A decade ago, we launched Inhealthcare with the ambition of helping to solve some of the biggest challenges facing the UK health service. We saw how technology could free clinicians from mundane tasks to spend more time caring for patients and empower people with long-term conditions to look after themselves.
Ten years later, Inhealthcare has turned this vision into reality and now delivers digital health, remote monitoring and virtual ward services across the UK, benefiting more than two million patients to date.
Our technologies are tried, tested and proven with evaluation for the Scottish government showing we improve access to NHS services and can be safely rolled out to help other patients.
We are looking forward to showcasing some of these services at Digital Scotland 2022, the annual conference for public sector technology professionals.
When we started in 2012, the digital health industry was virtually non-existent. Telehealth, as it was called, was based on expensive pieces of hardware, which in many cases doctors were reluctant to refer to patients.
In one well-publicised account, 2,000 high-tech devices bought by an NHS organisation were written off as worthless after the bulk of GPs showed little interest in using them.
To us, the underlying problem was simple: the approach was too focused on the equipment, rather than the patient.
With our experience and expertise in cloud computing, Inhealthcare doubled down on designing services around the needs of the individual.
We are proud to have pioneered the design of digital health services with a choice of communication channels, giving people without a smartphone or broadband the ability to manage long-term conditions at home via the traditional telephone landline.
We launched the Inhealthcare Toolkit, which helps NHS organisations to design, deliver and deploy health and care services at a fraction of the cost, and landmark contract wins followed soon after.
Covid changed everything, turbocharging the take-up of digital health and remote monitoring services.
They were no longer a “nice to have” for some parts of the health service but essential for providing care in a time of social distancing.
Doctors and nurses quickly embraced new ways of working as the health system went through an accelerated process of change.
During the pandemic, Inhealthcare worked with the NHS to roll out quickly one of the first examples of a virtual ward, bringing life-saving care to more than 25,000 people and helping to reduce intensive care admissions and cut the length of hospital stays.
Clinicians are using the same infrastructure to set up virtual wards and help patients self-manage other conditions including hypertension, COPD, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, depression, malnutrition and cancer.
As a business, we have continued to grow and develop and earlier this year NHS Scotland confirmed Inhealthcare as the successful bidder for a contract to support the scaling up and mainstreaming of remote monitoring services across Scotland.
Again, it builds on services deployed during the pandemic. An evaluation for the Scottish Government found that patients had positive experiences of using the services and staff felt supported and engaged.
The evaluation indicated the services contributed to increased self-management among patients, improved resource efficiency and – importantly – reduced health inequalities with more than twice as many people from disadvantaged areas using the system.
What’s next? We are developing new products such as continuous monitoring technology to support the expansion of virtual wards, a “data lake” for operational and strategic insights and a pioneering new service to improve the flow of information between different parts of the health and care system.
In other words, helping to solve some of the biggest challenges facing the UK health service.