Medipex 2014 Awards inject momentum into region's innovations

The Medipex Innovation Awards have been running annually for over a decade, providing a platform to showcase pioneering new ideas and technologies developed by NHS staff to improve patient care and make services more efficient.

Winners in the 2014 competition have now returned to their host organisations and had chance to reflect on the impact of winning one of our prestigious trophies and the associated prize money. Five of the winners agreed to give an update on the progress of their project and what winning the award meant to them.

Robin Howes (Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust), joint winner in the Software & Telehealth category developed an online system to enable key information to be shared quickly and easily across a hospital; enabling improved patient care and more effective discharge processes. Since winning, the project has received increased resource from the Trust to allow expansion and the development of a mobile platform. Robin says:

“Winning our category at the 2014 Medipex awards, was very unexpected, but we were inundated by congratulations from the organisations we knew and had worked with. As regards opening doors for the team, we could not have asked for more. Suddenly we were taken much more seriously.”

Darren Treanor (Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust), winner of the Medical Devices & Diagnostics category developed the Leeds Virtual Microscope (LVM) which enables clinicians to view digital pathology images more easily on computer screens to allow more accurate diagnosis, more efficient teaching and faster access to second opinions where required. Since winning, the project has attracted further funding to allow dissemination across the region and attracted some interesting commercial propositions:

“The award has increased the profile of our project locally and across the region. Following the award, we’ve been successful in obtaining funding to deploy the LVM across the hospitals of Yorkshire in collaboration with the Yorkshire Deanery. The LVM will be used as a training tool for pathologists across the region”

Nick Rowe (York St John University) and Jill Copeland (Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust), joint winners of the Mental Health and Wellbeing category collaborated to establish ‘Converge’, a project which offers short courses for people who use mental health services to help them develop confidence, improve their life skills and reduce social exclusion. Nick reports:

“Winning the Medipex Award has been very important to us. It has raised our profile and given people greater confidence in our approach. With this greater confidence and with the help of the prize money, we are developing new courses and involving more participants.  A recent Care Quality Commission Report commented on the excellent partnership that Converge has developed with Leeds and York Partnership NHS Trust. We are very grateful to Medipex for their belief in our work”

Jane Archer (York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), joint winner in the Secondary Care category developed a programme to help cancer patients rebuild their lives after their formal treatment is completed. The four day course helps people to manage their fear of recurrence, fatigue, diet, sexual concerns and to pick the right level of physical activity and plan for the future. Jane now reports that the project continues with a further 4 events taking place in the region. Development of a DVD is also underway using the prize money to ensure a wider number of patients are able to benefit from the programme. Jane comments:

“We are delighted to have won this award, it has really invigorated our efforts and has given us a higher platform on which to promote the support that we offer to families post treatment. Aside from this, it was a great personal achievement for the small team of colleagues that have been working on this relentlessly for the last few years. It was a fantastic evening at the awards ceremony and a lovely chance to get to know each other 'out of work' too”

Alex Bates (Yorkshire & Humber Commissioning Support), winner of the GP & Primary Care category developed a tool to help commissioners and GPs make sense of the huge array of clinical guidelines for diagnosis and treatment. He feels that winning the award has added the necessary gravitas to push his project forward and comments:

"Since winning the Medipex Innovation Award, the CSU were finally able to dedicate analyst resources to the project for a sustained period of time. The initial project was quite 'reactive' - it looked at GPs' historic behaviour and tried to identify which GPs were likely to be over- or under-referring. Now the project has developed into something 'predictive', which CCGs tell us is far more useful - using the same datasets combined with demographic projections from the CCG to estimate where disease 'hotspots' are likely to form in the next five to ten years, and what their cause is likely to be. This is really important to commissioners, because knowing if COPD referrals are likely to significantly increase by 2020 because of a combination of demographic pressures and clinician behaviour means that the CCG can quickly and cheaply prevent this from happening by intensively targeting educational resources at the at-risk practices and know that there is no risk of negatively affecting patient care elsewhere. Since winning the award, the original two CCGs the project targeted have ballooned into six more, which would have been impossible without the kick-start from Medipex"

Our 2015 Medipex Innovation Awards and Showcase competition is now launched. For further details, please go to: http://www.medipex.co.uk/events/nhs-innovation-awards-2015/

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