Case studies

Anne Bruinvels – OWise breast cancer

Anne joins the NIA from the Netherlands, where OWise, a mobile app and website continues to be very useful to both clinician and patients alike.

OWise was developed to support patients and their physicians during breast cancer treatment.  Using the mobile app or website, patients can record their experiences in real time, for example side effects and overall quality of life. Patients can also receive information about their condition and wellbeing as well as helpful tips on topics to discuss with their doctor. This empowers patients and helps creating a platform for personalised treatment.

OWise in the NIA

The NIA is facilitating Anne’s efforts to improve patient experience and patient-doctor dialogue by making OWise available to breast cancer patients and clinicians across the UK.

Through the NIA, Anne is working on two aims: to build relationships with clinicians, clinical networks and patient organisations in order to help patients navigate their personalised and often complex cancer treatment, and to investigate the fully anonymised patient-reported data with a view to improving the clinical outcomes of cancer.

Patient testimonial

“When I received the diagnosis of breast cancer my world was turned upside down. In addition to treatment plans, examinations and results there was so much anguish and sadness. OWise creates order in this chaos and keeps it that way. It is truly a fantastic support!”

Innovator testimonial

“We want to help breast cancer patients in the UK regain a sense of control and improve their treatment experience. Using OWise creates an environment during treatment that is both beneficial to the patient and clinician, and we want to ensure that this tool is available to help everyone who needs it. The NIA has introduced me to key stakeholders who would have been much harder to reach on my own.”

Ben Underwood – Brush DJ

Ben, a York based NHS general dental practitioner has a passion for oral hygiene. His innovative offering is Brush DJ, the only evidence based, free to download NHS approved app of its kind.

Primarily aimed at children and young people, Brush DJ plays two minutes of the user’s favourite music, making teeth brushing an enjoyable. This will help children adopt good oral hygiene from a young age and help prevent a number of dental diseases like tooth decay.

Brush DJ in the NIA

Through the NIA Ben is collaborating with NHS England and Public Health England to make sure all communications channels are used – and that as many people as possible learn about Brush DJ and eventually use it.

So far, there have been over 230,000 downloads in the UK and abroad, with almost 140,000 video views within the app.  An updated version of the app was introduced earlier this year

Brush DJ has amassed a following on social media and been featured in national press including the Daily Mirror and the Telegraph.

User testimonial

“Brush DJ takes the battle out of reminding my daughters to keep on top of their oral hygiene and makes it fun for them. It’s a useful app to use as part of your oral hygiene routine.

I routinely recommend Brush DJ to my own patients. It not only benefits children, it may also encourage adults to take better care of their teeth. It can help adults remember to floss as the app will indicate when this needs to be done. I see lots of patients who clean their teeth thoroughly but are missing areas only flossing can reach.”

Innovator testimonial

“Being one of the inaugural NIA fellows has helped me to scale Brush DJ at a far greater pace in to the NHS than would have been possible, by reducing the barriers in the health system that can face SMEs. It’s been amazing to see the progress we’ve made already, and I know that the lessons I’ve learned from the NIA so far will help me to secure the growth and development of the app for the future.”

Dharmesh Kapoor – EPISCISSORS-60

The EPISCISSORS-60 is an innovation by Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Bournemouth, Dharmesh Kapoor.

His innovation, a patented fixed angle scissors, takes away human error in estimating episiotomy angles during childbirth. This reduces the risk of complications associated with standard practice episiotomies which can cause obstetric anal sphincter muscle injuries and have a devastating impact on the quality of a new mother’s life.


Dharmesh’s ambition is for all NHS hospitals to use the EPISCISSORS-60 to improve outcomes for women across the country in need of an episiotomy during labour. Croydon University Hospital has taken part in assessing the impact of the EPISCISSORS for its patients.

15 trusts have adopted the EPISCISSORS and through a partnership with the Department of Health, the EPISCISSORS-60 is on the NHS Supply Chain- a national provider of products to the NHS.

Francis White – AliveCor’s Kardia

AliveCor’s Kardia™ Mobile is the world’s first mobile ECG that can instantly analyse and interpret heart recordings. The aim of AliveCor is to identify paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF), a leading cause of stroke.
Kardia™ Mobile is embedded in the case of any smart phone (Apple or Android), allowing the user to capture a recording of their heart anytime, anywhere. Using the Kardia™ app, results are analysed on the spot, and can be shared with a doctor for an instant diagnosis.

Francis hopes the NIA will help make Kardia™ available to NHS patients across the UK.

AliveCor’s Kardia™ in the NIA

AliveCor’s Kardia™ is one of 11 innovations being tested within the Care City Test Bed project in north east London – which will help evaluate the impact of the device within a population of over a million people.

A number of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have purchased Kardia™ for the enhanced diagnosis of AF for local people.

The experience of these organisations will help others to understand the impact of using Kardia™ and how it can help to move the pathway for AF diagnosis out of hospitals and into the community – as well as getting a diagnosis to patients as soon as possible.

Patient testimonial

I purchased my first AliveCor device in January 2015 and won my second device in February 2016 in the #loveyourheart photographic competition run by AliveCor on social media, so now have one for both my iPhone and iPad.  I love my AliveCor and can’t praise it highly enough, it’s so quick and easy to use and always close to hand.  Since having my AliveCor I feel in control and very reassured, before I had my device it was so hard trying to explain to medical staff how I felt and what was happening when I was having an atrial fibrillation episode.  Every time I wore a holter monitor my heart was on its best behaviour so my episodes were never caught by the hospital, having the AliveCor to capture my episodes as they happened was fantastic!  My electrophysiologist and arrhythmia nurse are really impressed with the device as I am now able to print my recordings and show them what is happening to my heart during Atrial Fibrillation.

Innovator testimonial

“The connections and insights I’ve gained through the NIA have allowed me to unlock the complex NHS primary care system. This will allow us to bring Kardia™ Mobile to more patients much more quickly.

I’ve been amazed by the commitment of the NHS to adopting innovation. In particular the Academic Health Science Networks, which are able to provide regional support, advice, and connections exactly where we need them.”

Patients Know Best – Lloyd Humphreys

Patients Know Best is an innovation that allows patients to hold all their medical information in a single record which they directly control.

This single record puts the patient at the centre of their care, empowering their health network and challenging traditional models of care. If a patient chooses, they can invite anyone they wish to their profile, construct a strong and comprehensive care network best suited to them, made up of diverse clinical teams and friends and family able to support at-home care.

Patients Know Best in the NIA

Since becoming part of the NIA, Patients Know Best has been taken up by over 80 sites – with many others showing an interest in adopting this innovation at a regional and national level to connect organisations around the patient.

Being part of the NIA has helped Lloyd engage with NHS Digital (formerly Health and Social Care Information Centre HSCIC) and the digital team at NHS England, exploring the use of Personal Health Records and managing consent to share information across organisations, geographical boundaries and putting the patient in control of who sees their medical information.

Patient testimonial

St Mark’s Hospital

“Very few doctors properly understand my condition so going to an unfamiliar medical team can be terrifying. I can have a severe and potentially life threatening reaction to everyday drugs. With Patients Know Best, it’s very reassuring that I can reach my entire medical team anywhere in the world – this makes me feel far more independent. Through Patients Know Best, I’m effectively carrying my entire medical history with me wherever I go in the world – and that’s very reassuring.”

Innovator testimonial

“I have been delighted to be involved with the NIA programme and it has provided a wealth of opportunities to engage with senior stakeholders and decision makers to highlight the importance of putting the patient at the very centre of their healthcare.

Being able to showcase the technology, and both inform and be informed by challenges to implementing innovative solutions, has been fundamental to the growth and adoption of Patients Know Best.”

Non-injectable arterial connector (NIC) – Maryanne Mariyaselvam

Maryanne, a Clinical Research Fellow at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn and at Cambridge University Hospitals, Cambridge and currently undertaking a Doctorate at the University of Cambridge in Patient Safety in the NHS brings the NIC innovation.

The Non-Injectable Arterial Connector (NIC) improves the safety of all patients requiring an arterial line in operating theatres and intensive care by preventing wrong route drug administration.

Although it does not happen often, if medication is accidentally given to a patient via the wrong route, there is potential risk of damage to a patient’s blood vessel and surrounding tissue and in extreme circumstances surgical amputation. The NIC is a definitive solution to the problem.

Non-injectable arterial connector (NIC) in the NIA

Since joining the NIA, the NIC has been adopted by thirteen trusts up from five. The NIA has help Maryanne to move from a single trust approach to national level with support from Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across the country.

Clinical testimonial

Of more than 250 clinicians that have used the NIC, our survey results have shown 98% of health care staff believed it was important to have a device that prevented wrong route drug administration and prevent arterial line infections. 28% of respondents said they have personally seen adverse events in their routine clinical practice when using standard arterial lines in the past and 93% believe these would have been prevented had the NIC been in use. 96.5% of staff said the NIC allows increased identification of the arterial line and more than 80% said that the NIC was easy to learn and use and is compatible with standard arterial line equipment. 81% wanted to use the connector after the study was completed and they felt that this was due to both ease of use and to promote patient safety.

Innovator testimonial

“Adoption of the NIC across the NHS has started to gain a real momentum now and it’s fantastic to see so many trusts adopting new practice and using innovation to improve patient safety. The NIA programme has been fundamental in our success over the last few months, opening doors and providing national level support for my project.  At a regional level, AHSNs are a valuable partner, ensuring that local organisations have access to the newest ideas.”

Liver disease diagnostic pathway – Neil Guha

Liver disease is on the rise, and is now the fifth largest killer in the UK. Currently, 50% of new diagnoses of liver cirrhosis occur after emergency admission to hospital.

Neil is a Clinical Associate Professor in Hepatology, University of Nottingham and Consultant Hepatologist, at Nottingham University Hospitals and his innovation aims to deal with this issue by identifying patients at risk at an earlier stage.

Neil has co-developed a diagnostic pathway to detect significant but asymptomatic chronic liver disease at the critical stage at which it can either progress or reverse. The pathway combines both the identification of patients at risk of chronic liver diseases and the use of proven diagnostic tests to detect and treat the risk.  It aims to provide a seamless pathway between primary and secondary care.

Liver disease diagnostic pathway in the NIA

The NIA has helped Neil test the diagnosis pathway in Nottingham and Leicester and hopes to expand it across the rest of the East Midlands and eventually nationally. The pilot area covers a population of over 25,000 patients and is supported by the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for the next two years

Patient testimonial

“Taking part in this project changed my life and continues to do so. It enabled me to take to control of my life once again after a period of alcohol dependency. The whole process has had a positive effect on myself and my family. Find it hard to say how lucky I feel to have taken part in the project. A real game changer for me!”

Innovator testimonial

“The early detection of liver disease represents an important aspect in reversing premature and unnecessary deaths from liver disease. With support from partnership organisations including CCGs, Public Health East Midlands and the Academic Health Science Network we are trying to change pathways of care and make fundamental changes to how we manage liver disease in the UK.”

Health Coaching – Penny Newman

Health Coaching is a training programme for clinicians to help people with long term conditions (LTCs). It aims to help people with LTCs to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to become more active participants in their care, reach self-identified goals and adopt more healthy behaviours. It is a person-centred process and widely applicable to all long-term conditions, covering prevention, decision making, self-management and medication compliance.

Health Coaching in the NIA

Since becoming a fellow of the NIA, Penny has secured £500,000 of funding from an AHSN partner to roll out Health Coaching across the east of England and nationally.  Around 3,200 clinicians have been trained or scheduled for Health Coach training, including 60 local trainers.

On a national scale, Health Coaching is creating a social movement powered by clinicians and staff through workshops, toolkit development with 18 organisations, online communities and the support of two Academic Health Science Networks, which should see the programme rolled out across two regions.

Patient testimonial

“Health Coaching has enabled myself and my son (with cystic fibrosis) to find ways of managing his relentless treatment regime, without the negative baggage which comes with ‘telling,’ someone what to do. Health Coaching isn’t something to be feared. It isn’t a luxury or an extravagance. It’s the only option for positive, humane health and care relationships.”

Innovator testimonial

“Evidence and feedback from clinicians from all professions point to the real benefits from using these simple but powerful communication techniques to help patients help themselves. This way patient/clinician conversations are more fulfilling, and better value, as patients become inspired and empowered to change behaviour to meet goals important to them”.

PneuX – Peter Young

Peter is a proven innovator having developed ten devices, three of which have been brought to market. His innovation on the NIA programme is the PneuX Pneumonia Prevention System, which is designed to stop ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), the leading cause of hospital-acquired mortality in Intensive Care Units.

The innovation is a cuffed ventilation tube and an electronic cuff monitoring and inflating device which prevents leakage of bacterial laden oral and stomach contents to the lung – a problem associated with standard tubes.

PneuX in the NIA

Since the joining the NIA, PneuX has enjoyed a successful trial with New Cross hospital in Birmingham.  This included an economic evaluation, which demonstrated a saving of £718 per patient who received treatment with the PneuX.

Peter’s ambition is to build a culture change across the NHS, so that it is universally understood that any bacteria entering the lungs as a result of the use of a ventilator, is unacceptable.

Clinical testimonial

“We are hugely impressed with the direct benefits to patient safety, through avoidable harm and improving outcomes.  We urge health care providers and organisations to review their specifications and policy to ensure the system is adopted as best practice.  From a patient’s perspective, this is an opportunity that cannot be ignored” T Fernandes; Co Chair East of England Citizen’s Senate.

myCOPD – Simon Bourne

myCOPD is an integrated online education, self-management, symptom reporting and pulmonary rehabilitation system to help people with COPD manage their condition more effectively. It is available on any device that can connect the internet and delivers a personalised COPD management system by asking patients a few key questions about their condition.

Clinicians are provided with a dashboard, geographical population map view, education and patient management suite to allow them to monitor and manage their patients remotely. For example; analyse COPD exacerbations, tailor treatments and support. The platform is has shown to correct 98%of inhaler errors without any other clinical intervention, resulting in an improvement to quality of life.

myCOPD in the NIA

Working with the NIA, Simon hopes to secure uptake of myCOPD by least 11 CCGs during the year of the programme.

A number of CCGs are interested in implementing myCOPD for their patients and a few are in set up phase. North Lincolnshire have purchased licenses for 15% of their COPD population and a trust in Scotland has ordered myCOPD licenses for patients discharged from hospital.

Patient testimonial

“I have used myCOPD for nine months, I use it every day. Last year, before using myCOPD I had 12 exacerbations, this year I have had just two. I now know when and how to take my medication, when to use my rescue pack and perform my rehab exercises most days. I know far more about my COPD than before. I only got my rescue pack of antibiotics and steroids because I have been using this app; and I asked my doctor for them. I now call, and rely on my doctor far less than ever before.”

Innovator testimonial

The opportunity to work with the NIA team, leaders from NHS England and mentors has been invaluable. We have seen the huge difference this makes when approaching CCGs and clinicians to have our product endorsed to help deliver the commitments within the NHS Five Year Forward View.’’