Empowering people and optimising services through digital care pathways: key regional and national learning from musculoskeletal and gastroenterology Adoption Fund projects.

Innovation Collaborative Case Study

A new case study explores how health and care teams across England are transforming services for people living with some of the country’s most prevalent, chronic health conditions through digital innovation.

Seven teams share their experiences of enabling and scaling digital projects to support people living with either a gastroenterology-related or musculoskeletal (MSK) condition.

Along with 16 other Integrated Care System (ICS) projects, they were supported as by NHS England’s Adoption Fund in 2021/22 to enhance personalised choices around care, service access and self-management.

The legacy of this work means a rising number of people are being supported to safely manage their condition from the comfort of home, while local and national decision-makers have a new level of evidence-based insight to help them optimise services.

NHS England Lived Experience Ambassador Mark Agathangelou, who lives with chronic pain and played a key role in the Adoption Fund programme, said: “I was excited to be involved in this work because it’s pioneering new ways of working that can transform the way in which care is delivered.

“People can be supported to have better lives, manage their conditions, get their treatment more efficiently and potentially massively change the way in which they experience healthcare.”

The case study has been released in partnership with the NHS National Innovation Collaborative for digital health, a learning and support network for health and care professionals across the country who are delivering local technology-enabled services to support people at home and in communities.

Regional teams featured in the study are Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Humber Coast and Vale Integrated Care System, Sussex Integrated Care System (ICS), Gloucestershire Integrated Care System, Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Integrated Care System.

Of the 10 projects awarded funding for gastroenterology pathways, two focused on providing digital support to help people effectively prepare for their procedure, with the majority awaiting a colonoscopy.

Digital educational tools and prompts like text reminders aimed to support patients with effective bowel preparation, which if not done correctly can lead to a more difficult or even cancelled procedure.

A further eight projects aimed to offer a digital service to people living with inflammatory bowel disease, including offering patients the option of carrying out a faecal calprotectin test at home, with test results received within hours. Each chose to use the CalproSmart home test and Ampersand MyIBDCare app and results portal.

In Manchester, Karen and her team built scoring systems into the app to support effective monitoring and triage.

She said: “Our project’s care navigator was taught how to interpret the scores prior to the service going live and we also created an implementation book for staff, so they understood the service and in particular the role of the navigator.”

Improving patient experience was also a major motivation for IBD Nurse Consultant Karen, who explained how prior to applying to the fund, her team in Manchester, based at the city’s acute trust, had already been exploring the concept of patient-initiated follow-ups (PIFU), the potential of home calprotectin kits, and trialling free versions of home testing apps.

She said: “We were never able to pull all three things together, so the funding gave us the opportunity to put what we were trying to do into practice. It meant we could move the service forward for the benefit of our patients while also maintaining the safety of our patients.

Explore this case study and hear from other contributors by clicking on the link here.

Health and care professionals are encouraged to join the Innovation Collaborative to access more inspirational case studies about local teams like those in Greater Manchester, alongside best practice, resources and shared learning.

To request to join visit: future.nhs.uk/InnovationCollaborative

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