HTN Awards 2023: Communication Tool of the Year

Next up, we have our finalists in the category ‘Communication Tool of the Year’.

Black Pear Software – Black Pear End of Life Care Planning Support

Overview: Over the past decade, Black Pear’s service has been developed with a central focus on Open APIs and has the capacity for advanced integrations with primary care clinical systems. They deal with real-time data to give clinicians the confidence to use this information in their everyday decision-making.

Why? They automatically populate the care plans with information pulled directly from the patient’s record, saving clinicians a significant amount of time. Once a care plan is established, this is then made available across the wider healthcare landscape – allowing users to access the care plan directly from their clinical system or via Black Pear’s app.

What happened? Users either have read only or read update access; if the plan is updated – the update automatically updates the patient’s record to ensure the next person to access the care plan can see the latest changes. The care team are also automatically notified when a change has been made, such as a CPR decision.

Looking ahead. Black Pear Software will continue to support the evolving needs of clinicians and patients across various accessible platforms.

DMF Systems: Inter-AHP

Overview: Inter-AHP aims to empower AHPs with a secure electronic patient records solution while streamlining administrative tasks, prioritising patient care, and boosting productivity with its user-friendly interface and communication capabilities. Inter-AHP is a EPR developed to support AHPs to conveniently manage and provide optimal patient care.

Why? The comprehensive solution aims to address challenges faced by AHPs, such as communication of patient care between disciplines and reducing time spent on administration and reporting. Inter-AHP offers a range of user benefits such as its multi-disciplinary case management structure, which allows AHPs to securely manage and communicate patient data with colleagues involved in the care process. Inter-AHP can be accessed from any device (with an internet connection) enabling AHPs to provide seamless care and communication across different health settings.

What happened? Inter-AHP was developed in collaboration with AHPs and Hospital management, involving end-users in the development process to ensure the system is tailored to address the specific needs and challenges faced by AHPs.

Looking ahead. Inter-AHP will continue to collaborate with end users to ensure they remain an intuitive and reliable solution, supporting AHPs to better deliver and improve patient care.


Overview: Smartpage is an advanced smartphone and web-based system for hospital communication and task management, addressing the requirements of both clinical and non-clinical users. Replacing outdated paper technology, it facilitates rapid, reliable and contextual messaging with two-way closed loop communication, task-management and comprehensive handovers.

Why? Before the introduction of Smartpage, Guy’s and Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust historically relied on paper- based processes and pagers, which became increasingly outdated and inefficient as technology evolved. Paper-based processes meant that there was no audit trail of response times and there no data to support fair allocation of work. As a result, surveys highlighted several operational problems with task management which ultimately led to poorer outcomes in the delivery of patient care.

 What happened? Smartpage gave all staff full visibility of activity, helping prioritise and react quickly to deteriorating patients. The team cited benefits such as reduction of unnecessary interruptions, improved patient care, easier clinical collaboration, real-time data insight, better integration and operation efficiency. Lancashire Teaching Hospitals began using Smartpage in both clinical and non-clinical services and have, on average, seen 60 percent of 562 daily jobs activated within 5 minutes.

 Looking ahead. Smartpage is live within nine NHS organisations currently, with plans to expand to other trusts and develop their time-saving software.

Agilio Software

Overview: Agilio’s TeamNet is a web-based knowledge, compliance and workforce management platform that seeks to improve communication amongst teams and across organisational boundaries. It helps to empower GP practices and healthcare professionals to have access to information at the click of a button, facilitating greater communication between teams and stakeholders.

 Why? TeamNet’s information-sharing features allow information and knowledge to be instantly shared with the right people and teams, without the need for multiple emails, reducing the risk of incorrect mailing lists and outdated information. Traditional methods of communication such as emails and paper-based systems often result in duplication, information overload and missed updates, which creates barriers to efficiency.

 What happened? Southport and Formby Health Limited (a GP owned company designed to enhance the delivery of healthcare services for people in Southport and Formby) have found that TeamNet streamlines processes, consolidates tasks and reduces the unnecessary admin burden. Having one platform has created a familiar look and feel for users, helping to accelerate learning amongst staff as well as helping to implement a communications strategy to train staff on the new working hours and protocols.

 Looking ahead. TeamNet is posed to shape the future of healthcare communication, hoping to bring together healthcare providers and professionals across ICS for seamless integration.


Overview: vCreate is an NHS-trusted secure video service that connects patients, families and healthcare professionals to improve the patient pathway, digitise communication and enhance family integrated care.

 Why? The idea for the connective technology arose from a father in Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children who wished to received visual updates for his baby from the neonatal intensive care unit. In response, Dr Neil Petal reached out to vCreate and collaborated on the original service, vCreate Diaries, to provide a secure way for nursing teams to send videos, photos and messages to families when they can’t attend the unit. Staff can capture photos and videos of the babies, add personalised text and upload them securely to the system where parents can view, respond and download.

 What happened? vCreate Neuro was created as a secure clinical video service that allows patients and carers to upload smartphone recorded videos and photos for clinical review. Clinical teams set bespoke questions for patient and carers to provide context and extra insight. vCreate Neuro further supports digital connectivity through two-way communication; allowing patients, families, and staff to communicate with each other with minimal disruption. According to a Healthcare Improvement Scotland report last year, the service helped 92 percent of paediatric clinicians feels more connected to the patient and 60 percentof paediatric services users feel more connected to the clinical team.

 Looking ahead. This year, vCreate has introduced new multi-language features to expand the cohorts of users able to access the software, as well as vCreate Forms, which allows clinicians to create digital forms for staff and patients.

Think Healthcare

Overview: ThinkHealthcare is an NHS specific cloud telephony platform which helps facilitate improved communication, patient access and satisfaction across PCNs. They work closely with practices to understand the results of the patient engagement piece and customised solutions which can be further developed to directly address patient requirements.

 Why? National data shows that despite the introduction of multiple new contact options, 70% of patient contacts are still via phone. Encourage by the QOF improving access requirements and the GP access improvement plan, Foundry Lewes PCN undertook an extensive set of studies involving both patients and staff to better understand their access issues.

 What happened? ThinkHealthcare worked in partnership with Foundry Lewes PCN to design a customised telephony platform to “bring to life” the aims of the Fuller Stocktake, GP access recovery plan and address a broad spectrum of patient and practice needs as part of their tangible and scalable new model of care template. Together, they improved access for all, leading to a common scenario which virtually eliminated patient access complaints.

 Looking ahead. The surgery is currently integrating the platform with their industry leading local patient priority system to enable at-risk patients to be automatically routed to the front of the call queue. ThinkHealthcare will continue to work with PCNs to develop bespoke solutions which improve efficiency and create greater patient experiences.

Surgery Connect in NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Overview: Cloud-telephony specialist X-on Health recently rolled out their flagship product, Surgery Connect, to the majority of practices in NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire in an effort to modernise and improve access to primary care services.

 Why? Surgery Connect is a solution designed to ease demand and administrative burdens on GPs and practice staff with the goal of improving patient experience. The solution also supports doctors and other clinical professionals and can be integrated with record systems that GP’s use every day, so they can support patient care from a single screen.

 What happened? When the ICS needed to set up a helpline for vaccination queries, Alicia Dunsby, associate director of digital & technology at NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire, described how her team “were able to call X-on on a Wednesday and have it [the new line] set up and tested on the Thursday and ready to go-live on the Friday. The fact that we could be so responsive was just amazing.” Having seen the transformative effect of cloud telephony, more GPs in the area wanted to adopt Surgery Connect. The ICS obtained additional funding and extended its roll-out.

 Looking ahead. Due to their experience of the service, practice and patient benefits delivered to date, the ICS is looking to further its partnership with X-on Health and to make the most of Surgery Connect to modernise primary care for staff and patients alike.