Leeds commissions UK’s largest digital health service

A revolutionary app developed by a Yorkshire tech company is set to ease the burden on the NHS and improve lives for thousands of people across Leeds, experiencing daily chronic pain.

The new service covers the population of the city of Leeds, and is initially available to over 7,000 patients, making it the largest digital health service to be commissioned in the UK.

The downloadable app which is completely free for patients to use, gives them the knowledge, skills and guidance to manage their pain, which should reduce the need to visit their GP or hospital.

Painsense has been created by Saltaire-based ADI (Advanced Digital Institute), with support from the NHS England SBRI  programme. It is currently being used within the healthcare sector in the Leeds and West Yorkshire area and will be rolled out across other regions of the UK within the next six months.

Digital health specialists Inhealthcare, a Harrogate based firm have played an instrumental part in fully integrating the app into the pain management pathway and GP systems so patient data can be transferred safely and securely. This means it can also be easily accessed before and during consultations.

Dr Jamie O’Shea of Leeds West NHS CCG said: “The Pain Toolkit app has recently been introduced in Leeds to encourage supported self-management of persistent pain. I have introduced this app to several patients who have unanimously provided extremely positive feedback and I am very confident we will see improved outcomes for this cohort of individuals.”

From the patient’s perspective it is easy to use on their smart phone or tablet device. A PainSense app user commented: “For people like me who have suffered for years, Painsense gives you strategies to follow so you can cope better with the pain.”

Huw Jones of ADI said: “The app has been developed with patients and healthcare professionals over a 2 year period. So far the reaction has been extremely positive.”

“It could revolutionise the doctor patient relationship for the estimated 8 million people in the UK suffering with pain. The app includes two related elements in the form of the established Pain Toolkit, which contains a wealth of information and assessment tools, and the Pain Management Plan that helps the patient structure a plan to manage their experience of pain.”

“Since April when the new pain pathway was introduced, enabled by the app, there appears to be a marked reduction in the number of people needing hospital care,” added Huw.

Bryn Sage, CEO of Inhealthcare, said: “A key ambition of NHS England has been to enable every patient to be able to submit health related data directly into their health records.

“Leeds is the first city in the UK to adopt, across every GP surgery, infrastructure that allows every patient to send information back to their GP electronically.”

“PainSense is an excellent example of how, using this new infrastructure many thousands of patients can interact with their healthcare professional.

“This type of digital health service is just what the Government and NHS England are crying out for. The NHS needs to meet cost savings of over £22bn this year, and driving efficiency through technology will play a huge part in clawing back on that deficit.

“As Leeds has shown, by adopting universally a digital health platform that supports a range of health innovations, you can increase the effectiveness of treatment, use resources more efficiently and get greater engagement with the public.

“This technology can support many care pathways from diabetes to INR testing. We’ve got the technology to deliver and that’s an exciting prospect,” added Brin.

This work was commissioned and funded by the SBRI Healthcare programme. SBRI Healthcare is an NHS England initiative, championed by the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs).

Simon Walker Photography_-13
David Harson, ADI; Huw Jones, ADI; Steve Laville, Leeds West CCG; Jamie Innes, Inhealthcare and Charlotte Guest, Leeds West CCG


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