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New digital platform aims to use AI to change the face of chronic care

A University of Southampton student has unveiled a new care platform that aims to make chronic care faster, offer more support and cut the amount of admin for doctors.

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A new care platform: Doctors are sitting around in a circle at a table using tablets and notepads to discuss care management

A University of Southampton student has launched a new AI-driven health analytics platform. The platform aims to make it faster, simpler and safer for patients who need chronic care.

CareIQ will save time and money for clinicians while improving patients’ daily lives while making them feel more in control. It will help them to find better solutions for their needs. It is just one of eight promising start-ups from the University of Southampton aimed at making the world smarter, safer and more unsustainable.

The start-ups were unveiled at the Future Worlds Virtual Demo Day. It pitched the platform to several investors to help launch the idea into the global market.

The platform

CareIQ data analysis platform helps uncover clinical optimisations and tracks patient progress over long periods using existing data. Its collaborative care approach allows patients to share remote readings such as blood pressure to update their clinicians on their condition. AI monitoring then identifies at-risk patients to help prioritise care.

The startup is currently focusing on managing hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma. Through their web app for clinicians, they help manage the chronic population through built-in automation. It reduces the amount of admin that GPs need to do as it reads data and provides insight. This allows doctors to spend more time with patients giving advice rather than spending time on admin.

Read more: Study suggests long-term Covid symptoms could be rare in school-age children

Platform creator Janu Shan

The creator

CareIQ was created by 25-year old computer science graduate, Janu Shan and co-founder, Dr Pratheep Suntharamoorthy. The idea came from Janu’s own experience as a chronic pain patient for 18 months and his tech background.

Janu says: “I lived a healthy lifestyle until the age of 19 when I suddenly became very sick for no apparent reason. The doctors were stumped and nobody could work out what was wrong with me, which was hugely frustrating and upsetting for both me and my loved ones. I was sick for around 18 months and bed-bound for some of that, unable to do anything for myself, and it was only when a consultant saw my symptoms on a video that I was given the correct drugs that improved my condition and I can now go about my daily life”

He added: “It really made me realise the huge problems in chronic care and how this can be improved through huge advancements in technology. I wasted over a whole year of my life and time and money from the NHS on something that could have been fixed if I had immediate access to the right specialist. It’s all about information routing but the problem is, the tech and infrastructure in the NHS are currently ill-equipped to cope with chronic care and chronic disease management and that’s where CareIQ comes in.”

“Today, the processing of chronic healthcare is almost entirely manual. Our active AI monitoring on patient records can enable faster chronic disease management, helping deliver personalised care for every patient, at scale, with lower costs.”

The research

It is estimated that 41 million people die every year from non-communicable diseases which accounts for 71 per cent of all deaths globally. Most of these deaths are unavoidable.

The NHS revealed that the 15 million people in England with long term conditions have the greatest healthcare needs of the population. They account for 50 per cent of all GP appointments and 70 per cent of all bed days. Their treatment and care absorb 70 per cent of acute and primary care budgets in England at an estimate of £7 in every £10 of total health and social care spend.

Janu adds: “Covid-19 has certainly accelerated demand and frustration and anything that can ease the increased pressure on the NHS will make a difference. Right now, the NHS is bleeding and we’re currently using sticking plaster. We need a permanent solution. With so much time being required by patients with chronic conditions such as cancer, blood pressure problems or diabetes, and with an ageing population that’s only going to get worse, we need to use technology to help us.

“Ultimately, with CareIQ we want to save lives and reduce the physical and emotional distress that so many people are suffering. There is so much cost and time involved in chronic care; 70 per cent of hospital beds are taken up by patients living with chronic pain and as it gets worse it gets even more expensive to treat with drugs and surgeries. We want to reduce the huge amount of stress that our clinicians are living with; we’ve all seen the burnout and frustrations of staff as they battle to do their best and technology can help ease that pain.”

Read more: Ending the suffering in silence

Case management

A force for change in case management

As an ambitious and fast-growing business, Breakthrough Case Management is proud to be a disruptor

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Keen to shape the future of case management and encourage more healthcare professionals into the sector, Breakthrough Case Management is pushing the boundaries of tradition and helping to create a new future for clients and case managers alike. 

Established in 2018 to deliver the person-centred service to clients which is of central importance to its founders Annabelle Lofthouse and Catrin May, Breakthrough is now helping to redefine rehab provision across the whole sector with its development of digital solutions. 

Working alongside academic and scientific partners, Breakthrough aims to push the boundaries of rehab provision with digital innovation, which is set to provide a raft of new resources to case managers in the near future. 

“I’d say we are changemakers, we believe in change being a force for good. We believe in innovation and enhancing rehab through digital solutions,” says Annabelle, who, like co-founder Catrin, is a registered nurse. 

“We’re really keen to revolutionise how rehab services are delivered with a view to driving up quality. We are working on digital solutions which will add real quality and will make an impact.

Annabelle Lofthouse

“But digital solutions will never replace the human touch and do not detract from the value of one-to-one care. We passionately believe in the value of in-person support. Our whole ethos is founded on delivering what is in the best interests of the client.

And it is that ethos which inspired the creation of Breakthrough, a case management business based in the South West, which routinely operates across the South of England but also has clients throughout England and Wales.  

Growing strongly and continually adding new highly skilled case managers to its team, Breakthrough’s foundation comes from a shared desire from its founders to drive the sector forward. 

“Catrin and I have never wanted to reinvent the wheel, but we did want to sprinkle our own magic into the industry,” says Annabelle, who has worked in healthcare for over 30 years. 

“We know what high-quality, great rehab looks like and that’s what we wanted to deliver. It’s never about one size fits all, and nor should it be. We want to stay true to who we are as clinicians and want to make a difference, that’s what makes you feel good at the end of every working day.

“We’re a growing business but we have determined from the offset to avoid becoming too corporate, as people come to us for the personal touch. In case management, the relationships you build with clients and professionals can last for years, and it’s fundamental to our business that we are person-centred and ever present in everything we do.  

“We have a team of high performing people here at Breakthrough who completely share this ethos, and by doing the work we’re doing, we hope to raise the profile of case management. 

“It could be a great career move for anyone wanting to use their clinical skills and expertise in a different environment, many health care professionals aren’t aware of case management as a unique and distinct discipline. 

“This was certainly true for me when I first got involved in this field of practice – the role wasn’t very well known back then, this is thankfully changing a little but I think there is much more to be done to promote career options in rehabilitation. 

“We’re on something of a mission to help change that and to raise the profile of case management.”

Having become established as a key name in the sector, Breakthrough began to look at other opportunities to bring high-quality and much-needed provision to healthcare. In addition to its core offerings, the business has ambitious plans to branch even further into wider health and wellbeing initiatives, which Annabelle describes as being “very much a case of watch this space”.

Its care division, Breakthrough Care, has played a vital role over the past 18 months during a time of uniquely high pressure for all providers, going from plan to reality within a few weeks after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Breakthrough care has gone from strength to strength and we continue to build strong relationships with the NHS, local

Catrin May

authorities and commissioners,” says Annabelle. 

“We’ve always thought outside the box anyway, but the advent of SarsCov2 saw us mobilise and push forwards with planned innovations so that we were well placed to make a difference in every way we could. 

“In addition to looking after our clients and case managers, we wanted to support care. Developing our care service has been really rewarding and the response has been very good. We’re not about providing ad-hoc rehab or care, we look at providing rehab-focused solutions which promote recovery.

“As case managers, we recommend, implement and co-ordinate rehabilitation for clients who have suffered life-changing and catastrophic injury so we know the very real difference effective intervention and support delivers.

“We drew on our case management expertise and the fact we know what great rehab looks like to create a new and innovative care solution. 

“It’s a different approach and one we are very proud of. We know that if you can create a situation where functional recovery is promoted and enabled every day, you can achieve great results.”

While still a relatively young company and having weathered the storm of a global pandemic – alongside expanding to provide a suite of complementary services – Breakthrough sees its role going forward as helping to lead the thinking digitally, while never compromising on the personal touch for which it is known. 

“If you have digital tools in your armoury which enable you to deliver better health, wellbeing, care, rehabilitation and recovery outcomes, then winning hearts and minds becomes quite easy,” says Annabelle. 

“On paper, some digital ideas and solutions might not sound like something people may want to consider, particularly in an increasingly remote world with so much virtual communication, but I think it’s likely to be a situation where you try something and wonder how you ever managed without. 

“There is a lot of really innovative work going on and we’re so passionate about helping to make change and be the change.

“It’s not about replacing person-centred care or losing the personal touch – it’s about adding to that and giving the best possible quality of rehab you can.”

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Case management

Fast-growing AKA maintains commitment to staff and clients

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Having been a key name in case management for 19 years, AKA Case Management is now set for the next chapter in its journey after it was acquired earlier this year. Here, director Andrew Rose discusses its commitment to its clients and team and how its strong and ongoing progress will never be about ‘growth for growth’s sake’

 

Tell us why AKA Case Management was established and what was the ambition at the outset?

The company was established in 2002 driven by Angela Kerr’s life experiences, drive, passion and love of people.

The company has focussed on recruiting a like-minded team. We all work together to support the company philosophy and ethos of putting the meaning back into the lives of individuals who have suffered traumatic injuries.

 

How has the business developed over time?

AKA’s focus is on not only improving the lives of the clients that we work with but also the lives of the people who work with us, whether they be employees or external stakeholders. This is more important than growth for growth’s sake. Our team grows when we are able to find people who share our values and our ethos and AKA is able to support the individual’s needs as well. 

The acquisition of AKA earlier this year has not changed any of this focus. In fact, it has cemented it. Angela took a long time to identify and help to develop people from within AKA to ensure that they shared those values and had the trust of the employees

Andrew Rose

of AKA.

 

How did the team respond to the significant challenges of COVID-19?

AKA continued to do what AKA has always done, which was adapt to the situation for each individual client and support their individual needs. So, if that required face to face support, we facilitated that with all appropriate risk assessments and safety measures in place. Some clients needed space to adapt to the changes, so this is what they were given. 

Technology obviously played a key part in terms of allowing connectivity and communication. This has been a definite benefit of the pandemic as people were forced to engage in technology which might have otherwise taken a long time to adapt to. The use of technology will remain in place but blended with the importance of human contact, assessment and support.

Clients and staff required different support at different times. Again, these needs were assessed and supported on an individual basis. Changes in government guidance frequently caused periods of uncertainty and anxiety. We provided simplified summaries of government guidance throughout the pandemic and met to discuss changes as a team to brainstorm ideas and provide the best solutions for our clients and staff.

We also focussed on wellbeing, connecting with all staff individually, providing wellbeing skills, tools and resources to support them through the challenges of the pandemic. 

 

What are your priorities going forward?

Our focus on wellbeing has remained and we are working hard to imbed skills and tools into our everyday practice.

We want to support and promote to our staff that they need to look after themselves to best support our clients. If, as a team we can model these skills and tools, then our clients are more likely to see the validity of them.

We truly believe that if our staff are happy then this will help us deliver the best support that we can to our clients and help

Dawn Abernethy, director of AKA

them to achieve the most they can from their lives.

 

What does the long-term future look like for AKA?

Our ambition remains to help our clients live the fullest lives that they possibly can. Accompanied with this, we want our staff and everyone we work with to have the best experience that they can and to be happy. We believe that if we support our staff well, then we can achieve this and be commercially successful. 

If we can find likeminded employees whilst maintaining the quality of support to our staff and clients, then we will continue to grow. Our drive and passion for people won’t be compromised to pursue commercial success. 

We want AKA to be sustainable long into the future so, as Angela did before us, we are also looking at the next generation of leaders to take AKA forward.

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Case management

NCMUK: an expanding business with family values at its core

The family-run case management company continues to grow, but remains as committed as ever to its clients and team

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In the latest in our series of case management focus features, NR Times meets Martin Gascoigne of NCMUK, who discusses the ongoing growth of the family-run business and its uncompromising commitment to clients and staff  

 

Tell us why NCMUK was established and what was the ambition at the outset? 

NCMUK is first and foremost a family-run case management company with its head office based in South Yorkshire established by my wife, Maria, and myself in 2010. 

Having previously been employed as a Senior Social Worker, I decided that I wanted to improve the health and wellbeing of those people needing neurological support. Our aim was to provide a “Jewel and the Crown” service within the realm of brain and spinal Injury rehabilitation. 

Martin Gascoigne

I understood that this was a big task but I felt that with my vast experience and contacts gained within the care sector, I would be able to step forward and create an environment where people with these conditions could flourish with the help of the right professionals. 

With the right team, a determined outlook and a mission to remain transparent at all times, whilst providing a continued professional service at an affordable cost, Neuro Case Management became a reality. 

 

How has the business developed over time?

During the very early stages of the business NCMUK was simply my wife and I working towards providing Mental Capacity Assessments, Initial Needs Assessments and Benefits Reviews for solicitors and their clients based within the Yorkshire area. 

This soon expanded, we took on new team members including an operations director, PA and permanent support staff. We extended our professional contact lists with Speech & Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and so on. 

We grew not only in experience but also in determination to achieve our original goal of providing the highest quality service to ensure the improvement in the health and welfare of those we were assisting via advocacy, communication and education at an affordable rate. 

As a family-run business we are committed to both our clients and our highly experienced and professional team of staff who maintain NCMUK’s vision and values. 

 

How did the team respond to the significant challenges of COVID-19?

NCMUK are ultimately a care management organisation and our care team are dedicated to providing the highest quality of support to all of our clients even throughout COVID. 

Although times were difficult and obtaining PPE often challenging, no-one was furloughed and all of the support staff continued to visit homes following the Government guidelines set. 

The administrative team worked from home during the initial stages and assessments which could still be carried out, such as Mental Capacity Assessments, were done so via Zoom or telephone if the client was happy to proceed in this manner. 

Going forward we will still provide the option of Zoom assessments where these are acceptable to the instructing solicitors/families. Additional choice is always beneficial in any organisation. 

 

What are your priorities going forward?

NCMUK’s priorities remain the same, as a family business we are all about the health and welfare of our clients and this will never change. 

COVID did, however, provide us with options as to how to proceed outside of the standard face to face visits providing the opportunity to reduce costs/charges even further due to the limited travel requirements. 

It reinforced the importance of employing a team of hardworking and dedicated staff who will continue to provide their services to a high level even throughout difficult times. Putting their vulnerable clients first whilst still following ever changing rules and regulations set. 

The Zoom assessment system will continue, therefore, to be available to those clients who feel that this is more beneficial to them and the case management team will continue to contact the clients via telephone on a more regular basis to extend the communication network further to the Pandemic providing additional reassurance. 

 

What does the long-term future look like for NCMUK? 

NCMUK’s ambition has not changed, our aim is still to continue to grow within the case management industry whilst remaining a family-run business, to continue to provide the highest level of services to all of its clients and to continue to work with its established team of staff and professionals moving forward. 

During the pandemic NCMUK was able to take the time to re-establish its website – www.ncmuk.co.uk – which shows where we came from and all of the areas that we are now able to assist in. 

NCMUK has always been committed to its future and the future of its clients and colleagues. It will continue with this commitment with dedication, positivity and understanding. 

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