North West healthcare SMEs boosted by NWC AHSN partnership

The North West Coast Academic Health Science Network (NWC AHSN) is celebrating successful collaborations with a number of innovative technology firms, which are supporting NHS Trusts across the region to implement new technology, systems and products.

The North West Coast (AHSN) is one of 15 academic health science networks in England. One of the network’s key areas of operations involves working as part of the NHS to enable innovative products to spread quickly and successfully through the healthcare system. It supports would-be suppliers with practical and strategic advice and support as they look to tap into the market.

The network, which marked its first year of operation in December, has partnered with over 15 local companies in the last 12 months. Recent collaborations include med-tech companies uMotif, AliveCor and EasySHARE. The NWC AHSN has helped to support the implementation of the companies’ products in the region’s healthcare system.

Dr Liz Mear, Chief Executive of the North West Coast AHSN, said:

“We’re very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with and support such innovative, game-changing companies in developing and implementing their products in hospitals in the region . We’re already seeing the benefits that this technology is bringing to the trusts where it is being taken up and used, which is very encouraging.

“Driving forward and supporting the spread of innovative products and systems is a key element of the network’s remit. The North West Coast AHSN has now collaborated with, or supported, a number of healthcare technology companies. The roll out of technology, which improves the efficiency of our systems and the quality of care being offered to people, is vital to increasing the effectiveness of healthcare services and ensuring the very best care possible.”

The North West Coast AHSN supported the roll out of a pilot project for EasySHARE – a remote-monitoring system for people with diabetes who are due to undergo major surgery. The project was introduced at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, earlier this year. The EasySHARE innovation has been developed by Healthimo Limited, based in Warrington and the system is now starting to be implemented at the Trust.

EasySHARE has already supported thousands of patients, predominantly in pregnancy and paediatrics, across the region. The EasySHARE modem is located in each patient’s home and transmits blood glucose readings to clinicians every day. This simple assistive innovation is not reliant upon any other technology, internet, phone line etc and is easy to use, safe and effective. Clinicians receive accurate readings in real time, which greatly enhances both patient safety and the patient experience. Further development work with EasySHARE is also being proposed to support patients following major surgery.

The network has also supported the creation of a post-operative care remote monitoring app which is now being used at Trusts across the North West. The app, created by software developers uMotif, is being used to help people who have recently undergone operations for cancer or heart failure. The remote monitoring app helps physicians to keep track of patient’s progress after surgery and ensure that they are managing their conditions and experiencing effective rehabilitation. NWC AHSN is working alongside uMotif Lancashire Teaching Hospital and other hospitals to further develop the app for specific patient groups.

The organisation is also implementing the roll out of a new hand-held ECG device, the AliveCor® Heart Monitor which allows people to monitor their heart rhythm and detect atrial fibrillation (AF/, irregular heart beat) and is a major cause of stroke.

The device, is being distributed by NWC AHSN to GPs across the Southport and Formby area as part of the network’s Reduction of Stroke and identification of Atrial Fibrillation campaign. Fifteen practices have signed up to the six month project which will help increase the number of times AF is identified and allow evaluation of the technology for future rollout.

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