app for chronic pain
By Aaron Speight
Blog 22 January 2016

As you may have seen over the past week or so, Leeds has redesigned their pain pathway, which includes a new digital health app for chronic pain. The app, designed by Painsense, part of ADI, will enable a minimum of 7,000 patients in the region manage their pain more effectively. We’ve been heavily involved in the project, integrating the app into the pathway and GP systems so patient data can be accessed safely and securely.

I was born and raised in Leeds, so I’ve taken great pride in playing a part in this project. During the initial research stages I was shocked at some of the health care challenges faced by the city, which of course are in no way unique. For instance, if you start in the north of the city and walk south, life expectancy reduces by approximately 1 year for every mile of travel.

Now one app for 7,000 plus people will not change that by itself, but the integration of a digital health platform across the city is ground breaking progress in achieving one of NHS England’s key ambitions, which is to enable every patient in the UK to submit their health data directly to their GP. Now that our technology has been installed into every GP surgery, patients can submit any reading to their GP – blood pressure, heart rate, weight, INR, glucose etc. This can be done in a way that suits the patient – phone call, SMS, app, online.

The infrastructure connects patients to their GPs in real-time, reducing routine appointments and inconvenience to the patient. It’s device neutral, so hospitals and GPs can select the devices they want to use.  It also offers a variety of communication channels, it’s highly secure and it has connectivity into the NHS.

Digital health has the potential to revolutionise the patient doctor relationship and the Painsense app is an excellent example of how, using this new infrastructure many thousands of patients can interact with their healthcare professional remotely.

News today sees MPs criticising the Department of Health and NHS England for being too slow at treating diabetes. Technology of course isn’t the only answer, but designing self-management pathways which are simple to use and connect patients with their doctors could make fundamental improvements to the lives of diabetic patients. Instead of scribbling glucose levels on a scrap bit of paper (or not doing it at all), enable readings to be visible to the GP, as and when they need them. Better insight into readings will enable patients to understand why fluctuations occur, so they can better manage their lifestyle.

The work in Leeds is just what patients, the Government and NHS England have been crying out for. Digital roadmaps are hot topics on the agenda right now and with today’s announcements of the 5 test beds sites, health technology is certainly becoming a central focus. We’re all aware the NHS has to make efficiency savings of over £22bn over the coming 4 years, and employing digital health technology that drives efficiency will play a huge part in clawing back on that deficit.

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