The latest Digital Health News industry round up includes a project to reduce urgent care visits, the roll out of cognitive behavioural therapy via an app and analysis of a medicines optimisation solution.

Simply Connect and Content Guru added to NHS England HSSF

Simply Connect and Content Guru have been awarded a place on the NHS England Health Systems Support Framework for Social Prescribing.

The pair implement social prescribing through a combination of Content Guru’s storm cloud communication services and Simply Connect’s digital social prescribing platform. The solution allows health professionals to easily refer patients to a social prescribing link worker or directly into verified community services. It also enables personalised social prescriptions; detailed case management and wellbeing monitoring; outcomes reporting; and a public-facing online portal for self-referrals.

Martin Taylor, deputy CEO and co-founder at Content Guru, said: “As an established HSSF framework supplier, we look forward to expanding into the emerging field of social prescribing, which is an important part of providing holistic care. Together with our platform delivery partners at Simply Connect, we are excited to support the development of services that support ultra-personalised health and care.”

The Health Systems Support Framework (HSSF) supports NHS England in procuring services from approved suppliers that enable digital and service transformation. The HSSF is part of NHS England’s wider strategy to shift to an integrated care model.

Sirinda Bhandal, CEO and founder of Simply Connect, said: “Being awarded a place on HSSF is testament to our commitment to developing a best-in-class digital platform aimed at enabling the NHS to achieve its goal of at least 900,000 people referred to social prescribing by 2023/242. We know the NHS is under immense pressure and the pandemic is taking a real toll on our mental and physical health. By offering a personalised care approach to complement existing interventions, we help to reduce reliance on statutory services, by supporting people to live healthier, happier lives.”

Kry Livi plans roll out across Europe

Kry Livi has announced plans to roll out its mobile-first technology-based psychology services across Europe, including the UK.

The plans will see the company support psychologists to see twice as many patients with mental health issues through its new internet cognitive behavioural therapy programme.

The service can be accessed via an app, opening up the support to more patients living with conditions like anxiety, depression and stress. The programme includes self-help assessments and modules, plus the opportunity for chat and video contact with a psychologist to help people manage their symptoms.

Roll out of the programme will commence in 2022, and the company has plans to introduce additional services, such as insomnia treatment and chronic disease management.

Johannes Schildt, CEO at Kry, said: “We see mental health as health and everyone in Europe should have the right to access support when they need it. We have delivered over 200m patient interactions and with years of experience in providing gold standard digital mental health provision – now totalling over 300,000 appointments across Europe – we’re seeing up to a threefold increase in mental health related appointments.

“Our mobile-first ICBT programme offers a progressive approach for psychologists and patients alike. We will enable more patients to have better access to responsive mental health treatment at scale.”

NHS 111 and Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire reduce urgent care visits through service design

A service design research project led by Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) Healthier Together Partnership has led to a significant reduction in the number of people visiting urgent care following a call to NHS 111.

The partnership worked with user centred design specialists, Mace & Menter, to develop, test and refine changes to the way people accessed urgent care. The initiative was a bid to relieve some of the winter pressures that the NHS will face on its urgent care, and focused on telephone and online triage.

Sam Menter, founder of Mace & Menter, said: “Experience is key, so we worked hard to understand the emotional and practical impact of the proposed changes on the patient experience. Using service design techniques such as storyboarding, prototyping and qualitative research we were able to understand why people were behaving in certain ways as well as how they might react.

“Integrating with the NHS team allowed us to share skills, knowledge and mindsets and really highlighted the value of understanding the patient experience. Everyone involved in the project was super-motivated to improve things and create change, and that led to a great outcome.”

The project led to a pilot scheme where 111 calls were triaged by clinicians rather than algorithms, which in turn saw fewer people visiting urgent care following the call – the partnership estimates they saw a 70% reduction.

Alex Ward-Booth, head of insight at engagement at BNSSG CCG ICS said: “This project has enabled us to bring the voice of patients and service users to life and demonstrate the value of applying design thinking at an early stage In transformation programmes. The findings have been taken on board at all levels in the organisation and the recommendations have fed into the way we approach communications, messaging and long-term plans for the service.”

Antipsychotic prescribing tech helps reduces diabetes and stroke incidence

Health economic analysis carried out by Kent Surry Sussex Academic Health Science Network (KSS AHSN) found substantial clinical and financial benefits of using a medicines optimisation solution to reduce the use of antipsychotic medicines for at-risk patients.

KSS AHSN studied the impact of NHS primary care prescribers using FDB OptimiseRx – which is currently used by around two thirds of GP practices for more than 38 million patients. It revealed a return of £1.20 for every £1 that was invested, based on just three of more than 4,000 prescribing messages. It also forecast a reduction in stroke and diabetes incidence, as antipsychotic useage is correlated to higher risks for both conditions.

FDB OptimiseRx messages deliver patient-specific prescribing information when clinical information in the patient record indicates that a prescription may not be in line with national or local best practice guidance. The analysis looked at the prescribing of antipsychotic drugs for patients with learning disabilities, dementia or generalised anxiety disorder.

Darren Nichols, managing director at FDB, said: “The issue of potential harm and unnecessary waste from overprescribing is once again a priority area for the government and the NHS. At the same time, the NHS is placing increasing emphasis on measuring success of digital implementation, something that we are equally eager to understand for the benefit of our customers.

He continued: “Technology suppliers must play a role in helping the NHS to understand where it is getting value from digital adoption, in this case as a means to support important changes to prescribing processes and approaches.”

Perfect Ward signs Allevia

Healthtech company Perfect Ward has signed a new customer in Australia, who will be using the company’s digital quality improvement platform.

Allevia, a not-for-profit disability service provider, will be using Perfect Ward’s solution to capture all quality data electronically to help streamline its auditing process. The company has replaced a previous paper-based system with Perfect Ward and is now able to accurately monitor its performance against internal quality targets and standards.

Working closely with the solutions provider, Allevia is now working to streamline its audits and use the technology to drive continuous quality improvements. Overtime, the data that the company collects will help to identify existing or emerging challenges, develop efficiencies and present the opportunity to inform future design and strategic thinking.

Eric van der Sluis, Perfect Ward’s commercial director for Australia and New Zealand, said: “The Perfect Ward system is a key way for organisations to capture data about quality activities across an organisation. Our technology overcomes the challenge of measuring and reporting quality effectively through the use of automation. Allevia can rely on our innovative solutions to streamline and evidence their vital inspection processes to help create a healthy culture where everyone becomes a quality champion and continuously raises the bar for quality across the entire national industry.”