One hundred entries, four expert judges, a shortlist of six, and finally a winner. Lyn Whitfield explains how Highland Marketing judged the #HealthTechToShoutAbout category of this year’s Health Tech Awards, who made the top spots, and what the judges said about them.

Highland Marketing sponsored the #HealthTechToShoutAbout category of the Health Tech Awards 2019, the winners of which have just been unveiled by the Health Tech Newspaper.

We looked through more than 100 entries, before putting together a longlist of nine for consideration by the Highland Marketing advisory board, which is made up of industry and NHS IT experts, and independent of the day-to-day work that we do for our clients.

A longlisted entry and work commitments removed two board members from the process, but after considerable thought – and some agonising – the remaining four came up with a shortlist, highly commended and winner. Chair Jeremy Nettle explained: “With more than 100 entries, selecting a shortlist of six was a pretty daunting task.

“Our criteria were fairly simple: did the entry demonstrate digital transformation that benefited the NHS, clinicians or patients; was it well written and well referenced; and, crucially, was it something that other organisations could pick up?

“So many awards don’t appear to have high repeatable value; so the entries that followed a standardised, documented process stood out. We thought #HealthTechToShoutAbout should be health tech that others want to hear about and then implement themselves. I’m pleased to say that we found some excellent examples and a very worthy winner.”

Without more ado… the shortlist was…

Health Innovation Manchester, Smart Hearts data deterioration project

Entry in short: Five hundred patients with heart failure in Greater Manchester are part of trial that uses data from existing implanted devices, such as pacemakers or defibrillators, to extract evidence of early deterioration gaining actionable insights to transform models of care.

Ravi Kumar said: This project is bringing together and analysing data from implanted devices, to detect early signs of deterioration. It’s a good use of existing data and it’s forward looking in its use of technology (AI, Internet of Things). I can see potential for widespread applicability across large areas of health and care. 

Jeremy Nettle: This project is an excellent example of bring together existing data, forward-looking AI and IoT tracking outcomes to detect early signs of deterioration. It’s an excellent piece of innovative thinking.

Queen Mary’s Hospital, Bexley, eTriage app

Entry in short: eTriage is an innovative emergency triage platform. Ambulatory patients check-in on an iPad, enter demographic details to get their NHS Number, answer brief questions about their symptoms, and are automatically triaged by clinical need within five minutes of arrival.

Andrena Logue said:  This was a well thought-through project in an area ripe for pragmatic innovation. It would have been nice to know more about the tech side, and how easy it would be for other trusts to implement. As a ‘next step’, it would also be great to see the trust deploying backend analytics, to capture ongoing efficiency gains.

Jeremy Nettle said: This project involved patients as part of the delivery of care. Confirming the accuracy of demographic details is not new, but it is a significant issue in an A&E department, so it makes sense to implement a redesigned workflow. It’s great to see that involved clinical teams and the patient, and that patients are triaged by clinical need within five minutes of arrival.

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, dementia and delirium assessment tool

Entry in short: The trust embedded a national assessment tool for delirium into its EPR, alongside a test for non-diagnosed dementia. It also improved coding, so it had accurate data about its work. Screening rates increased, more cases were diagnosed and length of stay and readmissions were reduced.

Andy Kinnear said: I have spent a lot of the last year listening to colleagues describe the increasing impact that dementia is having on our population. I have witnessed it in my own family. I really liked the way this project was taking on such a tricky issue and I hope other trusts will look at the blueprint for doing it.

Jeremy Nettle said: This project addressed a significant issue. It made excellent use of analysis; it’s good to see algorithms being demystified and put to practical use in this way. Although small scale, it is available through the GDE blueprint process.

Northern Ireland, Diabetes Care Pathway

Entry in short: The Diabetes Care Pathway is a development of the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record, which has consolidated the clinical data of 1.8 million citizens within a single, digital care system, built on Orion Health technology. It ensures faster diagnoses, better decision making and improved care coordination.

Andrena Logue said: Northern Ireland is a comparatively small jurisdiction, where digital maturity is moving at pace. This is just one element in its ongoing NIECR roll-out, but it’s a well-executed model that scores highly on clinical and patient UX, in an area of national importance. A really good project, with clear RoI and efficiency gains.

Ravi Kumar said: I thought this was super example of what can be achieved with a well-conceived, mature integrated care record, and the project itself addresses one of the most significant challenges faced by the NHS. 

And our (very) highly commended and winning entries were…

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Command Centre

Entry in short: Bradford has worked with GE Healthcare to implement a command centre that is complementary to its EPR deployment. It brings together key clinical and bed management teams and gives them big screen and mobile access to data to address flow, efficiency, safety and risk.

Andrena Logue said:  It was an absolute joy to read this application! It is a testament to a management/IT team that ‘gets it’ and works tirelessly to make IT work for staff, while ensuring a positive impact on patients. There are good metrics, efficiency returns, and clear ‘next steps.’ It’s a shame that this is comparatively ‘way out there’ – Bradford is surely showing trusts the way to go. 

Andy Kinnear said: A very worthy highly commended for me. This was the entry I enjoyed reading the most. It’s addressing hot NHS challenges, such as reducing demand on A&E and improving patient flow, and it’s doing it using cutting-edge application of technology. The potential for large-scale, large-impact is high.

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, My Medical Record

Entry in short: My Medical Record is an online service that connects patients into the hospital while supporting new models of care. More than 1,000 men in prostate follow-up are now supported remotely and self-management is being implemented right across the trust.

Andrena Logue said: This provides patients with full ownership of their data at a really vulnerable point in their lives. Technically, it is using openPHR so the data is not tethered to any specific EPR, and clinical staff can connect via FHIR. It’s great that Southampton wants to signpost patients to clinical trials and that it’s ready to configure this to support other pathways.

Andy Kinnear said: My Medical Record shifts power in the NHS to the patient in the way other industry sectors have already shifted power to their users. That’s likely to be one of the biggest game changers in the NHS in the next decade, and University Hospital Southampton is demonstrating how to go about it perfectly. This is a cracking piece of work.

Ravi Kumar said: NHS-led project, addressing significant issues in terms of patient engagement, redesigning pathways and removing outpatient appointments. To get this right, the tech needs to be extremely flexible and sophisticated to sustain patient engagement. It’s hard to get this right and then sustain it, so it will be interesting to see where this project goes next.

Jeremy Nettle said: This was our overall winner, demonstrating all that is possible in a digital interaction with a patient group. Although written in house, the principles can easily be adopted and integrated to other specialties and systems. And that’s what makes it #HealthTechToShoutAbout.

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