HTN Awards 2023: Best Solution to Support Elective Care Recovery

Here we take a look at all of the entries for the Health Tech Awards 2023 category of ‘Best Solution to Support Elective Care Recovery’.

Surgery Hero

Overview: In collaboration with NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, digital perioperative care (Surgery Hero) was used to identify high-risk individuals on the waiting list (C2-Ai technology) and provide targeted support.

Why? To help solve the waiting list crisis in the Cheshire and Merseyside region.

What happened? Surgery Hero is an innovative health coaching app designed to support patients before and after surgery. It offers personalised guidance from health coaches, meal plans, exercise videos, and goal-setting features. High-risk individuals were referred for individualised prehabilitation, focusing on improving overall health and wellness before surgery. 58 percent of patients previously deemed unfit for surgery were declared “fit for surgery” as a result of participation in the program, accompanied by a significant reduction of 2.6 days in the length of hospital stay and a cost saving of £1110 per patient, enabling greater throughput of patients and reducing the burden on healthcare resources. A Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 80 showed patients who participated in the program demonstrated high satisfaction and a strong likelihood to recommend Surgery Hero’s perioperative care. A 65 percent reduction in post-operative complications, and a 0 percent rate of hospital-acquired pneumonia cases among the patient sample, indicated the effectiveness of the approach. Furthermore, the collaboration between Surgery Hero and CIPHA has proven invaluable in generating actionable insights and facilitating continuous care across primary and secondary care settings. This integration has enabled the delivery of comprehensive, data-driven care to patients while optimising resource allocation.

Looking ahead. Surgery Hero hopes to continue to enhance the surgical experience and support patients on their journey to better health.

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Overview: In October 2022, Accurx begun being used at University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust to identify which patients on waiting lists still need an appointment.

Why? During the COVID 19 pandemic, UHL saw an 85 percent increase in patients waiting for elective care at (March 2020-March 2022), and relied on manual processes to identify which patients still needed to be seen.

What happened? In 2022, UHL ran a four-week pilot with Accurx, aiming to use Accurx’s SMS messaging to validate waiting lists and reduce DNAs and unnecessary appointments across four services. An SMS message asked patients if they still needed their due appointment, giving them seven days to reply, and sending responses to the inbox of the relevant healthcare professional or team. 10 percent of patients responded that they no longer needed their appointment. Given the success of the pilot, it was expanded to more services, and by mid-November 2022, it had messaged a total of 65,000 patients and removed 3,600 patients from the waiting list. The software was then expanded across the trust, with Accurx creating new batch-messaging functionality to send SMSs to thousands of patients in one go. Accurx also developed a structured questionnaire that patients were asked to answer instead of responding with free text. Patients who responded ‘no’ were also asked the reason why this was the case. Staff could use these responses to gather context and decide if the discharge required further clinical review. Patients who responded ‘yes’ were given the option to move to a Patient-Initiated Follow-Up pathway. Altogether, a total of 19,200 patients from the RTT and overdue follow-up list have be removed from the waiting list.

Looking ahead. As a proven success, the validation work is currently being scaled across the trust and to all patients on the long RTT and overdue follow-up waiting lists.


Overview: C2-Ai’s AI-backed prioritisation system for the elective waiting list is delivering significant NHS-reported improvements

Why? C2-Ai’s solution is intended to tackle elective waiting lists, which it identifies as “the biggest healthcare challenge for generations”.

What happened? NHS-reported improvements included an 8 percent reduction in emergency admissions, a reduction of 125 bed-days per 1,000 patients, and a potential saving of £2 billion+ and 6-20,000 surgeon-years of time. The system also supports capacity planning plus prioritisation of those waiting for operations to identify patients the right risk profile and modifiable health issues who are suitable for intensive health coaching.  This has delivered a 56 percent reduction in all cause complications post-operatively, 4.2 days average reduction in length of stay, £1100 saving per patient and a Net Promotor Score of 80. This has been adopted across the region and in 30 percent+ of ICSs in the NHS, and has been published in the BMJ and CUREUS with papers highlighting the accuracy of the system’s detailed clinical risk assessment. It has been recommended as an NHSX Blueprint and included in GIRFT guidelines for hospitals. Fast clearing of elective waiting list backlog with improved clinical prioritisation of patients was observed within six weeks of starting the programme, with a 27.1 percent reduction in patients waiting >52 weeks.

Looking ahead. C2-Ai looks to continue to provide a solution to reduce elective waiting lists across the NHS.