NHS Test Beds programme

Successful Wave 2 Test Beds

The Test Bed Programme brings NHS organisations and industry partners together to test combinations of digital technologies with pathway redesign in real-world settings.  The goal is to use the potential of digital technologies to positively transform the way in which healthcare is delivered for patients and carers.

We are delighted to announce seven Wave 2 Test Beds that will be testing a new set of innovations to tackle some top health and care challenges.  Over £2 million is being provided by NHS England to support interventions aimed at improving the management of diabetes and over £5 million is being provided by Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and OLS to support interventions in other priority areas.

The sites receiving funding from government are:

  • Care City in London, which is bringing together market-ready diagnostics, smartphone applications and management tools to support patients with long-term conditions;
  • East Midlands Radiology Consortium (EMRAD), which is using artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve breast cancer screening;
  • Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, who will be providing patients with access to their digital health records with the aim of reducing missed appointments and duplication of clinical activity; and
  • Royal Stoke University Hospital, who will be using new market-ready digital technologies to coordinate community-based clinical interventions for patients with heart failure, to reduce hospital re-admissions.

Sites focused on self-management of diabetes and being funded by NHS England are:

  • Greater Manchester Strategic Clinical Networks, who will be testing a one-stop digital platform (MyDiabetesMyWay) designed to help people self-manage their condition more effectively;
  • South West London Health and Care Partnership, who will be using a combination of new technologies to empower patients to take control of managing their condition; and
  • North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG, who will be using digital solutions embedded within existing diabetes pathways in primary care to provide structured, ongoing self-management support for lifestyle change.

Delivery of the Wave 2 Test Beds will begin in autumn 2018.

Our ambitious Test Beds programme is bringing together innovators, industry and the NHS to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the NHS, including diabetes.

Testing multiple cutting-edge technologies – from AI to wearable sensors – in a real-world setting, allows us to discover what works for patients and will provide the evidence needed to accelerate the use of world leading interventions as part of the long term plan for the NHS.”

Dr Sam Roberts, Director of Innovation,
Research and Life Sciences at NHS England

NHS Test Beds programme – initial impact and next steps

Hear what to expect with Wave 2 of the Test Beds programme, and the difference Wave 1 has made to patients, carers, clinicians and innovators involved.

Wave 2 competition

The competition to select a new set of Test Beds was launched in March 2018.

  • Over 700 people attended the Wave 2 collaboration events, connecting innovators with the NHS to explore setting up new partnerships
  • Over 8000 connections were made between industry and NHS organisations
  • Over 75 applications were submitted, resulting in the selection of 7 sites, with over 30 collaborators from across England

Wave 2 Test Beds

DHSC funded Test Beds

Project Title Lead Organisation Location Project Aims
Transforming how we find, treat and manage long-term conditions Care City London To bring together market-ready diagnostics, smartphone applications and management tools to support patients with long-term conditions.

Specifically, the site wants to overcome the key barriers in the adoption of these new technologies amongst i) patients, ii) staff and iii) organisational systems, by empowering junior members of the workforce to support staff and patients in their use.

Capacity, Confidence, Care – Using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to support Breast Screening East Midlands Radiology Consortium (EMRAD) East Midlands To test an AI-tool developed specifically for breast cancer screening. This will help radiologists and breast units deliver a more accurate and efficient screening service, reducing unnecessary recalls and biopsies, saving the NHS significant costs, and cutting anxiety for patients.

It will also test the use of AI tools to streamline operational aspects of the service, to ensure clinics and screenings are scheduled in the best way. In the longer-term, the project aims to develop new models for the safe and trusted use of AI across the NHS.

Developing a Schedule for Unscheduled Care Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust London Patients will be given access to their health record, i.e. the scheduling of their appointments, the visibility of their waiting times, and the remote reporting of their health status. The aim is to reduce missed appointments and the duplication of clinical activity.

The initial focus will be on specific urgent care pathways in cardiology and maternity, with a view to spreading effective interventions to new clinical pathways, integrations (including 111) and areas across the country.

Listening to messages from heart failure patients Royal Stoke University Hospital Stoke To help reduce hospital (and specifically A&E) admissions for patients with chronic long-term heart failure (HF). The project will combine three new market-ready digital technologies to coordinate community-based clinical interventions with patients who report deteriorating symptoms (before they require a hospital admission).

It will also enhance patient knowledge and ability to safely ‘self-care’, via the targeted distribution of bespoke patient-education materials and referrals to appropriate third-sector services.

NHS England funded diabetes Test Beds

Project Title Lead Organisation Location Project Aims
South London Diabetes Test Bed South West London Health and Care Partnership London To change the dynamics of health management by empowering patients to take control of managing their condition. Using a combination of technology to create a more meaningful product, transcending patient and professionals’ needs.
Supported Self-Management for People with Type 2 Diabetes in Primary Care North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG North East Hampshire To provide structured, ongoing self-management support for lifestyle change delivered using digital solutions embedded within existing diabetes pathways in primary care.
GM Diabetes My Way Greater Manchester Strategic Clinical Networks Greater Manchester To test a one-stop digital platform (MyDiabetesMyWay) designed to help people self-manage their condition more effectively and provide education on how to do this.

Sharing learning from Wave 1 of the Test Beds programme

The seven Test Beds from Wave 1 of the programme pioneered learning on how to set up data sharing and information governance arrangements, as well as evaluations of real world innovations. Their experiences have been captured in learning handbooks so that future Test Beds and the wider health and care system can benefit from their learning.

Information governance learning handbook

Information governance is a key enabler which supports effective sharing and management of information in the NHS. Establishing and maintaining information governance arrangements is a crucial part of the set-up and successful operation of digital innovation projects like Test Beds. The Test Beds programme team has produced a handbook which is designed to support projects like the Test Beds which implement combinations of digital technology and pathway redesign in order to improve patient outcomes.  The information governance learning handbook is relevant for programme leaders, project managers and information governance staff working on similar projects and will enable them to:

  • Understand common information governance challenges, like those faced by Wave 1 Test Beds, and benefit from their learning
  • Plan information governance activity across a project’s lifespan
  • Access tools and guidance that can support their work

Evaluation learning from Wave 1

Evaluation is a core component of the Test Beds Programme. Evaluation is critical to gather evidence on the outcomes that innovations produce, as well as understanding how to replicate these outcomes in other settings.

The Test Beds programme team has produced an evaluation handbook which is designed to support evaluation of projects which combine digital technology with pathway redesign in order to improve patient outcomes. The evaluation handbook is designed to support a future wave of Test Bed programme directors, healthcare programme commissioners and other Test Bed project staff to:

  • Understand common evaluation challenges faced by the initial Wave 1 Test Beds and benefit from their learning
  • Plan similar evaluation activity and access tools and guidance that can support their work