The NHS in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has been given £1.2m to use innovative technologies and treatments that speed up their uptake across the wider NHS. The area is one of seven locations nationwide to become part of the NHS Test Beds programme. Clinicians at Royal Stoke University Hospital will look specifically at how they can improve care for patients with chronic long-term heart failure.
The team at Royal Stoke will combine three new digital technologies to help reduce A&E admissions for patients with chronic long-term heart failure. They will do this by coordinating community-based clinical interventions with patients who report deteriorating symptoms. The project will also enhance patient knowledge and ability to safely ‘self-care’, using bespoke patient-education materials and referrals to appropriate third-sector services. When it is rolled out nationally it is estimated the project could lead to 24,000 fewer hospital admissions, 240,000 less bed days and save of £60m.
The NHS Test Beds programme is part of a wider suite of NHS projects that will see the NHS use new partnerships as well as enabling uptake of technologies that will benefit 500,000 patients nationally. Other Test Bed sites are embarking on projects that include the use of AI and machine learning to improve breast cancer screening and digital platforms enabling self-management for diabetes.
Simon Whitehouse, Director of Together We’re Better, the health and care partnership for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, said: “This is fantastic news for local people and credit to our local clinicians for driving this forward. One of the ambitions of Together We’re Better is to become a national exemplar in the use of digital technology and this very welcome announcement by the Secretary of State absolutely supports that goal. By being selected as one of just a handful of NHS Test Bed sites in the country, people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent with chronic long-term heart failure will receive more effective support through the use of this pioneering new technology.”
Paula Clark, Chief Executive at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, said: “I’m delighted by the award of £1.2m to our health economy to try to improve care for patients with heart failure. We’ll be working with our partners across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire to support patients through faster access to treatment before they become unwell and need acute hospital care. We have a strong reputation for caring for these patients and I hope our expertise will eventually mean patients nationwide will benefit from the work here in Stoke-on-Trent.”
Neil Mortimer, Lead for Digital Health West Midlands, said: “Digital Health West Midlands, the digital innovation service provided by West Midlands Academic Health Science Network supports the NHS and industry to forge productive collaborations that benefit patients and clinicians and help the region’s technology companies to deliver innovative solutions to the NHS. By providing specialist expertise and knowledge, Digital Health WM supported the partners to develop a comprehensive bid to Innovate UK and NHS England. As part of the national AHSN Network, Digital Health West Midlands will also ensure that lessons learned from the Test Bed will be shared regionally and nationally.”
Steve Pashley, Managing Director from Health2Works (ReCap Health), said: “We are delighted that Recap Health are part of this successful collaboration. Recap is already helping thousands of NHS patients to become more knowledgeable about their health care and self-care more effectively. Now, using this award and working with partners, we can create an integrated product suite that offers even more support, focusing on patients with heart failure.
Philip O’Connell, Chairman and Chief Innovation Officer of Simple (FLO Telehealth), said: “We’re delighted to be part of this winning Test Bed bid with the Royal Stoke University Hospital. It’s exciting to see that the original Florence pilot will now be scaled up and connected with other innovative technologies to provide a holistic and sustainable solution for patients. Formal, independent academic evaluation is something that is out of reach of small organisations like our own; however, the value this brings to companies like ours cannot be underestimated.”
Victoria Norman, CEO of Signum Health, said: “Signum Health is delighted to part of this successful NHS Test Bed Wave 2 collaboration. Winning this competition validates and recognises our work and certifies our place in the industry. The combination of our social prescribing technology along with streamlined clinical input has the potential to dramatically improve outcomes and care, not just for patients with heart failure but across all chronic conditions. This is a significant shift in care using digital technology to adopt a social model of care alongside traditional clinical methods.
This is the second wave of NHS Tests Beds and once again AHSNs will provide support in their region. To view, the national picture of Test Beds and the other six successful partnerships click here.