App that helps pregnant women monitor hypertension among new NHS innovations that will save lives and improve treatment

A wireless sensor that better detects breathing rate in hospital patients, an app to help pregnant women monitor hypertension and another that directs patients with minor injuries to treatment units with the shortest queues are among the latest innovations set to be spread across the NHS.

Eleven ground-breaking projects are being backed in the latest round of NHS England’s programme to develop and spread pioneering ideas, equipment and technology that have the potential to save lives as well as millions of pounds.

The 15 NHS Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN) will promote their adoption across the NHS.

Included in this new, third round of the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) programme are:

  • RespiraSense: A wireless device that measures breathing through chest and abdomen movements delivering highly accurate, continuous data. This might aid the early detection of and more effective treatment of conditions such as Sepsis and Pneumonia as well as Cardiac Arrest.
  • Home monitoring of hypertension in pregnancy (HaMpton): Allows pregnant women at risk of pre-eclampsia to input blood pressure readings and urine test results into an app, then answer a set of questions to help identify the condition. The app links with a hospital computer system where the data can be monitored by clinicians in real time.
  • WaitLess: An app that shows patients with minor injuries where they can go to access the quickest treatment, using real time waiting times and traffic/travel information.
  • Provides patients with clinically accurate urine analysis from home in a matter of minutes, helping to identify Chronic Kidney Disease and UTIs as well as pre-eclampsia in pregnant women. Patients perform a dipstick test at home and then, using the app, take a picture of the dipstick against a special backing. The analysis is then sent through the app directly to the patient’s doctor for diagnosis.

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: “Modern medicine is on the cusp of a huge shift in how care is delivered, and practical innovations like these show how NHS patients will now directly benefit. More tests and patient monitoring will be done at home or on the move, without the need to pitch up to a doctors appointment or hospital outpatients.”

Ian Dodge, National Director for Strategy and Innovation at NHS England, said: “Since it started the NHS Innovation Accelerator has continued to deliver for patients and the taxpayer. It’s just one of the ways that the NHS is getting its act together to provide practical help for innovators with the best ideas. From a small investment, we are already seeing very big benefits – safer care for patients, better value for taxpayers, new jobs created and export wins.”

Mike Hannay, Chair of the NHS AHSN Network, said: “As a national NHS AHSN Network we remain committed to supporting the NIA to ensure that as many residents, patients and staff as possible can access these innovations, which support primary care and urgent and emergency care needs. We look forward to working with the new Fellows over the coming months to deliver these innovations at scale across the country.”

In addition to the NIA, NHS England has opened an Innovation Technology Payment system (developed from the Innovation Technology Tariff) to help NHS organisations quickly spread new innovations. The first group of supported technologies will be announced next year.