HTN Now Awards 2023/24: Best Virtual Care Project

Next up: we present the finalists in the category of Best Virtual Care Project.


Overview: Gestational Diabetes is a growing problem in the UK as maternity services, and the consequences of not managing this condition are dire, with emergency C-sections and pre-term births. Our solution enables a much better experience for the mother and midwives through the gestational period.

Why? The maternity services team at Royal Surrey County Hospital have to manage a growing volume of pregnant women with gestational diabetes or pre-existing diabetes. Manual methods are time-consuming and can lead to delays in identifying women that need treatment to manage blood glucose levels.

What happened? Royal Surrey County Hospital wanted to provide pregnant women with a technology approach that enabled them to record blood glucose readings from the comfort of their own homes while providing reassurance that their condition was still being closely monitored by clinicians. In April 2019, the trust began using GDm-Health, a digital therapeutic smartphone application that helps clinicians remotely monitor blood glucose levels in near real time and helps pregnant women with diabetes better manage their condition. Within the first six months of using GDm Health, the trust achieved a high adoption of the technology among women, with 95 percent regularly recording blood glucose readings via the app. A year later, this number has increased to 98 percent as more women recognised the benefits of using remote monitoring, especially at a time when social distancing guidelines require pregnant women to stay at home as much as possible. Increase in capacity has resulted in an 18 percent reduction in the number of appointments with midwives/DSNs, a 47 percent reduction in the number of appointments with diabetes specialist doctors. Average time to intervention has reduced by 21 percent, and in the four months following implementation, email traffic reduced by 54 percent and call volumes by 70 percent.

Looking ahead. iPLATO/HUMA plans to continue to drive improvements for maternity services in the UK.

Birdie – the intelligent platform for homecare

Overview: Birdie seeks to reinvent care through innovative technology, enabling older adults to thrive at home through a platform built to drive critical efficiencies and further person-centric care.

Why? The UK’s care sector is in crisis, with over 152,000 industry jobs are vacant and over seven million people waiting for elective care. Combine all of this with a creaky digital system decades behind other industries and the need for a solution becomes urgent.

What happened? Birdie’s platform equips agencies with the digital tooling they need and draws upon data and insight to “really help them go beyond what they thought possible.” It enables better management of day-to-day operations through an all-in-one SaaS solution available through mobile and web apps, including payroll management, shift scheduling, customer analytics, and many other functions. It enables care providers and care professionals to log everything on one centralised digital system. Everything the team does – from product development to customer onboarding – is in close collaboration. As a result, care providers save both time and money; capacity to handle tasks increases by 35 percent within one year of using Birdie. The number of visits missed drops by 82 percent after one year, while the number of alerts that take over 72 hours to resolve falls by 21 percent. Birdie participated in a collaborative study with Fosse Healthcare and the NHS to test an ‘early warning’ system, based on data collected through Birdie’s platform. The results, published in 2022, revealed it had saved time and improved job satisfaction.

Looking ahead. In 2022, Birdie achieved a $30m series B investment round. Its priority is to expand its capabilities and exploit more data. It has already signed new partners in Spain and is actively looking at expansion into Ireland, France, and Germany.

Tech in Care Ltd

Overview: Tech in Care Ltd is developing a user-centred digital module building upon their product, Pathways to Care, streamlining the Intermediate Care (IC) process. It addresses stakeholder communication gaps, offering efficient data sharing, reporting, and accountability, delivering a “single version of the truth” for IC journeys.

Why? Many stakeholders cannot access the same IT systems, leading to gaps in communication and risk of not sharing pertinent information. Beyond this, many regions are using spreadsheets, emails and phone calls (or paper-written notes) to communicate, and patient information is shared via unsecured methods.

What happened? The aim was to provide a module which is a supplier agnostic, cloud-based case management system which allows users to capture, update, track and report on information about a person’s journey through the Intermediate Care process. The D2A–IC module is data-light and person-centred, providing a single version of the truth to users, with appropriate security and information governance considerations. D2A-IC facilitates more efficient communication, joined up working across organisations and data sharing. An efficient, delay-free discharge process from hospital to home with a deployed six-week care package gives people the best chance to avoid unnecessarily going back into hospital, with vital savings unlocked through the digitisation of manual processes and ability to track people through their period of intermediate care. The module supports capacity/demand planning by giving clear metrics of how many people are in the service and how many people are on the system’s waiting lists for the service and reporting features give organisations the ability to analyse, improve and commission the right services for their local population.   Wakefield Council have shown significant interest in the intermediate care module since the project commenced, and we are working with the newly created Home First service to pilot the platform.

Looking ahead. Tech in Care Ltd is looking forward to continuing to improve and enhance IC processes to deliver a “single version of the truth” for IC journeys.

Harrogate & District Foundation Trust

Overview: This initiative aims to transform communication with patients after they have undergone a day surgery surgical procedure, with a personalised video message recorded by the surgeon after the operation and delivered via a secure server to the patient the same day.

Why? The anxiety and stress a patient can experience during an admission to hospital means patients rarely remember what has been told to them after any surgical procedure. Research has demonstrated that up to 80 percent of the medical information given is forgotten immediately.

What happened? The implementation of the project is extremely simple and requires little capital investment. A standard tablet is all that is required for the most basic delivery. After each surgical procedure the surgeon will record a personalised video for the patient on the tablet. Within Harrogate, the Patient Engagement Portal (PEP) Patient Knows Best (PKB) is utilised to record and deliver the video message  securely. The patient then receives the video message on the day of surgery after their discharge. Attached to the personalised message are several short videos answering common questions, for example around when a patient can return to driving or whether they can get their wound wet. This initiative has allowed the removal of unnecessary follow up outpatient appointments from the post operative pathway. With the legacy model of post-surgery communication 75 percent of patients felt that they required a further appointment, often to clarify information they had forgotten or misunderstood. With the video message, only 15 percent of patients who received a personalised message with accompanying FAQs felt they needed a post-operative clinic appointment after arthroscopic surgery of the knee. This initiative has now expanded to include patients undergoing hand surgery, gynaecology, and shoulder surgery at Harrogate.

Looking ahead. The solution will continue to be expanded across multiple specialties within Harrogate, and learnings will be shared with other regions.