Radii Devices secures £494k grant from Innovate UK’s Biomedical Catalyst Fund

Radii Devices – a company which develops technology to improve the fit of external medical devices, and which began its journey on our Health Innovation Programme (HIP) in 2020, has successfully secured investment to fund multi-centre clinical trials.

The innovative technology, which improves the fit of medical devices that connect with the skin such as prosthetics, orthotics, and wheelchairs, will be trialled in several clinics across the UK.

The technology pulls together evidence, based on clinical practice and engineering data using artificial intelligence, and wraps it into software which aims to support the clinician in device design for the best patient outcome.

The upcoming clinical trials will evaluate how well the software works and compare its performance with conventional methods of prosthetic limb fitting, through both quantifiable measures and qualitative experience.

The grant, from Innovate UK’s Biomedical Catalyst fund, provides match funding for Radii’s recent equity investment raise which came from Orthopaedic Research UK and angel investors.

Joshua Steer, founder of Radii Devices said: “We are delighted to receive this funding to support the development and trial of our software to support prosthetic limb fitting. Since the earliest stages of development during our PhD research we’ve always had a clinical trial as a key goal, and we’re delighted that it will now be tested in multiple clinics across the UK.

“The West of England AHSN has played a fundamental role in our innovation journey, which started out on its Health Innovation Programme in November 2020. This experience was crucial for the development of our business and the design of our clinical trial. It provided the time and expert feedback to work through the different value propositions for all stakeholders in the NHS and beyond. This has been critical in bringing together our partners for the clinical trial, raising investment, and developing our product for the trial.”

Piloting child-parent screening to detect FH and save lives

In this blog, Rachel Gibbons, Programme Manager, speaks to GP Dr Amy Howarth whose practice in Gloucestershire is participating in the Child-Parent Screening Service Programme. The Child-Parent Screening Programme is currently being piloted, initially for 24 months, across seven AHSN regions, including in the West of England.

The programme aims to identify families with Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH) through the use of a simple heel prick test undertaken at a child’s one year immunisation appointment. FH is an inherited condition which can lead to extremely high cholesterol levels. In those children with a reading of >95 percentile, further genetic testing can be undertaken for family members. FH affects 1 in 250 people in the UK, yet over 90% of cases are still undiagnosed.

Without treatment, FH can lead to heart disease at a young age and significantly increases the incidence of fatal or non-fatal heart attacks. Early detection of FH is important as, if started early enough, treatment gives patients the same life expectancy as the general population.

Child-parent screening offers a population wide, low-cost solution to the management of CVD and is currently the best model for FH detection.

Dr Howarth, why was it important to you to be part of this new programme?

I have Familial Hypercholesterolaemia, so when I heard about this project, I was quite keen to get involved.  It’s a really interesting way to potentially increase the diagnosis rate and find more cases.

Apart from those times when there’s a very high cholesterol result, I’m not sure we’re (in primary care) considering FH as often as we could. This programme can help change that.

I was eleven when my dad had a heart attack, in fact it was on my 11th birthday.  He was 39 and he went off to work and then my mum had a phone call from his boss saying they had called an ambulance for him.

He was taken to the BRI in Bristol, made a recovery and came home five days later on Christmas Eve – people had longer inpatient stays for MIs (Myocardial Infarction) then. They said that his cholesterol was very, very high and that my sister and I both ought to have our cholesterol tested.

Mine was 6.8 I think at that time and hers was 8.8 so they made the diagnosis of Familial Hypercholesterolaemia. There was a great deal less in the way of diagnostics at that point, no genetic testing or anything, no lipid clinics that I remember.

My parents were advised that we should follow a low-fat diet. No medication was suggested at that time. It wasn’t until I was 17 that my GP prescribed statins and apart from four or five years off when I was trying to get pregnant, being pregnant and breastfeeding, I’ve been taking them ever since.

So, did you feel was there was much support for you as a patient at that time?  It was obviously a big shock what had happened to your father.

My father is 72 now and he still gets emotional thinking about that time. My mum was told that he might not make it to the next day. It was all touch and go.

They were also worried about me and my sister. And now I’m a parent, I can imagine how hard that was.

I was referred to a lipid clinic in my 20s. I’d been on statins for several years and my GP wanted to check I was on the right treatment, whether we should be doing anything else.

We know a great deal more about FH now and there’s a lot more support available.

My daughter has been tested and will continue to be monitored.

So, it’s still early days for your Practice, but now you have started to screen children, how have you found it?

We’ve been screening for six weeks and we’ve found that it’s been well received. Everyone who has brought children for their immunisations has wanted to take part in this screening.

And it’s been a straightforward procedure once we’ve gotten used to it and we’ve settled into a routine.

What would you like to see for the future for child-parent screening?

I’d love to see the pilot be successful and demonstrate an increase in case detection rates.

And if it then gets rolled out across the country then that would be amazing.

It would mean that as primary care nurses and doctors we’d be much more aware of FH and FH screening generally. If screening happened at everybody’s one year immunisation appointment, it’s bound to raise awareness amongst healthcare professionals.

I think if it was something that happened nationally, then my nurses would be quite pleased they were involved from the outset. It’s quite exciting to be involved in something that might lead to a national change in practice – and ultimately save lives.

It’s good to be able to talk to the parents about FH as well; people don’t always realise, that by identifying FH in their baby we’re potentially helping lots of other family members too.

I think it’s going to make a big difference.

What would you want other GPs to know if they were considering joining the pilot?

I would say “do it!”.  It’s been a good experience so far and it hasn’t taken lots of resources or time.

I’m also keen to know how else we could use the point of care testing machine and whether it’s something that might be a good asset to the practice in the future.

We don’t get all that many opportunities in general practice to be involved in research if you’re not a dedicated research practice, so it’s something exciting and valuable to be involved in.

Get involved

If your GP practice in the West of England and would like to get involved in this programme please contact Rachel Gibbons, Programme Manager – rachel.gibbons10@nhs.net.

Read more about our cardiovascular disease (CVD) programme, including the roll out of Inclisiran.

Funding awarded to help home COPD management

Supported by the West of England AHSN, the health system in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) has been awarded funding from NHSX’s Digital Health Partnership Award to roll-out the myCOPD app alongside digital health champions to support patients with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

myCOPD provides guides on self-management, how and when to take medication, pulmonary rehabilitation and more, to help patients to recover and manage their condition effectively at home.

Roll-out of the app within the BNSSG system will start in December 2021, expanding to further areas throughout 2022.

Find out more about the myCOPD app.

More information about the Digital Health Partnership Award funding is available here.

A focus on COPD as part of the National Adoption and Spread Safety Improvement Programme (A&S-SIP)

The overarching objective of the A&S-SIP is to identify and support the spread and adoption of effective and safe evidence-based interventions and practice.

Each of the programme’s objectives intend to make medical procedures, and discharges from acute settings, as safe as possible whilst driving forward healthcare innovation.

In relation to COPD, our local delivery has focused on supporting an increase in the proportion of patients in acute hospitals receiving every element (for which they are eligible) of the British Thoracic Society COPD discharge care bundle.

The national A&S-SIP is led by NHS England and Improvement. The programme is delivered locally by the West of England Patient Safety Collaborative. Read more about A&S-SIP.

An Introduction to Innovation in Healthcare – free online learning

The West of England Academy is launching a free online course focused on innovation in healthcare from 1 November.

The free, four-session course has been developed by the West of England AHSN and the University of Bath’s Centre for Healthcare Innovation and Improvement (CHI²).

The lead educators will be available during November to answer questions and respond to comments, and whilst the facilitated course ends on Friday 26 November, the content will be continually available to learners via the Future Learn platform.

Find out more about this free online training and book here.

Attendees will join hundreds of healthcare staff and innovators from around the world who will benefit from this training whilst learning at their own pace from wherever they choose.

The course is primarily aimed at health practitioners, clinicians, health and care managers and commissioners. However, it will also be of interest to those who want to understand more about the challenges of innovation in healthcare including undergraduate and postgraduate students, and innovators from the commercial sector.

CPD certification is available on the Future Learn platform with a paid upgrade.

Undecided? Want to know more? Join our introductory webinar:

To introduce the online learning and answer any questions you may have, we are hosting a 30-minute webinar on Tuesday 12 October at 12noon. Please register your attendance here.

Find out more about this free online training and book here.

The West of England Academy offers a wide range of free resources to healthcare professionals and innovators across the region. To find out more about our Academy, visit our webpages or email weahsn.academy@nhs.net

Our academy works hard to welcome attendees from a broad range of backgrounds creating a safe and open environment for learning and sharing ideas.

You can find out more about the University of Bath’s Centre for Healthcare Innovation and Improvement, including their latest research projects, here.

New Adoption and Spread Series launches

The West of England Academy are hosting a new series of five interactive online workshops each Wednesday morning from 28 April focusing on the successful adoption and spread of healthcare innovation, best practice or products.

Free to attend, and for any healthcare project team member or innovator based in the West of England, each two-hour session is standalone so you can choose individual workshops or sign up for the series.

Ideally attendees will be working on a live project and come with an improvement idea they have tested at small scale in an NHS organisation and who want to learn how to think about the skills and capabilities needed for adoption and spread.

Attendees can be in any role and level within their organisation, for example from clinical, administration or facilities.

Our academy works hard to welcome attendees from a broad range of backgrounds creating a safe and open environment for learning and sharing ideas.

Find out more about our Adoption and Spread Series and book here.

The West of England Academy offers a wide range of free resources to healthcare professionals and innovators across the region. To find out more, visit our Academy pages or email weahsn.academy@nhs.net.

AHSN Network has benefited more than 479,000 patients and generated £322.3 million inward investment for UK economy

The innovation delivery arm of the NHS, the AHSN Network, has released its Impact Report 2018-2020. The report highlights outstanding impacts achieved by AHSNs, including the West of England, and evidences how they are driving adoption and spread in healthcare innovation, transforming patient outcomes, enabling efficiencies, saving the NHS money, generating economic growth and attracting millions of pounds of investment for the country’s economy.

The report also details how AHSNs have mobilised quickly to COVID-19 to support the NHS and health and social care response.

National programmes

Commissioned by NHS England, England’s 15 AHSNs delivered seven programmes during 2018-20, developed regionally and selected for national adoption and spread, which are benefiting more than 479,000 patients: Atrial Fibrillation, Emergency Laparotomy, ESCAPE-pain, PINCER, Prevention of Cerebral Palsy in PreTerm Labour (PReCePT), Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM) and Transfer of Care Around Medicines (TCAM).

Key national programme findings from the report show that 13,387 fewer patients are at risk from harm from medication errors as a result of PINCER. The Network’s atrial fibrillation work has helped prevent 11,734 strokes and saved 2,933 lives. Whilst 8,472 people with chronic joint pain have participated in ESCAPE-pain courses.

AHSNs also play a key role in supporting the NHS to adopt new, better and more effective technologies through playing a leading role in supporting the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), by operation as the local agencies to drive adoption of Innovation and Technology Payment (ITP) and Rapid Uptake Products (RUPs).

Economic growth

From 2019-2020, the AHSN Network has generated almost £322.3 million inward investment for our nation, and created and / or protected over 1,000 jobs during this time.

The AHSN Network helps mobilise the value that the NHS can add as an economic asset to the UK economy. AHSNs broker access to a range of expert support and services across the health and care sectors that support NHS innovators and companies to realise the commercial and economic potential of their ideas.

The latest round of company surveys conducted by the AHSN Network show remarkable progress in the health innovation sector. Find out more about how the AHSN Network has attracted millions of pounds of investment for the country’s economy.

Patient safety

England’s 15 Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs) have significantly contributed to the NHS Patient Safety Strategy through their work on managing deterioration, maternity and neonatal safety, and adoption and spread programmes.

PSCs play an essential role in identifying and spreading safety improvement programmes (SIPs) to create sustainable and continuous improvement in settings such as maternity units, emergency departments, mental health trusts, GP practices and care homes.

Successes include spreading the National Early Warning Score (NEWS2) to 99% of all acute hospital trusts, a 92% uptake of a discharge care bundle for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and more than 120,000 views of a series of training films developed for care home staff.

Review our regional Patient Safety programme here.

COVID-19

To support the COVID-19 response AHSNs pivoted their expertise and resources, highlighting their unique ability to be able to work with regional health systems to spread innovation, whilst collaborating across England to drive rapid transformative change across large geographies.

Key examples of AHSNs responding to the pandemic include; providing expertise to NHS regions, by embedding staff in regional COVID-19 response cells, which was equivalent to 157 full time staff. And working with NHSX and NHS Digital, AHSNs help to drive digitisation of primary care, achieving a near-total uptake of video and online consultations in two months across GP practices in England. We also published a rapid-learning report on our patient safety work, ‘Safer care during COVID-19’.

By autumn 2020, AHSNs were continuing to support the COVID-19 response whilst providing expert input to regional NHS planning around the restoration and recovery of services. Nationally, AHSNs have also been leading the NHS ‘Reset’ campaign with NHS Confederation and the Health Foundation and have been playing a key supporting role in the NHS Beneficial Changes Network, focusing on ‘locking in’ learning from the pandemic.

Find out more about how we are working with health and social care colleagues across our region to keep people safe during and after COVID-19.

Piers Ricketts, Chair of the AHSN Network and Chief Executive of Eastern AHSN said:

“We are achieving results that make a real difference for patients and service users, as well as healthcare professionals, innovators and NHS organisations. These strong foundations make us ideally placed to help all those involved in improving and innovating health and care to tackle together the challenges that lie ahead.

The AHSNs’ response to COVID-19 has highlighted how our core strengths and ways of working have proved a valued asset to our partners. AHSNs are agile and well connected organisations, and we were able to mobilise and respond to this new crisis almost overnight, providing additional support and brokering relationships across health and care, research and academia, industry and the voluntary sectors.”

New national programmes

From April 2020, AHSNs are working on three new national programmes;

  • Focus ADHD; a number of AHSNs are working with mental health trusts and community paediatric services to improve the assessment process for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) using computer-based tests (measuring attention, impulsivity and activity).
  • Early Intervention Eating Disorders; a number of AHSNs are supporting mental health teams across England to speed up diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders in young people aged 16 to 25.
  • Lipid management and FH; AHSNs are scoping a national programme of work around cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention, which is anticipated to start in autumn 2020.

Review our regional work on FOCUS ADHD and Early Intervention Eating Disorders.

AHSNs continue to support national NHS initiatives such as the National Innovation Accelerator (NIA), Small Business Research Initiatives (SBRI) and Clinical Entrepreneurs programme and developing work on new and emerging NHS priorities such as workforce innovation.

Read the full AHSN Network Impact Report 2018-2020.  

Introducing the quality improvement (QI) winter series

The West of England Academy are hosting a series of five online workshops each Wednesday from 27 January on quality improvement (QI). Free to attend, and for any innovator or employee within healthcare, each one-hour session is standalone so you can choose individual workshops or sign up for the series.

Each workshop will be interactive, so you can apply learning in real-world scenarios. The workshops will be beneficial regardless if you are working on a specific QI project or not. If you encounter challenges in your role (or outside work), and want to consider how these can be tackled through QI, these sessions will help.

Attendees can be in any role or level within their organisation or business; for example clinical, product development, administration or facilities.

Our academy works hard to welcome attendees from a broad range of backgrounds creating a safe and open environment for learning and sharing ideas.

The West of England Academy offers a wide range of free resources to healthcare professionals and innovators across the region. To find out more, visit our Academy pages or email weahsn.academy@nhs.net.

New adoption and spread guide launched

It is estimated that across the UK, a third of healthcare improvement projects never spread beyond their particular unit, a further third are embedded across their organisation but never spread further than that, and only the final third are spread across their own and other similar organisations. Through the West of England Academy supported by our new guide, we aim to support our member organisations and innovators increase the adoption and spread of successful innovations and improvements in the health and social care sector.

quote from guide

Successfully spreading improvements and ensuring changes are sustained requires overcoming numerous challenges, such as:

  • Creating an awareness of why the change is needed
  • Ensuring those involved have a desire to support and participate in the change
  • Knowledge of how to bring about change
  • The skills and resources to bring about the change
  • Ensuring processes to sustain the change

Our new guide (which you can download here) sets out suggestions to be considered for the successful adoption and spread of innovation and improvement projects. Our Academy will also be hosting a free series of workshops focusing on adoption and spread in spring 2021.

The West of England Academy provides a range of free resources to help you gain knowledge and develop essential skills for innovative thinking and working. We promote the use of quality improvement methodologies to support delivery of better patient care. We also offer a range of resources focused on evidence and evaluation.

If you would like further guidance on this subject, please contact us through Innovation@weahsn.net.

Our Academy also hosts free workshops and learning events. Whether you are looking to learn more about: inventing, innovating, improving or realising impact, and whatever your background or healthcare experience, we hope we’ll have something suitable for you. If you have any suggestions for potential events, or know of any training that we can share then please contact Academy@weahsn.net and let us know.

Applications for the NHS Innovation Accelerator are now open!

The NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) – an NHS England initiative supported by England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) and hosted at UCLPartners – has launched its call for applications representing high impact, evidence-based innovations. Successful applicants will become 2021 NIA Fellows.

The call is open to local, national and international healthcare innovations supported by passionate individuals from any background, including SMEs, clinicians, charity/third sector and academics.

In alignment with the current NHS priorities of COVID-19 Reset and Recovery, innovations put forward this year must address at least one of the following themes:

  • NHS response to COVID-19
  • Mental health
  • Supporting the workforce

The application period is open until 16 October 2020 at midnight.

This list of Frequently Asked Questions explains the NIA in more detail, who can apply, the selection process, what support an NIA Fellow 2021 can expect. We recommend reading this document before applying to the NIA or contacting us about your application.

Interested in applying?

Visit the NIA website to learn more about the application criteria and process, register for informational webinars, and access the online application portal. Webinars will be held on 8, 9, 22 September and 8 October.

Our Business Development team are available to support you and answer any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to contact us, you can email:  innovation@weahsn.net

Read about a local 2020 NIA Fellow

On 5 March 2020, the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) announced 11 high impact innovations joining the national accelerator in 2020, including one developed here in the West of England: The WaterDrop. Read more about The WaterDrop and their journey to becoming an NIA 2020 Fellow.

About the NHS Innovation Accelorator (NIA)

The NIA is an NHS England Initiative highlighted in the NHS Long Term Plan. It accelerates uptake of high impact innovations for patient, population and NHS staff benefit, and providing real time practical insights on spread to inform national strategy.

The NIA supports individuals (‘Fellows’) with a set of values and passion for scaling evidence-based innovation to benefit a wider population, with a commitment to share their learnings.

Since launching in July 2015, the NIA has delivered the following (these stats do not include data from the latest rounds of Fellows, unveiled in March 2020):

  • 2,214 additional NHS sites using NIA innovations
  • £134.8m external funding raised
  • 486 jobs created
  • 113 awards won
  • 45 innovations selling internationally
  • NIA innovations save the health and social care system £38m per annum, according to conservative figures from independent evaluations by York Health Economic Consortium.

Industry roundtable discussions inform AHSN Network support offer

The AHSN Network, of which the West of England AHSN is a member, is planning a series of “Bridging the gap” events this autumn aimed at providing support, information and advice for innovators across industry. The plans have been developed following a roundtable discussion hosted by the AHSN Network to listen to the experiences and challenges faced by industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The roundtable, titled Lessons learned and lived experiences of industry during the pandemic – how these can help us reset health and care together, was primarily an opportunity to hear from industry. The group discussed how the views and experiences of industry could be taken forward and inform the NHS Reset process as we move into “phase 3” of the response to the pandemic. You can watch a short film summarising the event here.

In essence, the key themes of discussion around actions that need to involve industry insights to support reset included:

  • Effectively embedding new care/service models that have developed during the pandemic
  • Getting rapid evaluation and reimbursement models working more effectively, building on the lessons learned in recent months
  • Managing the consequences of the dramatic decrease in non-COVID care and considering digital interventions that can help manage patient care and outcomes.

Organisations joining the AHSN Network in this virtual roundtable included:

  • the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI),
  • the British In Vitro Diagnostic Association (BIVDA),
  • the Digital Health and Care Alliance (DHACA),
  • the Association of British Health Industries (ABHI),
  • Health Foundation,
  • Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC),
  • NHSX,
  • the Office for Life Sciences (OLS),
  • Spirit Health Group, and
  • the NHS Confederation.

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“The NHS has been through the most traumatic period in its history – we have seen some of most awful consequences of this terrible pandemic and some of the most fantastic responses from both health and care staff.

“We have seen innovation and its implementation at an unimaginable speed and scale that’s never been seen before, and we now urgently need to review what has happened and make sure we capture the positive transformations have been made possible by working with industry.

“We are keen for these relationships to continue and for us all to work hard to maintain this momentum.”

Read more about the event here.

This event forms part of the AHSN Network work on supporting the health and care reset, ensuring that we work across both NHS and industry to sustain and maximise on potential advances and transformative ways of working.