Chairman of NHS Digital visits Leeds

Following on from the successful visit from Matt Hancock MP - Secretary of State for Health and Social Care - back in October, the reputation of Leeds as a leader in healthcare innovation continues to gather pace and attract attention. Earlier today, ODI Leeds was host to Noel Gordon, the Chairman of NHS Digital. Accompanying him were other non-executive members of the NHS Digital Board and/or additional health steering groups - Sudhesh Kumar, Rob Tinlin MBE, John Noble, Deborah Oakley, Balram Veliath, Sarah Wilkinson, Daniel Benton, Joanne Shaw, Dame Moira Gibb, Laura Wade-Gery, Jacquie White. Their visit to Leeds was to see first-hand the collaborative environment that makes the city a hotspot for advancing healthcare innovation.

A warm reception - tea and coffee to combat the cold snap - awaited them, after which Alastair Walling (Chief Clinical Information Officer for Leeds) and Tom Riordan (Chief Executive for Leeds City Council) began with an outline of the day and reinforced the city's place as a hive of energy for creating people-centred health care solutions. Tom was keen to emphasise how important integrated care - a system of coordinated health, care, and support that is person-centred and tailored to the individual - was not just for Leeds but also for the NHS. Opportunities for working with open-minded partners and co-developing digital solutions was the key to success.

Noel Gordon and the other board members were then introduced to people from the health-tech scene in Leeds. Each organisation had a 'station' set up in our innovation space, where they were able to demonstrate services, apps, physical devices, and more.

Station 1: Paul Connell, ODI Leeds
The power of open data, embracing a 'radically open' approach and why that leads to a surplus of potential that creates an environment for innovation.

Station 2: Nick Parker & Phil Barrett, Helm
The Yorkshire and Humber Open Platform based Person Held Record forms part of the Y&H Local Health & Care Exemplar programme. It will link professionals and integrate citizens as active participants in their own care.

Station 3: Alastair Cartwright, City Digital Partnerships
Tele-dermatology fully implemented innovative primary to secondary care clinical service based on NHS free WiFi and mobile devices. Physical demonstration of a digital dermatology tool that works in tandem with a smart-phone camera, allowing images to be taken and sent over wi-fi.

Station 4: Jonathan Hindley, Advanced Health Improvement Specialist, Careview
An innovative way of identifying social isolation to enable community and locality based services to do targeted interventions. Giving non-health professionals and community members (i.e. the people who regularly visit neighbourhoods, like postal workers) the ability to help identify the vulnerable members of their community, perhaps spotting health issues before they become serious.

Station 5: Suzanne Morton, Leeds City Council/Leeds Beckett University, Samsung/Activage
Home based IoT Demonstrator for up to 1000 older people, helping the elderly better understand their oen health and stay active.

Station 7: Dr Victoria Betton, Co>Space North
An innovation space creating a focal point for a vibrant digital health and tech for good community that brings industry together with patients, citizens, practitioners and academics.

Station 8: Stephen Blackburn, Smart Leeds | Jason Tutin and Amy Hearn, 100% Digital Leeds
Smart Cities work and cross-over with Health and Wellbeing, and how Leeds is delivering its ambition to get 100% of people digitally literate especially those with most needs. Biggest tablet lending scheme and use of community assets. The impact of digital inclusion has far-reaching impact beyond simply 'being online', unlocking more opportunities for the vulnerable of society to use online services to help manage their own wellbeing.

A brief interlude for another brew before moving onto the final talk of the morning about population health management in Leeds, which takes a 'whole system' approach and draws in data from multiple sources. In particular, Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group developed the 'Leeds Data Model', which it uses in combination with the population health management data to support strategic commissioning decisions. With the ability for this level of detailed analysis, the next step is to give doctors, clinicians, etc, an accessible way of using the data. This is where RAIDR comes in. Based on popular 'dashboard' platforms, it allows for doctors to create customisable search terms and find the vulnerable people within their care that could benefit from focused care. A new sub-tool of RAIDR - Urgent and Emergency Care - was launched in Leeds Teaching Hospitals in December 2018, allowing for the live viewing of available beds, ambulances, emergency calls/demand, etc.

Leeds has already established itself as a leader in healthcare: the Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust is one of the biggest in the UK, and is one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe. Leeds has also made a name for itself in tech and digital: hosting one of the largest digital festivals in the UK and being home to a fast growing digital industry. The solutions demonstrated today, just a sample of the many amazing innovations happening right now in the city, are evidence that Leeds is now taking the next step - bringing digital and health together, leveraging the boundless potential of tech to improve the health and wellbeing of people. This is possible because the city has the right environment, the right people, and the right attitude. For example, NHS Digital joined us as a sponsor last year, ready to explore the data they already publish and ready to engage honestly with data users, activists, etc, to publish even more data. Their first innovation session with us - looking at the viability of synthetic data for sensitive A&E data - is coming up in March. The coming year looks exciting for the future of health. Get in touch if you'd like to join us.