“The East Midlands AHSN have helped us gather our ideas about our product and have opened doors for us to meet senior healthcare stakeholders we wouldn’t have met otherwise. We were extremely pleased to win the Medilink East Midland’s Award for Delivering Innovation in Healthcare – which the East Midlands AHSN sponsored.”
Nadine Miles, Director of Market Development

Spirit Digital’s CliniTouch Vie platform uses remote monitoring to help patient’s self-manage conditions and enable healthcare teams to proactively monitor patients safely at their home or usual place of residence, enabling prioritised focus on those who need support. The platform supports pathways and conditions including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), heart failure services, frailty patients and care home healthcare, and early discharge and post-surgery services.

East Midlands AHSN started working with Spirit in 2018 as part of the East Midlands Digital Health Accelerator. The support focused on the CliniTouch Vie platform and use for COPD patients. Through the Digital Health Accelerator, which offers tailored support to Digital Health innovators, Spirit received guidance on:

  • Developing their messaging and proposition
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Group development sessions with other companies
  • Access and exposure to healthcare professionals and stakeholders at high profile and targeted events
  • Funding applications.

Since joining the East Midlands Digital Health Accelerator in 2018, Spirit Digital have seen steady growth. They have also received a European Space Agency (ESA) Business Applications and Space Solutions award and a six-figure match funded grant to incorporate real-time air quality data into the platform, which will add a new dimension for patients to self-manage even more effectively.

Challenge / problem identified

It is estimated that 3 million people in the UK are living with COPD. This makes it the second most common lung disease in the UK following asthma. The estimated annual cost of COPD to the NHS is £1.9 billion.

In 2016, Spirit’s CliniTouch Vie was part of a research study using admissions data from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. Data was analysed relating to the impact on COPD-related admissions and overall resource use – comparing a 12 month period with and without patients using the CliniTouch Vie COPD self-management platform.

The study showed that over a 12 month period through using CliniTouch Vie:

  • 148 unplanned emergency COPD admissions were prevented
  • Reduced admissions savings of £117k over 12 months (on a mean number of patients enrolled of 54)
  • Reduction in home visits (provider efficiencies)
  • Patient improvements in self-management, education and confidence
  • Admissions per head reduced from 3.13 to 1.02 per year.

Ref 1: Ghosh et al. Combined interventions for COPD admissions within an urban setting. British Journal of Management 2016, Vol 22. No 3

How is the AHSN involved?

Spirit Digital were supported by East Midlands AHSN utilising their third party, expert advice and mentoring to help provide a new focus on how to refine their messaging and further the spread of their product CliniTouch Vie within the NHS.

East Midlands AHSN have provided vital coaching and mentoring to some members of the Spirit team since they joined the Digital Health Accelerator programme. They have worked with the company to develop their product messaging and proposition for an NHS audience and have acted as a neutral sounding board for them to refine their plan to take the product forward.

As well as receiving in-depth guidance and access to expertise, Spirit have also benefited from exposure to healthcare professionals and stakeholders at high profile and targeted events. They have also recently won a Medilink East Midlands Award for Delivering Innovation in Health and Care, which was sponsored by East Midlands AHSN. All of these opportunities have provided Spirit with exposure and a platform to highlight their product – which they wouldn’t have had easy access to without the AHSN.

Spirit are also receiving ongoing support from East Midlands AHSN with funding applications for product development, with Spirit’s most recent win being European Space Agency funding to research the benefit of adding a new air quality functionality into their COPD platform.

Impacts / outcomes of AHSN involvement to date

Since working with East Midlands AHSN, Spirit have:

  • Seen a steady growth in sales and have secured contracts with NHS trusts
  • CliniTouch Vie has seen tens of thousands of patient interactions through its platform, helping patients to self-manage their condition, improving clinical outcomes, providing education and helping users to grow in confidence
  • Secured investment to develop their product including an impressive six figure match funded grant from the European Space Agency
  • Have won a Medilink Award for their approach to delivering innovation in healthcare.
Plans / timescales for adoption and spread

Over the next 18 months, Spirit will be working on a demonstrator project focusing on research on air quality data and the impact on those living with COPD as a result of their recent European Space Agency grant.

Following this research, Spirit Digital will incorporate additional functionality within their Clinitouch Vie platform to help people gain a better understanding of when their symptoms may be exacerbated because of changes in air quality. These developments aim to make their product more versatile and widen its potential impact and appeal. They will continue to work with the East Midlands AHSN on their plans for further stakeholder engagement and increase visibility of their product to the NHS market.

Opportunities to get involved

Spirit’s CliniTouch Vie is already being used by NHS and health care teams across the country – but they would like to make the product available to even more people with COPD and other chronic conditions e.g Heart Failure, Asthma through further spread to health and care sites. The platform is incredibly flexible and versatile and can fit almost any clinical pathway and will benefit both patients and the clinical team wherever it is integrated into care.

Start and end dates:

2017 – ongoing.

Media contact for further information:

Jayne Holgate, Communications Manager, East Midlands AHSN
E: jayne.holgate1@nottingham.ac.uk
T: 0115 74 84243 | 0797 367 4164