finding software uses clinician-built algorithms to capture disease features from electronic patient records and matches them against diagnostic criteria for hundreds of rare and hard-to-diagnose diseases. MendelScan is currently implemented in 64 GP practices.
Why? Rare disease symptoms often develop gradually and in different organ systems, which means that patients present to different doctors for seemingly independent reasons, making these diseases difficult to diagnose.
What happened? MendelScan has case-finding criteria for hard-to-diagnose diseases encoded into its digital library, ready to apply to any medical record system. It uses clinician-built algorithms to capture disease features from electronic patient records across entire populations and matches them against the diagnostic criteria for hundreds of thousands of hard-to-diagnose diseases. MendelScan runs bespoke algorithms to detect early signs and symptoms, requiring no management from the GP, and integrates seamlessly into clinical systems.
Looking ahead. By diagnosing patients with these diseases earlier, patients and their families will experience better patient outcomes and quality of life. MendelScan’s work also continues to save money for the NHS, as early diagnosis can “save the need for 33 patient interactions ranging from lab tests, investigations, clinical visits and specialist referrals”.
Streets Heaver Healthcare Computing
Overview: Compucare, the software solution from Streets Heaver Healthcare Computing, is used in hundreds of hospitals and clinics across the UK.
Why? Compucare aims to reduce time spent on costly and laborious tasks to ensure healthcare professionals can focus on other tasks. It supports the ever-increasing demands of interoperability requirements for interfacing disparate systems, with the ability to talk bi-directionally with third party suppliers.
What happened? Compucare hospital management software brings people, patients, information and applications together, from initial referral and appointment scheduling to patient pathways to billing, invoicing and full credit control. Clients have seen improvements including recording and reporting of all private patient activity to assist in re-negotiation of contract pricing with insurers annually, the ability to provide real-time view of private patient activity, the timely collection of professional fees and integration with important financial information.
Looking ahead. Over the past 12 months, Compucare has reached 19 of the top 20 earning NHS trusts for private patient care. It is handling in excess of 65 percent of the national private patient income for the NHS, equating to around £385 million in private income that is being invested back into the NHS.
Overview: Nervecentre EPMA provides a safe and efficient closed-loop mobile solution for clinicians, reducing medication errors and enabling clinical support to improve patient care. The mobile EPMA solution is being used at three NHS Trusts, with positive feedback from clinicians sharing a wide range of benefits.
Why? Nervecentre EPMA incorporates the NHS Dictionary of Medicines and Devices to standardardise information exchanges with prescribing systems in other care settings, saving time for clinicians and providing rapid access to support. It maximises familiar technology to help clinicians meet falsified medicines directive requirements and provides a simple, convenient functionality to improve end-to-end traceability of medicines and strengthen patient safety.
What happened? Nervecentre EPMA is being used at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Bedforshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Benefits include saving time and increasing safety through the configuration of over 3000 dose sentences and protocols; creating greater visibility by configuring smart lists to facilitate collation of real-time information, and by introducing case notes functionality within the EPMA; and introducing a functionality to include case notes within the EPMA.
Looking ahead. Nervecentre look forward to more planned deployments for their EPMA system at UK hospital trusts over the next six months.
Overview: Healthcare Gateway have launched their new Mayden iaptus (IAPT) Dataset, developed in collaboration with Mayden, to provide real-time access to vital information held within the psychological therapy services in any system, in any setting.
Why? Healthcare Gateway seek to improve the health and quality of life for all by providing the right information at the right time in the right place.
What happened? The Mayden iaptus (IAPT) Dataset includes seven tabs of data: patient demographics, episodes of care, assessments, outcome questionnaires, historic appointments, future appointments, and documents and letters. Access to the dataset enables healthcare professionals to make improved decisions based on current information and reduces crisis impact. It also gives vital time back to clinicians which was previously spent calling IAPT services for information and helps to avoid unnecessary appointments and referrals. Staff have a holisitic understand of patient needs, and everyone involved in a patient’s care is better informed to provide the right treatment, support recovery and understand current and past interactions with IAPT services.
Looking ahead. Healthcare Gateway look forward to the dataset being used to improve clinical efficiency, enhancing patient journeys, and enable better coordination of care.
Overview: Ascenti Reach, a physio-led, app-based physiotherapy service encompassing a digital assessment, tailored exercise programmes, education and motivation, and the ability to talk to a physiotherapist, aims to empower patients to manage their health, continue their engagement and deliver positive outcomes.
Why? As a solution to the rise in musculoskeletal conditions, Ascenti sought to develop a product that could revolutionise how physiotherapy treatment and rehabilitation is delivered, combining robust digital triage with comprehensive self-management support in a single cohesive journey.
What happened? After downloading the app, the patient completes a clinically-robust digital assessment to determine if they are suitable to use it. They are then prescribed a personalised exercise programme, with Ascenti Reach physio reviewing their assessment and creating a bespoke programme for them. Physiotherapists monitor patient-reported pain levels and feedback. Between July and November 2021, Ascenti Reach was piloted with 1000 customers for a 12-week period, with data showing high engagement and satisfaction along with strong outcomes; 94 percent said they were satisfied after 12 weeks and 86 percent said they would recommend to family and friends.
Looking ahead. Ascenti hope to support the rise in musculoskeletal conditions, both for patients and for the NHS by reducing the number of people entering face-to-face treatment pathways.
Eva Health Technologies
Overview: Eva Health Technologies collaborated with clinicians to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme by providing modern, fast and reliable software across NHS COVID vaccination sites.
Why? With clinicians voicing concerns about the legacy system, particularly ease of use, clinical safety, throughput speed, quality of reporting and reliability, NHS Digital put out a call in December 2020 for fast, intuitive and reliable software to support the vaccination programme. eVacc was designed to maximise the benefits of user-centred design, with cloud-based, internet-first technologies.
What happened? Eva Health Technologies decided to build a new platform and in less than six months progressed from the first line of code in AWS to a fully assured solution, tested to take the full vaccination load of England without crashing. The software is targeted to help clinicians and volunteers safely deliver rapidly changing JCVI guidance for NHS England approved cohorts, and owing to the browser-based and device-agnostic design, eVacc can support vaccine delivery across a range of care settings and pop-up locations. It was the first alternative to be assured by NHS Digital. Within one year, it scaled to support 63 PCNs, recorded over 1.4 million vacinnations, and reported 0 percent downtime.
Looking ahead. Current users recommend eVacc to others; one PCN using the platform commented that staff found it easy to use with a smooth process, and they would “definitely recommend to all other PCNs”.
NHS Shared Business Services
Overview: NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) developed a unique framework agreement bringing artificial intelligence software to stroke clinicians.
Why? 100,000 people suffer a stroke in the UK annually, resulting in 38,000 deaths. The framework agreement was developed to tackle this leading cause of death and disability, and to speed up the software and processes used in an area where rapid diagnosis is crucial.
What happened? Using AI in the analysis of stroke imagery can make a significant difference in providing rapid treatment for stroke patients, and in increasing capacity of stroke clinicians to interpret CT brain scans when selecting patients for interventions. NHS SBS set the goal of creating a viable commercial solution that removed barriers to its acquisition by de-risking procurement in a challenging marketplace and offering assurance to buyers across the health and care system. The team faced challenges (for example, dealing with evolving standards and requirements for AI and the NHS’s risk adverse culture), but overcame them. They worked with clinical leaders and strategic stakeholders, to create the unique, one-of-a-kind procurement framework ‘Artificial Intelligence Software in Neuroscience for Stroke Decision Making Support’.
Looking ahead. The framework is seen as an important mechanism in supporting trust and networks to access AI solutions and deliver optimal pathways for patients where a stroke is suspected.
Overview: First DataBank’s prescribing health tech solution, FDB OptimiseRx, is helping NHS healthcare professionals to deliver safer, quality, lower cost prescribing.
Why? Through FDB OptimiseRx, First DataBank help ensure that prescribers get the right medicines to the right patient, reduce inappropriate variation in prescribing, and help prescribers prevent avoisable medicine-related harm.
What happened? OptimiseRx works by presenting messages on-screen to thousands of GPs and other prescribers, in their existing clinical system. The messages contain relevant and important information to inform prescribing decisions and are tailored to the patient’s medical history, indicating when drugs might not be appropriate or highlighting other potentially more appropriate options. They show when safety measures may be required and highlight cost-effective alternatives were possible. It is a web-based solution that integrates with clinical systems and has grown to support an average of 1.23 million daily prescribing transactions in the UK for 42 million patients. OptimiseRx is live within 84 percent of STPs and ICSs, and 70 percent of PCNs.
Looking ahead. Having already saved more than £237 million for the NHS through prescribing lower cost medicines, OptimiseRx has also been able to save an additional £76 million in cost avoidance, with direct savings immediately benefitting the NHS.
Overview: Accurx Record View allows health and care professionals to instantly view a comprehensive summary of a patient’s GP record, with the patient’s permission. Today, just over 60 percent of GP practices nationwide have switched Record View on, making it a powerful foundation to record sharing across the entire healthcare system.
Why? Sharing and viewing patient GP records can be an everyday struggle for healthcare professionals. Staff routinely spend much-needed time requesting, chasing and sharing access to records.
What happened? Record View gives any registered NHS professional a quick, secure and efficient way of viewing information from a patient’s GP record. Healthcare professionals log onto Accurx Web, search for the patient with NHS number and date of birth, request data permissions from the patient and view the record once the patient has shared their permission code. Record View provides a list of active and past medical conditions, current and past medications, test results, imaging reports, and more. Since the national launch in May, patient records have been viewed across 37 different organisations.
Looking ahead. Record View supports NHS England’s 2022/2023 goal of establishing a shared care record, and supports the delivery of safer care as professionals are equipped with better information about their patients.
Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Health and Care Partnership
Overview: Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Health and Care Partnership (BLMK ICS) has worked with Doccla to develop a remote health monitoring solution.
Why? The virtual ward aims to allow patients to return home whilst still receiving high quality care, to alleviate pressure on acute services and to provide increased support in the community. It has reduced close patient contact due to pandemic concerns.
What happened? BLMK ICS secured the support of Swedish medical technology company Doccla through funding from NHSX . Following a pilot to monitor patients with non-critical long-term conditions from home, a bid for additional funding was placed to upscale the project across the rest of the BLMK area. To date, 246 patients have been provided with kits including items tailored to their individual needs, including a mobile with a pre-installed app to record their readings, so that they do not need a smartphone, wi-fi or data package to take part. So far, the project has resulted in 11.5 percent reduction in emergency admission and 44.3 percent reduction in length of stay in acute setting. 93 percent of patients said that they now feel in control of their health condition.
Looking ahead. The team is looking at ways it can provide more services to reduce pressure on the area hospitals, upscaling their remote health monitoring further.
Liverpool Heart and Chest NHS Foundation Trust
Overview: Liverpool Heart and Chest NHS Foundation Trust has implemented Closed Loop medications, using digital technology to cross check the correct patient, medicine and prescription.
Why? The technology improves patient safety, reducing clinical incidents that could cause potential harm to patients.
What happened? Examination of 290 medication incidents recorded at LHCH over a 12 month period found that a significant proportion would be eradicated with the implementation of closed loop technologies. The project was set up to reduce the number of medication errors by 50 percent, improve staff experience by 25 percent and introduce a 15 percent efficiency in the medication administration process. The project has met and in some cases exceeded these targets, with a 55 percent reduction in medication errors measured since implementation. The trust noted that collaboration between the nursing medical and digital teams was key to project success. Staff feedback indicated that the use of closed loop tech helps them address the ‘five rights’ of medicine administration in real-time: right patient, right medication, right route, right time and right dose.
Looking ahead. The trust looks forward to keeping up its increased efficiencies and to keep patients safe.
Overview: Ora Clinical’s research and development experts developed the Ora EyeCupTM, a hand-created cup device that utilises smartphone technology to assess eye redness and symptoms remotely.
Why? The Ora EyeCup provides increased accuracy of measurements and improves patient experience as they do not need to travel in to visit the office. By monitoring signs and symptoms outside office hours, investigators may be able to develop a better understanding of how ocular diseases affect patient quality of life.
What happened? The EyeCup provides a home-based real-time assessment of the front of the eye. When used in conjunction with a smartphone, the EyeCup can assess the front of a patient’s eye so that it can be evaluated by a principal investigator within seconds. Patients who have enrolled in an anterior segment clinical trial take the device home and provide high-resolution photos, along with inputting signs and symptoms into e-diaries. Testing showed that 98 percent of pictures captured with the EyeCup were clearly readable and useful for study purposes. Its automated redness analysis software, using AI, enables quick turnaround for image grading and more objective endpoints for clinical trials.
Looking ahead. The solution has addressed the need for decentralising clinical studies to observe patient signs, symptoms and drug regimen compliance more accurately and effectively going forwards.
Overview: Milton Keynes University Hospital has recently partnered with engagement tool iOWNA to transform clinician/patient interactions by facilitating a two-way exchange of information.
Why? Improving engagement between clinicians and patients helps the hospital to save time, makes it easier to know where patients are on their journey, and removes a lot of communication challenges. It also provides tailored and timely information for patients, improving their experience.
What happened? MKUH’s Rheumatology department has transformed manual, time-intensive processes by embracing the digital iOWNA solution, resulting in significant benefits for clinicians and for patients. The three-month pilot demonstrated a 15 percent saving overall in nursing time with an 80 percent reduction in nursing time spent on repetitive patient education, 70 percent reduction in time spent on patient information gathering, and 60 percent reduction in time spent on sourcing and distributing patient education documents. Tasks that previously required face-to-face meetings or individual phone calls can completed digitally and quickly through iOWNA’s processes.
Looking ahead. MKUH is continuing to enhance the clinician/patient relationship with planned expansions in aiding clinicians’ pre-clinic with digital forms, and iOWNA is currently integrating with MKUH’s EPR to make the process even more seamless.
Overview: Mayden developed an online appointment booking feature to support Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services.
Why? The previous process relied on the patient self-referring via a form on the trust website and the administration team manually inputting their information into the EPR before calling the patient to arrange an assessment, which was time-consuming and inefficient.
What happened? The service received feedback that patients would prefer the opportunity to take a more direct approach at assessment page, and Dorset recognised that the next logical step would be for the patient to choose and book their own appointment directly into the clinician’s diary. After exploring the challenge with Mayden, the Dorset team agreed to pilot a new online appointment booking feature. Now, the feature is an essential part of Dorset’s service and 70-80 percent of all booking links sent to patients result in booked assessments. The service receives over 650 individual online bookings per month. Data shows that every online booking saves between up to 9 minutes per patient in saved admin time.
Looking ahead. Dorset has shared its experience with other services including the Southampton service and their Student Wellbeing Service, and Mayden look forward to working with the Dorset team to understand how online booking is enabling them to improve even more.
Overview: HN worked with Lewisham Health and Care Partnership to reduce A&E attendances and non-elective admissions by up to 79 percent for people living with diabetes and respiratory disease.
Why? The entry stated a lack of education about how to manage long-term conditions such as diabetes and COPD from home. Over 50 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes don’t receive structured education about the condition within six months of diagnosis, and around 60 percent of type 1 diabetics and 40 percent of type 2 diabetics aren’t completing care processes.
What happened? Lewisham Health and Care Partnership and HN created a virtual ward to support early discharge and release acute capacity, whilst educating patients on their condition and self-care. The virtual ward pilot took on 30 patients, supporting them to manage their care from home through a monitoring app and one-to-one nurse-led clinical coaching over the phone. Staff noted that patients were able to be discharged from respiratory and diabetes services in three to four months, compared to six months for patients outside the pilot. Patients responded positively with high engagement, clinical coaching resulted in improved physical health outcomes, and financial benefits were observed.
Looking ahead. Lewisham and HN are looking to scale the service following the pilot, with the workstream set to be part of Lewisham’s existing transformation and recovery programme as well as being rolled out across five other boroughs.
Overview: NuroKor Bioelectronics’ therapeutic technologies addressed chronic pain and tackled health service waiting lists, offering non-evasive, medicine-free options to improve quality of life.
Why? Approximately 15.5 million people in England experience chronic pain. With no cure, millions are reliant on painkillers with difficult side effects.
What happened? NuroKor technology delivers smart, bioelectric medicine via ultra-wearable devices to personalise pain management and optimise recovery and tissue health. With many of the body’s systems reliant on bioelectricity, the technology applies gentle electrical stimulation to influence these processes, using a combination of peripheral nerve stimulation and microcurrent stimulation to influence the pain signals that the body is transmitting to the brain. By using NuroKor Lifetech technology, patients have been able to reduce intensity and frequency of pain, and reduce reliance on painkillers. A recent study found that 87 percent reported increased quality of life, 86 percent reported pain relief for at least six hours and 92 percent were able to carry out daily activities with little to no pain impediment. Since the service launched in October 2019, pharmacies have provided over 500 consultations using NuroKor technology.
Looking ahead. NuroKor hope to further ease the burden on patients and health services through their non-invasive, drug-free therapeutic technology, helping people to manage their own health.