A year after we opened our doors here at Health Foundry, we hosted our second annual Health Summit.
70+ participants ranging from health technology startups, healthcare professionals and corporates gathered to discuss this year’s focus - multiple long-term conditions (LTCs).
LTCs are pressing themes in the NHS with 50% of all GP appointments, 64% of all outpatient appointments and over 70% of inpatient bed days attributable to LTC’s.
Sinead Mac Manus, General Manager, Health Foundry, introduced the summit and opening session by encouraging the interaction between members of the audience as a catalyst for partnerships.
The challenge in Lambeth
Kicking off the day was Kieron Boyle, Chief Executive, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, painting a picture of the challenges associated with LTCs in Lambeth and Southwark. The local community is urban, diverse and deprived with 600,000 residents and as in many healthcare environments 70% of their budget is spent on 30% of people; those who are most ill or managing long term conditions.
Multiple LTCs have been highlighted as a significant burden, 5 times more costly than a single condition.
Kieron Boyle, Chief Exec, Guy's and St Thomas' Charity
The Charity's interest in this area was further explained by Michael Wright, Head of Health Investment and Director of Multiple Long-Term Conditions at the Charity who emphasised a focus on the human challenge of ill health and the social context in which health is experienced is key. The Summit being a conference about digital health, he also highlighted some of the ways that technology can help from patients only having to give their information once to what he called Taming the mundane; the small everyday challenges of living with a long term condition.
Further scene setting was provided from a National level with Amy Galea, Deputy Director of Strategy at NHS England and Natalie Banner, Policy Adviser, Wellcome Trust.
Amy provided an update on the story so far for NHS England’s Test Beds, set up in response to the Five Year Forward View (5YFV) call for real world trials to test innovative products that improve patient’s outcomes. The programme is well underway and an interim report (available here) was published at the NHS Expo in September this year.
Many of the innovations being tested look at LTCs. In Manchester the team are working to stratify patients who are at risk of heart disease, COPD and diabetes — then use telehealth to remote monitor their vital signs, which is helping to redesign pathways and train health professionals. West of England is working on the Diabetes Digital Coach project which is utilising the Internet of Things (IoT) to help patients manage their condition. Meanwhile Sheffield is looking at the Perfect Patient Pathway to improve LTCs such as asthma and diabetes by increasing technology access and information sharing.
Amy spoke realistically about the challenges associated with implementing a programme of this nature, including, challenges with funding but also highlighted successes they have had along the way, including the story of June and Phil, who are leading a more independent life through technology in one of the regions.
Include key physicians early in your journey; and, you need a healthy dose of patience and time!
Amy Galea's advice to Innovators
Why do we need to talk about data?
Natalie Banner of the Wellcome Trust brought a data protection angle to the day with the pertinent question, “Why do we need to talk about data?” Data can have a huge impact in all aspects of dealing with people with LTCs from prevention to self-management. Natalie shared a frightening statistic that they uncovered in their research - that 80% of lower limb amputations as a result of diabetes could be prevented by better use of data.
Natalie explained that many people did not think about their data. However, when asked they do not trust what is happening with their data. Stories of hospitals providing data to large companies have never really been readdressed by the hospitals so it’s a murky world. She says the fact of the matter is that more data is required in order to conduct good research; but the data needs to be handled appropriately and with the consent of the patient.
This has lead to the creations of the Wellcome Trust funded website, Understanding Patient Data website. It is a resource available to open a dialogue with patients about why patient data is important; how data is kept safe; and the risks.
The resources are available under a Creative Commons license and we were implored to engage with patients on the subject and even promote if you are using NHS patient data in order to be transparent and empower patients. As a free, easy to use resource on this topic it’s worth checking out; wherever you sit on the healthcare spectrum!