Digital Health Age Day 1: Yorkshire entrepreneur is investing millions to transform the NHS
Throughout this week Inhealthcare is to be guest editor of Digital Health Age.
It will include articles about Inhealthcare’s mission to save the NHS, why digital health makes sense for both patients and the public purse and an interview with a senior figure from the healthcare establishment.
Bryn Sage, chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Digital Health Age, an excellent online platform, to highlight some of the opportunities and challenges facing this exciting young sector. Healthcare has lagged other industries in the adoption of new technology, which has left a huge backlog of investment. Every healthcare system is facing a crisis of sustainability. The NHS alone is looking at a £30bn gap between budget and demand. These systems can learn much from other industries like media, entertainment, retail, banking and travel which have turned to technology to meet productivity challenges.”
Peter Wilkinson is the founder of pioneering internet companies Planet Online, Sports Internet and Freeserve and has created an estimated 5,000 jobs over an entrepreneurial career spanning more than three decades.
He is the owner of Inhealthcare, a four-year-old company which is working with the NHS to digitise care services across the UK.
Inhealthcare is guest editing Digital Health Age this week to raise its profile among the readership community of healthcare professionals, fitness workers and tech enthusiasts.
The company is also expanding into mental healthcare with a new app to help people suffering from anxiety and low-level depression.
Mr Wilkinson said: “I am passionate about Inhealthcare because I believe it has the power to transform healthcare and save billions of pounds for our much-loved NHS. We have invested a great deal of money in creating a national platform to enable remote monitoring for the entire population. It is ready to go, it is proven to work and it has everything going for it.
“Digital health is the only bright star in the sky and yet because of the structure of the health service in England, with 211 clinical commissioning groups operating as individual fiefdoms, it is very difficult to deal with. If the Government took a top-down approach to digital health, it could save hundreds of millions of hospital visits in a very short period of time.”
To illustrate the point, he said there are around 1m people using warfarin in England. If each patient needs to visit the clinic once a fortnight for blood tests, this equates to 26m visits a year. With self-testing, most of these people could take readings at home and relay them safely and securely to a clinician. This could save around 26m hospital visits a year.
Mr Wilkinson said: “If the NHS rolled this out across 10 similar routine services, it could save 260m hospital visits a year. If I was the new Prime Minister I would like to adopt this now. It could be the biggest revolution in healthcare since the NHS was launched.”
Inhealthcare’s warfarin service has been rolled out in Durham, Wigan, the Isle of Wight, Hull and Ilkley. It has saved 21,000 clinic visits in Durham alone.
Mr Wilkinson added: “This technology has the potential to save countless hospital visits a year and create a life-enhancing independence for many people. If you roll out self-testing services to other areas such as diabetes, nutrition, blood pressure, mental health and care homes, you could save hundreds of millions of hospital visits a year.
“We are just a small digital health company in Harrogate with a good idea. There is so much potential in our technology to remove mundane functions from the NHS and free up doctors and nurses to concentrate on what they do best, which is caring for people in genuine need.”
Inhealthcare is providing the digital infrastructure for the Government’s “test bed” project in Sheffield, which aims to help people with multiple conditions including diabetes, respiratory disease, hypertension and mental health problems.
The company has also been selected to work on NHS England’s “healthy towns” initiative in Darlington.
Look out for more stories by Inhealthcare this week as part of the guest editorship.