Health Tech Awards Finalists 2021: Excellence in Digital Co-Design

In this feature we take a look at the finalists in the ‘Excellence in Digital Co-Design’ category, highlighting various project based on creating with and for all stakeholders.

Finalists in this category include The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust, ImproveWell, Skills For Health, Nervecentre Software, Careology, MJog, Intelligent Lilli and Healthcare Gateway.

Explore the finalists here…

Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust

The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust and Interneuron have been delivering on an ambitious project to design, develop and implement an open-source modular care record.

Using a co-design methodology the trust has an ambition is to create an eco-system whereby NHS organisations & development partners create safe, secure and fit-for purpose clinical system/apps using open source technologies.

The RNOH team adopted a ‘One Team’ philosophy and agreed on four core principles:

  1. Co-Create & Co-design with multidisciplinary clinical staff high quality modular software with excellent UI & UX that clinicians like to use.
  2. Create a flexible system architecture to future proof new module development.
  3. Patient safety is at the core of our development. Our partner has a fully audited Quality Management System in place to ensure that we can accredit our software as medical devices where necessary.
  4. ‘Collect-once-reuse’ principle reduces the burden of data collection on front line staff, maintains data quality and provides access to high quality, codified and structured data for direct care and research.

The team has deployed on the open-source platform; Inpatient management app, Patient E-Board, Observations (NEWS & PEWS), Assessments, Fluid balance, Laboratory results and reports, Operation notes and Pre-operative assessment.


ImproveWell technology supports organisations to capture continuous, real-time and actionable insight from the frontline to improve staff experience and the quality of patient care.

The tool aims to address the ‘feedback loop’ from frontline to management on a continuous basis.

The solution is grounded in three principles: those on the frontline are best-placed to improve the systems they work in; giving staff a voice and empowering them to find solutions to the challenges they face is fundamental to engagement and positive experience; and a happier workforce leads to better patient outcomes.

The company said: “ImproveWell’s feedback systems provide a platform for people to drive change, together. 24/7 everyone can: suggest ideas for improvement; share how their workday is going; and complete tailored pulse surveys.

“An intelligent data dashboard helps group and organisational leads to capture real-time data, track workforce sentiment, prioritise quality improvement efforts, measure change and publish reports to complete the feedback loop.”

South West Academic Health Science Network published an independent evaluation of the use of ImproveWell at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. The report showed that ImproveWell is an effective solution to empower staff to make positive changes that benefit staff morale, create resource efficiencies and improve patient safety and experience.

Key findings:

  1. ImproveWell boosts morale and engagement: 75% of staff using ImproveWell reported feeling able to improve their area of work compared to the 53% scored by the Trust as a whole.
  2. ImproveWell gives staff a stronger voice: 85% of users of ImproveWell felt it empowered them to implement ideas for change.
  3. ImproveWell helps to prioritise improvement initiatives: Staff reported that improvements and changes were implemented at a quicker rate than before ImproveWell. Through ImproveWell, ideas get recognised and actioned.
  4. ImproveWell positively affects patient safety and experience, efficiencies and cost savings: The ideas suggested by staff improved patient safety, increased efficiency, released more time for patient care, and made significant financial savings for the Trust.

Skills For Health

Skills for Health, the sector skills council for health in the UK have developed an in-house, enhanced customisable eRostering solution.

The pilot, to be released later in 2021, aims to provide improvements to help NHS Workforce Managers deliver time-saving rotas for everyone across the sector.

Skills for Health note over 350 roles in the NHS there is a need for a comprehensive understanding of variety of workforce roles, workloads and competencies, in which systems need to cater for.

They said: “CRS is developed as a tool for culture change, designed to transform workforce planning roles from data entry to data intelligence. The intuitive and easy to use interface allows more people to be involved in making informed decisions, where they matter most to patients. CRS directly reduces computer-based planning and administrative work, placing staff back in front of patients.

“CRS has been designed to make rostering and workforce planning easier to understand, and accessible to all. With less room for error, relevant data is presented to users at key decision making points. For example, showing compliance, payment, and hours summaries directly within the work pattern or roster allows users to see the impact rota changes may have on patient services.”

Nervecentre Software

Nervecentre are developing an electronic patient records solution, using modern technology, designed with – and for – clinicians to support hospitals as they tackle their most resonant challenges; patient safety and patient flow.

The company said: “It provides mobile tools to help trusts build a culture of real-time data entry by putting the EPR into clinicians’ pockets and ready to use at the patient’s bedside. Evidence shows that the real-time visibility unlocked by mobile solutions can have a significant impact on hospitals’ ability to recognise patient deterioration, escalate care and improve flow.”

Noting usability the company highlighted in its entry: “Good usability meant that, in 2017, we were able to demonstrate a reduction in the time to complete an emergency department (ED) discharge summary. It fell from over 7 minutes to an average of just one minute (including the completion of all emergency care data set data requirements). This was done by making systems and processes that were logical and easy to navigate”

The company has partnered with Leicester’s Hospitals, taking a module approach to deployment.

Andy Carruthers, Acting Chief Information Officer at Leicester’s Hospitals said: “The move to using Nervecentre is a key component of our digital strategy, which by 2022 aims to consolidate many of our existing systems into an EPR that supports patient safety, patient flow initiatives and reduces our reliance on paper through a robust single patient record. The consolidated system will also give us better connectivity – and real-time visibility – with our partners in primary, community, mental health and social care. This is critical to our plans to improve record sharing across the region.

“This is a natural progression of our relationship with Nervecentre and marks a joint commitment to futureproof Leicester’s Hospitals so it can deliver sustainable services fit for the 21st century. As we strive for digital maturity, the goal is to simplify our IT approach by building around a platform that’s mobile, modern and – crucially – well adopted by our staff. That’s why we chose Nervecentre.”

Careology and LloydsPharmacy Clinical Homecare

LloydsPharmacy Clinical Homecare (LPCH) and Careology have partnered to transform how cancer care is delivered.

Careology is a platform that helps people living and dealing with cancer to feel supported and connected during their treatment.

In February 2021, LPCH a leading provider of home healthcare services (and part of McKesson UK) supporting over 100,000 patients across the UK, commenced a three month Proof Of Concept (POC) with Careology. During this time it introduced Careology Professional to the entire LPCH nursing team and the Careology mobile app to a selection of patients. The two companies partnered with a vision of delivering accessible and personalised support to patients by using digital technology to connect people with cancer to their family, friends and to their nurses and clinicians.

Both organisations assigned a dedicated project manager to run the implementation and deployment. A steering committee with representation from both organisations was also created and met fortnightly throughout the POC. Through various collaborative workshops the project was co-designed, which included defining where in the current service design and patient pathway Careology would be best introduced. Key milestones and KPIs were identified, including the number of patients invited and using the mobile app and the number of nurses using Careology Professional.

The Careology Professional dashboard allows clinical teams to remotely monitor their patients’ health and wellbeing information, symptoms and side effects for the first time. The dashboard charts data from wearable devices which continually monitor temperature, heart rate and activity levels. Clinicians and nurses can identify potential red flags, including anomalies in vital signs and medication adherence, allowing early intervention, which can improve health outcomes.

Proactive support and day-to-day management of the initiative was provided by LPCH’s Lead Cancer Nurse, the regional nurse managers and the ‘Careology Champions’ who were assigned nationally to help with the smooth running of the POC. Regular online training and feedback sessions were held for the nurses. Guidance on which patients to invite and supporting documentation was also shared.

The Careology team is iterating according to the feedback and lessons learnt during the POC. This includes feature enhancements to both the mobile app and to Careology Professional. For example refining the content patients receive through the app, enhancing the summary report feature and providing additional timeframes for viewing patient information on Careology Professional..


MJOG has launched its ‘Flagship Programme’, which brings together over 100 GP practices who are leading the way in shaping and co-designing digital tools that support practice staff and clinicians to deliver excellent patient care and improve patient outcomes.

With over 60% of practices in the UK using MJog, the company said it is essential that its users help co-design solutions and test new features before they’re rolled out to over 4,000 practices. Every two weeks, Flagship Practices provide feedback on new design iterations and submit ideas for changes or improvements.

The company said: “Flagships help us co-design our digital products throughout the product life cycle, from conception through to delivery. By providing continuous feedback, which in turn drives our development process, Flagships are helping us to build the Essential Practice Platform, a ‘One-stop-shop’ for practices and clinicians to run their practice and engage with patients.”

MJog hopes to expand the Flagship Programme further throughout 2021, bringing together even more like-minded practices to help build the digital practice of the future.

Intelligent Lilli

Intelligent Lilli has worked with Dorset County Council on a remote care pilot.

The pilot aims to demonstrates how its AI-driven platform can transform care for the elderly and those with chronic conditions. It employs behavioural analytics to detect subtle signs of an emerging problem, allowing carers to intervene earlier and patients to remain independent for longer.

The pilot provides Dorset CC the opportunity to co-create, learn, experience and test how digital technology solutions can better support their needs and improve their outcomes.

Work began in March 2021 on Phase 1 (Definition and Discovery) and the parameters of the pilot have been workshopped and defined, with the desired outcomes agreed. The data and reporting have been defined and are being designed within the platform.

Healthcare Gateway

Healthcare Gateway, through the Medical Interoperability Gateway, has provided care settings across the country with real-time patient data uniting clinical systems across the UK.

The middleware technology provides real-time feeds of mental health, community, social care, acute and primary data into any system and any setting.

Highlighting integration with over 80 system partners, the platform achieved 20,271,617 data transactions in May 2021 alone.

The company notes one of its programmes, with South West London CCG, as an example of a shared care record across the region for 1.5 million citizens. The system connects data from 180+ primary care settings, two community and two social care settings into their Health Information Exchange (HIE) platform.

Sally Wiltshire, Nautilus Consulting, commented on this project: “It has been our pleasure to be working so closely with Healthcare Gateway for two phases of one of the largest health interoperability programmes in South West London over the last two and a half years. During this time they have worked with us to deliver connections from 180+ GP practices, two Community Services and two (first of type) Social Care services to our health information exchange platform. It has been our experience that their project delivery teams are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and competent, with robust project and issues management processes, including going out of their way to develop and deliver a fast-track solution to an unexpected data sharing issue with an external partner to ensure programme timelines were not breached. Their client executive team are super-approachable and engage directly in support of local projects far in excess of that experienced with many other such providers. I can confidently say that Healthcare Gateway go the extra mile, with a smile!”