NHS organisations in the North East and North Cumbria have welcomed a new collaboration to improve patient care with new digital technologies.
Led by the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, on behalf of six NHS organisations in the North East, a three-year licensing contract has been agreed with digital health and remote patient monitoring firm, Inhealthcare.
Clinicians and patients will benefit from a range of digital programmes known as Health Call, developed in partnership between the North East trusts and Inhealthcare.
Health Call comprises a digital library of more than 50 apps and offers a toolkit to help clinicians create their own digital health applications.
One example is the Tyneside Integrated Musculoskeletal Services (TIMS), a mainly online service managed jointly between the Newcastle Hospitals and Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust. TIMS offers a self-care toolkit via an app that provides easy to follow tips and advice, as well as fast access to expert opinion, diagnosis and treatment of a variety of muscle, joint and soft tissue conditions and chronic pain.
Graham King, CIO at the Newcastle Hospitals, explained: “Patients are increasingly demanding the ability to interact with their personal health and care records through digital applications and services.
“[Health Call] allows tailored personalised services to be created for our patients, delivered through our clinical and digital teams, working together.
“We’ve already seen the development of a range of more than 50 services through Health Call and these services are now being adopted by health organisations in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“A ‘do once and share’ agreement is reducing delivery costs and patients using the service are benefiting from being able to better engage and manage their health care, whilst reducing the overheads of attending physical appointments.”
Health Call is fully owned by the NHS and exists to drive service transformation by using proven digital health technologies to support patients, while creating capacity in the health and care system.
It is a collaboration by County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust.
Digital services designed, built and deployed by care professionals with Health Call are made available to all organisations within the collaboration.
Bryn Sage, chief executive of Inhealthcare, said: “We have worked closely with NHS providers in the North East of England over the last seven years and believe the region is at the cutting edge of collaboration and innovation in the NHS.
“The Health Call collaboration started at a single hospital trust in 2017 and now has grown to six trusts. It is helping to transform the way care is delivered in the North East and North Cumbria.
“The region’s long-term commitment is an important milestone for Inhealthcare and follows our successful launch in London at the start of the year.”