Leeds commissions the largest digital health service in the UK

Revolutionary app set to ease burden on NHS and improve lives of people suffering from chronic pain

A revolutionary app developed by a Yorkshire tech company is set to ease the burden on the NHS and improve lives for thousands of people experiencing daily chronic pain.

The service covers the population of the city of Leeds and is initially available to over 7,000 patients, making it the largest digital health service to be commissioned in the UK.

The NHS needs to meet cost savings of over £22billion this year, and driving efficiency through technology will play a huge part in clawing back on that deficit

The downloadable app, which is completely free for patients to use, gives them the knowledge, skills and guidance to manage their pain, which should reduce the need to visit their GP or hospital.

PainSense has been created by Saltaire-based Advanced Digital Institute (ADI). It is currently being used within the healthcare sector in the Leeds and West Yorkshire area and will be rolled out across other regions of the UK within the next six months.

Harrogate-based digital health specialist, Inhealthcare, has played an instrumental part in fully integrating the app into the pain management pathway and GP systems so patient data can be transferred safely and securely. This means it can also be easily accessed before and during consultations.

Dr Jamie O'Shea of Leeds West NHS CCG said: "The Pain Toolkit app has recently been introduced in Leeds to encourage supported self-management of persistent pain. I have introduced this app to several patients who have unanimously provided extremely positive feedback and I am very confident we will see improved outcomes for this cohort of individuals."

From the patient's perspective it is easy to use on their smart phone or tablet device.

A PainSense app user said: "For people like me who have suffered for years, PainSense gives you strategies to follow so you can cope better with the pain.”

Huw Jones of ADI added: "The app has been developed with patients and healthcare professionals over a two-year period. So far the reaction has been extremely positive.”

"It could revolutionise the doctor-patient relationship for the estimated eight million people in the UK suffering with pain. The app includes two related elements in the form of the established Pain Toolkit, which contains a wealth of information and assessment tools, and the Pain Management Plan that helps the patient structure a plan to manage their experience of pain.

“Since April when the new pain pathway was introduced, enabled by the app, there appears to be a marked reduction in the number of people needing hospital care.”

Pain Sense is an excellent example of how, using this new infrastructure, many thousands of patients can interact with their healthcare professional

And Bryn Sage, chief executive of Inhealthcare, said: “A key ambition of NHS England has been to enable every patient to be able to submit health-related data directly into their health records.

“Leeds is the first city in the UK to adopt, across every GP surgery, infrastructure that allows every patient to send information back to their GP electronically.

“Pain Sense is an excellent example of how, using this new infrastructure, many thousands of patients can interact with their healthcare professional.

“This type of digital health service is just what the Government and NHS England are crying out for. The NHS needs to meet cost savings of over £22billion this year, and driving efficiency through technology will play a huge part in clawing back on that deficit.

"As Leeds has shown, by universally adopting a digital health platform that supports a range of health innovations, you can increase the effectiveness of treatment, use resources more efficiently, and get greater engagement with the public. This technology can support many care pathways from diabetes to INR testing. We’ve got the technology to deliver and that’s an exciting prospect.”

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