Monthly news from Eastern AHSN - September/October 2019
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The power of convening people to collaborate in delivering positive health impact for patients in our region and beyond is a consistent theme across our activities this autumn.

In this issue we celebrate an outstanding example of collaborative working. A team led by Mark Avery, Director of Health Informatics at Eastern AHSN and Cambridge University Health Partners, won a £5m grant from Health Data Research UK to establish a data research hub for inflammatory bowel disease in Cambridge. We are privileged to be part of this groundbreaking project which will help transform our understanding of the disease, drive improvements in diagnosis and treatment and hopefully deliver a data framework to reproduce in other disease areas. A big thank you to all the consortium partners on this prestigious bid.

In my role as chair of the AHSN Network I was especially proud to lead an international forum of senior leaders from nine Northern European countries to explore shared learnings around the adoption and spread of innovations in health and care. The event was put on by the Foreign Office and the Office for Life Sciences and was called the first HealthTech Innovation Leadership Exchange. Despite the varying size of the populations covered, all countries agreed that they are suffering from the same issues of silo working and the familiar barriers to the large-scale adoption of new products and services.

I look forward to sharing some of these learnings with you in the coming months and continuing to work across country borders on solving our common health concerns together. 

We were also delighted to collaborate across our own geographical borders this month to host an innovation exchange with our colleagues at East Midlands AHSN. This event brought together innovators and NHS stakeholders to explore ways of shaping future NHS estates and facilities to enable better delivery of new models of care. Find out more about this and some key dates for your diary below.

Best wishes,

IBD patients to benefit from new £5m data research hub in region

A £5m grant has been awarded by Health Data Research UK to establish a health data research hub for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) after a successful bid by Eastern AHSN and Cambridge University Health Partners.

There is an urgent need to better understand why patients with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (collectively know as inflammatory bowel disease or IBD) respond differently to treatments so they can be prescribed the best personalised treatment as early as possible in order to improve outcomes, minimise surgery and reduce costs. Whilst advances in clinical imaging, pathology and particularly genomics have produced remarkable progress in understanding Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, the power of these technologies cannot be fully realised until their outputs are combined in a secure research resource and made accessible to the whole research community. This project makes that possible.

Mark Avery, Director of Health Informatics at Cambridge University Health Partners and Eastern AHSN, who brought the bid team together, commented: “This is such an exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of health data research. We believe that citizens, academia, health services and industry will achieve more working together than they will in isolation. This project exemplifies that, and we are grateful to all our partners on this hub including the NIHR BioResource, Crohn’s and Colitis UK, the IBD Registry, Wellcome Sanger, AIMES, Privitar and Microsoft.”

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are estimated to affect one in every 130 people in this country and cost UK health budgets around £1.5bn each year. Patients from across 90+ NHS Trusts have already been recruited to an NIHR BioResource and consented to their health records being used for medical research.

Rosanna, Crohn's disease patient, commented: "Patients with inflammatory bowel disease need to find the most effective treatment as quickly as possible to limit disease progression, but currently this process can take three or more years of trial and error. This initiative makes the tantalising prospect of personalised medicine real for patients, who for the first time will have the confidence that they have been prescribed the most effective treatment for them from the start."

Our news announcement prompted coverage in the media including the Cambridge News, City will host a centre for bowel disease research, and the Cambridge Independent 

Find out more about the initiative here 

North European focus on driving healthcare innovations
"Open collaboration – meeting across borders, building relationships and sharing ideas is where the future of health is being built. We're creating a movement to save lives through technology"  Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

In the first event of its kind, Piers Ricketts chaired an international HealthTech Innovation Leadership Exchange hosted by the UK government to share learnings to encourage the scale and spread of innovations in healthcare.

Delegates included representatives from the NHS, UK innovators and experts from European countries – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden. They explored how the Nordic and Baltic systems gave strategic support for healthtech innovation as well as collaboration between industry and healthcare systems and the adoption and spread of innovation.

In discussions around barriers to innovation, leaders identified mindset and 
corporate culture as some of the universal challenges. 

Piers commented: "What this has really shown is that we are all facing the same issues, it’s just a question of scale. So clearly, Iceland with a population of 350,000 people and Estonia with a population of one and a half million have been able to adopt more digitalised health records than we have in the UK with a population of well over 60 million. But some of the issues they talk about, silos, trust over patient data, things like that are all exactly the same things that we face here.”

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock delivered a keynote speech in which he inspired delegates around the potential of healthtech to revolutionise how we predict, prevent and personalise healthcare. 

There were also sessions led by Sam Roberts, CEO of the Accelerated Access Collaborative, Matthew Gould, CEO of NHSX and Tony Young, NHS National Clinical Director for Innovation. 
While behavioural economist Tim Harford inspired leaders to think creatively about how we can maximise the spread of innovations through collaboration. 

Find out more in our film
Entrepreneurs pitch cutting-edge ideas to transform healthcare 

Innovators pitched AI ideas to address mental health and healthy ageing challenges for the NHS at a five-day venture sprint in Cambridge, organised by Eastern AHSN.
Sixty entrepreneurs spent an intensive week working with designers and industry and healthcare mentors, including ARM and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, to develop and build their ideas.
On the final day six teams presented their business propositions to a panel of judges, including Eastern AHSN Commercial Director, Louise Jopling. Award winners were:

  • Equilibrium – Best Impact in Mental Health
    Applies machine learning to help bipolar patients predict mood changes and directs them to support
  • CAM.AI – Best Presentation
    An AI-based psychological support platform to help reduce adolescent self-harm
  • Cambridge MemTech – Best Impact in Healthy Ageing
    Uses machine learning to improve early detection of Alzheimer’s disease

During the week, Jenny Coleman, Commercial Team Project Co-ordinator for Eastern AHSN, joined team Cosma as a co-founder, supporting them to develop a proposition for their digital monitoring and therapeutic solution for early-stage dementia sufferers. Eastern AHSN is now in discussions with the teams around potential investment and future collaboration with programme partners and sponsors.

Find out more about the full range of innovator support we offer at Eastern AHSN
Eastern AHSN celebrates the power of partnerships at Expo 2019

Eastern AHSN and the wider AHSN Network featured heavily at NHS Expo as healthcare leaders from across the country convened in Manchester for the annual conference.

Delegates swarmed to the busy innovation exchange zone hosted by the AHSN Network featuring a variety of innovators, while leaders from the network engaged in a number of plenary sessions.

Dr Louise Jopling, Commercial Director at Eastern AHSN, was on the panel discussion at Eli Lilly and Company's session Powered by Partnerships, as they launched their new report of the same name, with a foreword from Piers Ricketts, Chair of the AHSN Network and Chief Executive of Eastern AHSN. The discussion stressed the need to improve cross-sector collaboration to ensure a health system fit for the long term.
Eastern AHSN also led a workshop entitled A new Ambition for Cross-sector working: How Together the NHS and Pharmaceutical Industry can Help Deliver the Long Term Plan, which was delivered in partnership with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI). The session featured examples of convening organisations and individuals across sectors to help deliver the NHS Long Term Plan, provided practical guidance to simplify cross-sector working and included insight into the work delivered by Mid and South Essex STP and GSK. Read the full guide here.
Finally, Piers Ricketts joined a panel in the main hall to talk about the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), explaining that “The AAC have developed a welcome framework for the identification of innovations and it is the job of the the AHSN Network to make adoption and spread happen.”

Other panel members celebrated the AHSN Network’s role in spreading innovation, with Haseeb Ahmad, President of the ABPI, MD UK, Ireland and Nordics Novartis, commenting that “The AHSN Network are having an impact delivering significant improvements – their work is about important change at ground level.”
If you are interesting in learning about the support we can give in developing cross-sector collaboration and partnership working, please get in touch at
Showcasing innovations to help shape healthcare of the future

"Estates and facilities are no longer the problem of those people in the basement - it's everybody's concern." – James Mayne

This month we partnered with East Midlands AHSN to showcase innovations that will both inspire and practically help shape the future of NHS estates and facilities in this region to enable the delivery of excellent care.

We are living in a period of tremendous change for the NHS. New models of care mean that properties have to deliver much more than in the past, making estates and facilities an even more important part of the patient experience, requiring innovative approaches to deliver against the dual goals of patient care and efficiencies.

The scope of this innovation exchange encompassed everything related to the places where care is delivered, both the buildings themselves and the systems that keep them running, such as heating and lighting.

Many great ideas were showcased at the event, from an app to record problems with equipment, using clean tech to cut energy costs and a wayfinding system to ease journeys around hospitals.

James Mayne, Scan4Safety Programme Manager, University Hospitals of Derby & Burton NHS Foundation Trust, explained how they are using barcodes to enable clinical teams to identify patients by accessing their records quickly and easily at the bedside or in operating theatres and to ensure that the right medical equipment is in place. The introduction of this programme has improved patient safety, clinical productivity and supply chain efficiency whilst saving the trust over £2.7m in just one year.

Andrew Selby, Associate Director Estates and Facilities at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, shared how they had introduced an app to support the efficient day-to-day running of the hospital by simply enabling any staff member to report equipment problems 24/7 so they could be fixed speedily and avoid delays in delivering patient care.

Meanwhile, Andrew Talbot, Director, Workplace Design & Construction EMEA at M Moser Associates brought a global perspective, sharing his industry intelligence on innovative property projects with cutting-edge designs from New York to Hong Kong. Winston Churchill, he said, had grasped the importance of space: “We shape our buildings and our buildings shape us.”

More than 65 delegates attended the event and benefitted from the networking opportunities and suggestions for developing their ideas. We are now working with East Midlands AHSN to support new partnerships formed on the day and explore the potential for further working with innovators across both regions. Find out more and view the day's presentations here.

Fresh awards for Eastern-AHSN backed healthtech innovations 

Congratulations to our partners – and our teams – for clinching newly-announced Health Tech News Awards. We are proud to be supporting these celebrated innovations:

Primary Care Innovation:
Winner: Lea Valley Health GP Federation and Eastern AHSN for Digital Engagement Officer Project
Lea Valley Health wanted to improve digital literacy across their practices. They appointed a digital expert to raise awareness of their existing web platform and encourage more patients to use the online services, reducing phone calls and face-to-face interactions.

Richard Moore CEO Lea Valley Health commented: “Core to the success of this initiative was enabling greater digital literacy and engagement with the appointment of a Digital Engagement Officer funded by Eastern AHSN. It was also key to get the content right, the platform needed to be both a resource of valuable information on health and social care whilst also making it easy for patients to use online services in place of face-to-face or telephone calls as appropriate.”
Read more here.
Best Healthcare Technology Solution of the Year:
Highly Commended - West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Eastern AHSN with Medic Bleep
The Medic Bleep app allows hospital and community staff to communicate in real time, sharing vital patient information accurately and securely. It is considered to be far more efficient than traditional pagers and was rolled out across the West Suffolk Hospital site in Bury St Edmunds in June. Read more at Eastern AHSN

Excellence in Engagement and Communication:
Highly Commended - NHS Norfolk Children and Young People’s Service for JustOneNorfolk
This digital platform has become the go-to healthcare website for families across the county, providing support on topics such as mental health and pregnancy. It attracted more than 100,000 views in its first six months. Find out more in our impact review
Experts explore how disruptive tech can help to deliver better care

“Today is not about where we are, it is a chance to look at where we are going and the potential of technology to support the NHS. We’ve got to fix our potholes before we build the shard, but we need to also know where we aspire to get to together.” – Kate Walker, Head of Digital Strategy and Transformation, Suffolk and North East Essex STP

Our last FutureTech Roadshow in the series brought together the NHS workforce with academics, industry experts and regional business leaders to explore how disruptive tech innovations might transform the way we deliver health and care.

Kate Walker explained how small technological advances can create big impact. Since East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust had upgraded the wifi systems at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals in February, she said it was easier for patients and visitors to log on to a more secure system, which in turn built stronger relationships with NHS staff who were caring for them. 

Meanwhile, ophthalmology registrar Chrishan Gunaskera, who claimed a world first in carrying out an eye examination using a 5G smartphone in 2018, shared his hopes of telemedicine helping to deliver eye care across the globe. Find out more here

Jag Ahluwalia, Eastern AHSN Chief Clinical Officer, explained to the 25 delegates how our network supports innovation across the region, working with NHS professionals, industry, academics and patients to deliver positive health impact. Find out more about how we could support you or register for one of our future events at Eastern AHSN

Upcoming events

NHS Readiness events
Register for the next sessions in our popular NHS Readiness series below, or find out more about the full schedule and range of industry support we offer at Eastern AHSN.

  • Funding Investment from Start-up to Scale-up
    29 October, Cambridge
    Funding is essential for healthtech companies to develop, validate and successfully commercialise a product in the NHS. Find out what innovator services are available to help you learn how to leverage grant-based funding, how to access angel funding and what business support is available from Eastern AHSN and its partners. Register for our event

  • How to Commercialise your Health Technology in the NHS
    25 November, Stansted
    If you're an early stage innovator or SME, find out how to meet the challenges of getting your product or service adopted into the NHS. Learn from leading commercial and clinical experts about who best to approach within NHS structures, how to develop your idea into a successful NHS business case and the importance of your product's budget impact and value proposition. Sign up here.

Bridging communities to improve dementia outcomes
5 November, Cambridge
With an ageing population, dementia is becoming more prevalent and it is estimated that by 2025, around a million people in the UK will have the condition. Now is the time to coordinate how we maximise outcomes for patients, carers, health and social care systems to better identify at risk individuals to help delay onset and impact of disease, manage symptoms, discover and develop new treatments and help patients maintain their independence.
This Eastern AHSN, One Nucleus and Cambridge Wireless event brings together presentations from innovative approaches spanning diagnostics, drug development, medtech and digital technologies to apply to the multidisciplinary prevention and care of dementia patients. If you work within these sectors and have an interest in dementia research or in cross-sector collaboration to solve national healthcare challenges, please register here.

Confidence in Collaboration
19 November, Cambridge
An interactive workshop to help cancer teams create the right framework to realise benefits for patients and the NHS, where data underpins innovation. The event will bring the oncology community together to discuss challenges around data sharing. Clinicians. managers, legal and technology experts and patients will also have an opportunity to explore DATA-CAN – The Health Data Research Hub for Cancer which aims to transform how cancer clinical data across the UK can be used to improve patient care. Find out more and register here  

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