A new series of films about digital health innovations in the NHS have been launched, as part of this year’s #NHS70 celebrations.
Produced by the AHSN Network and NHS England, the films show some of the latest ways the NHS is using digital technology to empower people to take control of their health and care. They feature a range of apps and technologies that are starting to be used in parts of the NHS to help people manage conditions in more flexible ways using digital tools and services.
There are a wealth of digital tools currently in use in the NHS, from apps to manage diabetes and epilepsy, to those that reduce A&E waiting times. This video highlights some of these:
This video shows how the EpSMon app enables people like Torie and Hum to track and self-monitor their triggers – and can help prevent epileptic seizures:
Waitless is an app that combines waiting times at urgent care centres with up-to-the-minute travel information, enabling patients to decide where to go to access faster treatment for minor injuries. Take a look at the video:
MIRA is a digital application that turns practical physiotherapy exercises into video games to introduce an element of fun into rehab and recovery. It proved to be very popular among the film’s elderly participants, bringing out some healthy competition. Watch the film to learn more:
An innovative way to help women manage hypertension during pregnancy, the HaMpton app enables women like Asha and Clare to monitor their health at home. Watch this film to find out more:
This video shows how the Sleepio app records and recommends ways to improve sleep. Now it’s less counting of sheep – and more good nights of sleep – for people like Audrey and Claire:
Changing Health – a self-management app for type 2 diabetes – is empowering people like Sheinaz to better manage their condition. Watch the video to find out more:
Watch the initial launch film here:
Part of the wider work to celebrate and recognise the NHS’s 70th birthday, the videos aim to prompt people to see the NHS as a digital, as well as face-to-face service. Both the videos and the broader #NHS70DigitalWeek campaign encourage people to visit www.nhs.uk to find out more about how they can engage digitally with their health.
Tara Donnelly, Chief Executive of the Health Innovation Network and AHSN Network lead for digital health said:
“Digital innovation has become an essential part of our everyday life. Whether it is accessing the world’s song catalogue, making immediate connections with friends and family or using maps on our phones to find locations, digital tools have become part of the fabric of our lives and society.
“These films show that at 70 years old, the NHS is using digital health more and more, and the benefits are huge. As the innovation arm of the NHS, Academic Health Science Networks are supporting the NHS up and down the country to spread the kind of proven digital innovation that empowers people and frees up clinical time. The reality is that healthcare can be in your pocket.”
The seven examples of digital health that are featured in the series via case studies of people who have used the technology are:
- Changing Health: digital education and coaching platform for people with type 2 diabetes
- Sleepio: sleep improvement programme using cognitive behavioural therapy
- My House of Memories: assisting people living with dementia and memory loss
- MIRA: turning physiotherapy into videogames to improve adherence and make rehab fun
- EpsMon: improving epilepsy self-management
- HaMpton: helping pregnant women tomanage high blood pressure at home
- Waitless: aimed at helping patients to find the shortestwaiting times for A&E and urgent care
The films will be launched once a week over a series of weeks, between 24 July and early September and will be added to this page as they become available.
Sheinaz, who uses the ‘Changing Health’ programme for people with diabetes, talks in the film about the benefits of a digital approach:
“Going to a (support) group wasn’t going to be sustainable for me, the other option was the health app. Having the app helps me maintain consciousness of the condition I have and that I have responsibility for my own health.”
Another person who took part in the filming was Audrey, who used to suffer from sleep deprivation and used the Sleepio app. She said:
“It’s amazing, it’s the sort of thing you can do when you are commuting.” After having previously been without sleep for several weeks at a time, she reports she now hasn’t had a bad night’s sleep in over a year using this product that is strongly evidenced to combat sleep deprivation.
AHSNs have highlighted digital health innovation as a priority area for the NHS in coming years, particularly in the area of long-term condition management, where there are major opportunities for supporting people in self-management and NHS currently spends 70 per cent of its budget.
Digital therapeutics work best when there is a partnership between the patient, their GP and where necessary a team of specialist clinicians or coaches supervising results, coaching and encouraging. The results achieved by the best-evidenced products are powerful – weight loss, fewer crises, lower blood glucose, increased activity, better adherence to medicine, improved self-care, better sleep and mood, fewer admissions to hospital and savings in the longer term to the NHS thanks to fewer complications. The AHSNs work to identify and help spread these innovations, supporting innovators from both the NHS and industry, as well as staff within the NHS with uptake, to maximise the opportunities for the benefit of patients.