Monthly news from Eastern AHSN - December 2019
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As we approach the end of the year, I think it is appropriate to look back on 2019 and to consider how much we have achieved in the past year in partnership with you all. The richness and diversity of the innovations in health and care in our region continues to astound me.  There is much to celebrate and remember.

The year began with some outstandingly talented people joining our senior leadership team.  We are delivering on our national programmes and have expanded our specialist Patient Safety Collaborative team. We have also established our commercial team, which has built some deep relationships with a wide range of industry partners from start-ups through to large pharma and technology companies. The team has established new programmes for early-stage companies with our Scale-up Accelerator and MedTech Boost.

Finally, our collaborative work in health informatics continues to break new ground, culminating in the award of a £5 million grant from HDR UK for the establishment of Gut Reaction.  This will be a cloud-based platform to hold secure, anonymised data on patients with IBD which will be of great interest to researchers into this lifelong, debilitating condition and will hopefully lead to advances that will benefit patients.  The platform also has the potential to be expanded into other disease areas.

All the activities you can read about in this issue demonstrate our organisation’s purpose - to turn great ideas into positive health impact. Everything we do is guided by our aim of benefiting patients and the wider community in which we live and work. Thank you all for your support this year, especially to me personally as I also took on the role of the Chair of the national AHSN Network. We have some exciting plans for next year, and I hope that many of you will be able to join us at the events we have planned in 2020 to share more about our work and bring people together to widen the impact that we make on the lives of people in our region.

In the meantime, I wish you a very happy Christmas and a peaceful break with your families over the festive period. 

Piers Ricketts

From prototype to showcase in a month: Washseat will "revolutionise personal hygiene care for the elderly."

After attending one of Eastern AHSN’s NHS Readiness events, Andy Speechley and his Washseat innovation has been fast-tracked from prototype to trial in a matter of weeks with the support of our team. Read about Andy’s story and how Eastern AHSN has helped turn a great idea into a product which could make a difference for thousands of patients on our website

The West Norfolk atrial fibrillation service recognised with national award
An Eastern AHSN supported programme to diagnose and treat atrial fibrillation (AF) in Norfolk was recognised as best practice in this year’s AF Association Healthcare Pioneers Report 2020.

Eastern AHSN worked with The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn NHS Foundation Trust and West Norfolk CCG to establish the multidisciplinary team (MDT) service in the region.  The service provides active screening and diagnosis of AF with mobile electrocardiogram (ECG) devices, discussing treatment options and offering anticoagulation and counselling to support patients and their families.

In the first six months, 49 patients were newly diagnosed with AF – 44 of which were started on anticoagulation therapy. Outpatient clinics held at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital allowed patients to discuss their risk of AF-related stroke and choices related to anticoagulation with skilled professionals.

To find out more read the full story on our website.
Two new Primary Care Talks podcasts explain how AI and Blockchain are changing primary care in the NHS
How might emerging technologies impact the future of heathcare? We have released two new podcasts featuring speakers from our successful NHS FutureTech Roadshows as they talk to presenter Dr Hasan Chowhan about their specialist subjects:

Podcast 10: Artificial Intelligence, the rise of machine learning - with Dr Peter Bannister
In this episode we question Dr Peter Bannister, Chair of the Institute for Engineering and Technology Healthcare Sector about artificial intelligence and machine learning. What innovations are out there to support primary care and how could it change general practice?

Podcast 11: Demystifying blockchain for patient records - with Alex Eavis
In this episode, our host Dr Hasan Chowhan meets Alex Eavis from Dovetail Lab to help understand blockchain technology and importantly, what it will mean for patient record keeping and data sharing.

Both can be listened to via soundcloud, on our website or through apple podcasts.
Bridging communities to improve dementia outcomes

Eastern AHSN partnered with Cambridge Wireless and One Nucleus to bring together the Cambridge dementia research community and discuss innovations that may help address how dementia is detected and treated.

The evening featured talks on a variety of innovative approaches spanning diagnostics, drug development, MedTech and digital technologies to apply to the multidisciplinary prevention and care of dementia patients.

The audience included a diverse range of talented innovators, academics and the wider dementia community to learn, challenge and explore the ideas at the forefront of finding breakthroughs in dementia research and care.

Learn more about the speakers and discussions on our website.

Medic Bleep shortlisted for HSJ Partnership Awards
We are delighted to announce that the partnership between Eastern AHSN, Medic Bleep and West Suffolk Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been shortlisted in the HSJ Partnership Awards 2020 in the ‘HealthTech Partnership of the Year’ category.

Medic Bleep is an app that allows hospital and community staff to communicate in real time, sharing vital information and updates about patients accurately and safely. Whilst not a replacement for face-to-face communication, the new technology is considered far more effective than the pager system which is common in most hospitals.

Following support from Eastern AHSN, the company behind Medic Bleep, ‘Medic Creations’, ran a successful pilot at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, and subsequently rolled the service out across the entire trust.

Read more…
First patient enrols on Cambridge Active+me cardiac rehab programme
People taking part in cardiac rehabilitation classes in Cambridge are being given an innovative integrated health monitoring app called Active+me, so that they can exercise safely, monitor their health and improve how they feel about being able to cope living with a heart condition.

The programme and accompanying app, which were piloted in Huntingdonshire by Aseptika founder Kevin Auton and his team, are now being made available to Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust (Addenbrooke’s) patients with help from Eastern AHSN.

To register for classes, patients need to have a qualifying heart condition, live in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and be referred by their Cardiologist or GP. For more information, contact Classes are run across multiple locations in Cambridge, have started now, and last for a duration of 8 weeks.

Read the full story here.
Atrial fibrillation screening service featured in NICE shared learning database

The Screening and Optimising Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation (SOS-AF) service at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) has been featured in The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) shared learning database.

Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust worked with Eastern Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) to establish a patient-centred multidisciplinary stroke prevention service, which has screened 14,979 inpatients and identified 402 new AF cases in its first 12 months.

You can read the full case study on the NICE website here.

Local glue ear innovation wins ‘Children’s App of the Year’
The Hear Glue Ear app, created by local innovator Dr Tamsin Brown, was crowned ‘Children’s App of the Year’ at the UK App Awards in London on 26 November.

Hear Glue Ear is an app designed for children aged 2-6 who are experiencing hearing loss due to glue ear – a condition caused by a build-up of fluid and mucous behind the ear drum which prevents sounds being transferred to the inner part of the hearing system.

Tamsin, who is a community paediatrician at Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, was supported through the MedTech Accelerator– a joint venture between Eastern AHSN and Health Enterprise East - back in 2017 to allow the team to build up their business case for the technology.

Innovation spotlight: Endocuff Vison
Endocuff Vison is a bowel scope that has been designed to provide increased visibility, flexibility and stability during a colonoscopy procedure to help spot adenomas and diagnose bowel cancer earlier. Since the innovation was selected as an NHS Innovation and Technology Payment (ITP) product in 2018, it has been successfully used in five hospital trusts across the eastern region.

For every 1,000 patients treated, it is estimated that six cases of cancer could be avoided through the use of this device (a statistically significant absolute increase in cancer detection of 1.8%).

To find out more, or if you would like to pilot this product, visit the AHSN Network page here or contact

Digital outpatients innovation exchange
Our next Innovation Exchange will focus on the opportunities to modernise outpatient services through digital innovations. Making use of new technologies can help reduce non-attendance and cancelled appointments whilst providing a more efficient and effective service. 

Join Eastern AHSN as we bring together NHS providers and commissioners with innovators and solutions to delivering a digital outpatient service. More information will be available soon at but if you have any questions or would like to register your interest, email

When: 10th March 2020 
Where: Newmarket (venue TBC)
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.

  • How the NHS evaluates and purchases digital solutions
    20 January, Stevenage
    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.
University Enterprise Zone: Bringing new innovative technology to the health Sector can be difficult, find out how you can do this with free support available to you.
Friday 17 January 2020, 09:30 – 14:30, University of Essex.

This seminar covers:
  • Funding and investment from start-up to scale-up;
  • How to commercialise your health technology in the NHS;
  • How the NHS evaluates and purchases digital solutions;
  • Estates and Facilities Management Innovation Exchange;
  • Universities can improve your commercialisation success
For information and registration, visit Eventbrite.
If you would like to include a story for the next newsletter or provide feedback, please contact
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