HTN Now Awards Finalists 2022: SME Innovation

Next up, we take a look at the HTN Now Awards finalists in the ‘SME Innovation’ category. Here we’ll explore the submissions and examples of great work in innovation by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

From cloud telephony, smart technology to customisable eRostering and more, there’s plenty of inspirational projects to read about below…


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, primary care was already undergoing significant change in improving patient access as it tackled the challenges of patient demand, exacerbated by often overloaded and outdated phone systems. X-on has been at the forefront of driving these changes through moving communications to the cloud.

The company said it’s constantly evolving its flagship Surgery Connect product through working closely with its GP customers to prioritise features that meet their precise and changing needs.

Surgery Connect’s innovations include:

  • Provision of unlimited lines supporting outgoing practice calls and patient callback –  practices have unlimited phone lines, and call queuing and callback functions, as well as real-time management dashboards which enable staff to allocate resources where they are most needed.
  • Integration of Surgery Connect with patient record systems – this means that practice staff can access their telephony via the patient record while logging patient call activity against that record, including attaching call recordings.
  • Optimising patient time – Surgery Connect can be configured to inform patients with high-quality voice messages at every stage of their journey, minimising stress, allowing patients to self-serve without waiting to speak with a receptionist.
  • Managing call flow – to enable practices to have oversight and manage daily call flow, X-on has developed Surgery Connect X-flow, which is a browser-based graphical call flow creator that provides a visual representation of calls. It enables practice staff to “see” what callers experience.
  • Flexible approaches to working – Surgery Connect supports the new forms of consultation, such as video appointments, which can be enabled through a single-click and transferable technology. This supports remote working by practice staff and GPs, while the contact centre supports groups of practices in providing access to healthcare appointments and advice during extended hours.
  • Scalable technology – a scalable phone system that can meet the needs of individual practices, whilst also providing a future proof cloud-based system that can absorb the needs of multiple sites.
  • Managing the vaccination rollout – X-on has also developed a softphone function for Surgery Connect, which is used in vaccination hubs to help manage the call traffic generated by vaccine appointment bookings and queries. The technology will immediately identify to GP practice staff the purpose of the call and help direct and manage it. The automatic SMS function also sends out appointment details and reminders.
  • Surgery Connect Lite – this brings many of the benefits of Surgery Connect as a software only service. It can be put into service immediately to streamline the communications between healthcare professionals and patients, whether by phone, video, text or secure exchange of still photos. It integrates directly with the clinical system (EMIS Web, EMIS Community and SystmOne) so that manual dialling and context switching is eliminated.

X-on now has its focus on growing markets and opportunities. Among these is X-on’s early efforts to develop into the integrated care space, and the creation of its patient app. The patient app will have numerous capabilities allowing patients to receive phone calls, video calls and text messages via X-on’s cloud infrastructure.

Intelligent Lilli

Intelligent Lilli aims to tackle the burden on the care system and revolutionise remote home care by combining artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), with data from smart technology, changing the paradigm from reaction to prevention.

Lilli is an SME built on the belief that everyone has the choice to live happily, safely and independently in their own home. It combines AI and ML with behavioural analytics and sensor technology in a cloud-based solution that addresses one of society’s most pressing problems – how to provide home care at a time of stretched resources.

Lilli provides care organisations with a remote, predictive monitoring capability that aims to transform an overstretched health and social care sector by enabling care providers to deliver more effective levels of care, better manage resource allocation to where it’s needed based on real data-time data. It is also able to detect potential health problems far earlier than any other assisted living technology so care teams and clinicians can intervene before problems become more serious, significantly reducing requirements for complex treatment, hospital admission or residential care.

It works by establishing a service-user’s normal pattern of behaviour within just six days, using AI and ML to analyse data from sensors in the home, including those tracking movement, eating and drinking, temperature, bathroom visits, power-usage and door-opening. Whenever the service-user’s behaviour departs from the baseline, Lilli alerts care teams or relatives, allowing for follow-up interventions by GPs, district nurses or community rehabilitation teams. One example would be less frequent use of taps or toilet, indicating a potential problem with hydration.

Lilli’s AI and ML algorithm analyses data from the sensors and extracts insights specific to an individual and their condition, significantly reducing false positives. This information is easy for service providers and caregivers to understand and interoperable with health systems to assist with the integration of care pathways.

With Lilli’s solution, service-users remain independent for longer, benefiting from bespoke 24/7 monitoring that costs (from) £1.50 per user per day. The technology has already successfully undergone trials with Brent Council and a 100-person three-month trial with Dorset Council. Additional pilots are underway with North Tyneside and Home Group, one of the UK’s largest providers of housing, health and care. Discussions are also in progress with 17 local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups about additional implementations.

Early results from the Dorset pilot scheme indicate that use of Lilli technology will result in annualised savings of 780 hours of occupational therapy time and cost savings of £250,000. Dorset can reduce the frequency of daily visits to newly discharged patients, saving up to £4,000 per person annually. And by enabling someone to remain at home rather than enter residential care, Dorset could save more than £30,000 per year per individual.

Next year will also see Lilli take its preventive-based approach to care beyond the UK, with plans to expand into Europe.

DuraScience Inc.

The U.S. patent of Sucralez™ is a nutritional supplement composition that helps with metabolic control, better cardiovascular control, and better resistance to diabetic cravings. Sucralez is a combination of flaxseed extract, garlic extract and shiitake extract, and the company says that research has shown it to reduce total and LDL-cholesterol in the blood and decrease diabetic complications.

Sucralez is a composition of 45 milligrams of flaxseed extract from the Linum usitatissimum strain, 25 mg of garlic extract Allium sativum strain and 40 mg shiitake extract from the Lentinus edodes strain. According to Dura Science, studies have shown that consuming flaxseed can reduce total and LDL-cholesterol in the blood and can result in reduced body weight, body mass index (BMI), small reductions in systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. The garlic extract and shiitake extract are said to have notable antioxidant properties and help with high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes.

DuraScience says that in a study of Sucralez effectiveness, focused primarily on diabetic considerations, participants reported the following results: 92 per cent of participants reported decreased blood sugar levels, with a response of typically a 25 per cent reduction in two-hour postprandial sugar level. In addition to decreased blood sugar levels, there were results of better results on metabolic control, an increase in serum HDL (high density lipoprotein), better cardiovascular control, improved microbacterial environment in the intestine, and an overall decrease in diabetic complications.

The ingredients Sucralez each have their own benefits and work together to help people that have been diagnosed with diabetes. Although the main goal for Sucralez is to benefit people with diabetes, Dura Science says each ingredient has its own advantages and that, once it restores and enhances the body’s cells, the composition can go on to boost cell strength and maximise physical and mental abilities.

Skills for Health

Skills for Health has launched a customisable eRostering system that, as well as simplifying the rostering process and providing the NHS with great efficiency benefits, can be tailored by different managers to provide the roster views they require for their specific roles within the organisation.

Skills for Health’s Custom Rostering System (CRS) facilitates quick and easy preparation of safe, effective, compliant rosters, and enables managers to tailor their views of the rosters to meet their specific needs. Users can select the rosters which are relevant to them, for instant access to the information they require. Additionally, to see who is available right now, across the whole organisation, there is no need to view dozens of rotas across several platforms, CRS provides that view in seconds.

CRS makes roster planning simple, allowing staff to be selected according to the skills required, while monitoring compliance and immediately directing the planner to an issue. Attuned to each and every person on the roster, CRS understands the exact terms and conditions, and methods of rostering that should be applied to a complex and diverse workforce.

Potential to integrate with payroll systems enables easy costing, and Skills for Health’s partnerships with bank staff solutions, enable NHS Trusts to reduce agency costs. That emphasis on providing exactly the information required, also means that complex clinical schedules can be managed easily, with a real-time view of events including training and work assignments. For multi-professional events and rosters, CRS allows selection according to the expertise and roles required for successful delivery.

By recognising specialities, skills, and experience, CRS enables healthcare providers to respond to a changing healthcare landscape, day-to-day challenges and evolving needs.