The companies spearheading Scotland’s digital healthcare technology revolution
Firms at the forefront of delivering a better, more integrated form of care
Digital technology is transforming the way patient information is stored, analysed, shared, and used across the whole circle of care. From paperless patient records to managing the health of entire populations, technology is rapidly changing the way that healthcare is delivered.
Scotland has a strong cluster of companies developing specific software to replace paper health records. nugensis, for instance, provides data visualisation software to gather patient health data from a range of sources, making it easily accessible for the people who need it most. The software makes sharing and handing over care more efficient – cutting the time that people spend catching up, and keeping everyone updated on a single platformThere are also Glasgow-based companies like Cohesion and axSys that design software to improve clinical decision making – from tablet-based data entry during consultations,
to running detailed analytics and accessing complete patient medical history.
These products are developed alongside health boards in Scotland – bringing together the collaborative power of NHS Scotland with some of the country’s best IT specialists.
Using a mobile device to collect health data has applications beyond the ward. Cojengo, also based
in Glasgow, has developed an app designed to diagnose illness among livestock in remote rural areas. The app will allow vets and farmers in Kenya, for instance, to better monitor livestock – and react quickly when there’s a problem.
Here are some of the companies that are leading the way as health and social care systems become integrated, offering ever more personalised and targeted forms of care.
Priding itself on a customer-led approach, Nugensis tailors its products to each client’s specific needs. For example, WardView, an award-winning whiteboard application, was developed in response to the needs of Scottish health boards. It provides health professionals with real-time information on patient and bed status. By interfacing with existing hospital systems, it helps to reduce duplica- tion and the administrative burden on staff.
WardView is so effective that, after witnessing it in action, the Scottish Government actively sought extra funding for more hospitals to implement the system.
Ohmedics spun out from the Univer- sity of Strathclyde in 2009 to com- mercialise a unique sensor technology for wound care. The first product, WoundSenseTM, monitors moisture in wound dressings to allow a decision on the need for a dressing change without disturbing the dressing itself. WoundSenseTM is supplied as a sterile, single-use, disposable sensor suitable for use with any wound dressing and it is targeting the hospital, community healthcare and pharmacy sectors.
Scotland is an ideal base for Oh- medics in terms of the wide range of skills available in potential employees and the great research facilities available in the universities. In particular, the University of Strathclyde expertise in medical technology has been a vital support on its journey to market.
AxSys is a company that is based in Scotland and founded in 2000 by a husband and wife team of two doctors following a career spanning 20 years of clinical practice. The company developed a software platform that connects the healthcare environment so enabling patient care to be coordinated across specialties and clinical disciplines. This enables key clinical information to be shared be- tween the care team and patients in a timely manner. The software platform is architected in a way that diverse information can be collected from disparate sources, aggregated and stored in a semantically contextual manner within the framework of a health record. Smart functions that include a rules engine, alerts, analytics and decision support act on data elements stored within the platform to support quality and consistency of care delivered.
The platform was named “Excelicare” as a representation for “Promoting Excellence in Care”.
Cohesion Medical have designed a Psoriasis Clinic Database which is being used clinically at the Dermatology Department, Glasgow Western Infirmary by Professor Burden and his team to improve Patient-Treatment Outcomes and further clinical research in psoriasis.
Since deploying its software solution, the clinic’s consultants have been able to use the application for in-clinic purposes including fast data-entry consultations with patients and immediate data history viewing with graphical information display and many easy to use features. Staff can use the application at any time, regardless of location. Satellite clinic administration of patient records which was considerable is therefore virtually eliminated. This has lowered the hospital administration costs considerably.
A mobile phone app designed by a group of former Strathclyde University students is helping thousands of African farmers to diagnose diseases in their livestock.
The VetAfrica App, developed by Glasgow-based tech firm Cojengo, allows farmers to spot conditions that can blight cattle herds using just their smartphones.
Cojengo, which is being supported by Microsoft East Africa, has been able to roll out the app to thousands of farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and Rwanda.
Such is the take-up rate of the app among farming communities, the company is now working in partner- ship with Obi Mobiles, which distributes cheap but high spec smartphones across the developing world.
A new e-Document management system has now sent more than 100,000 patient records ‘from lab to doctor’ across Scotland’s regional NHS boards.
The Docman system – already widely used by GP practices to manage patient data – has been further developed to allow hospital test results to be transmitted directly onto GPs’ computer screens.
The system – developed by PCTI and managed in Scotland by Kilmarnock-based Microtech– cuts down on unnecessary paperwork, administration and reduces delay between testing and diagnosis.
Data is managed securely across the NHS’s N3 network – which has 3 million end users and more than 40,000 connections in England and Scotland.
Natalie Berry, Project Manager at Microtech, explains: “In a GP practice at the moment paper records
are all being manually scanned in, which takes time. Whereas with the electronic document management system, the hospital can send the data directly, and it’s a lot more secure as well, compared to sending a letter by mail.”