West Midlands Academic Health Science Network

Posted on 26 March 2015

Keele is playing a leading role in West Midlands AHSN (WMAHSN), through Rhian Hughes’ directorship of their Integrated Care Theme and Honorary Professor Ruth Chambers’ leadership of the Long Term Conditions clinical priority.  In particular, Professor Chambers leads a collaboration between the AHSN, Keele and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Group to roll out Simple Telehealth/Florence as an exemplar project.

The government set up 15 ‘Academic Health Science Networks’ (AHSN) around England to enable collaboration between universities, the NHS and industry to implement innovations in the NHS in a sustainable way.

Simple Telehealth/Florence (Flo) – Florence, affectionately known as ‘Flo’, offers a unique approach for clinicians to remotely interact with patients regarding management of their condition – e.g. asthma or high blood pressure. Patients can receive information from Flo and/or send information if required that can prompt automated text responses to reassure the senders or suggest corrective actions.  Clinicians can monitor patients remotely, send reminders or important information to help patients to manage condition in a way that stops it from getting worse. Flo underpins shared management plans between clinicians and patients and was developed within the NHS with the ‘Intellectual Property’ for the clinical protocols owned Stoke-on-Trent NHS CCG, which is now leading a national and worldwide rollout. For further information of Flo see www.digitalhealthsot.nhs.uk. The WM AHSN as part of its work to improve patient health and increase health system efficiency are supporting the rollout of Flo across the West Midlands in its three spokes. To the end of January 2015 1188 patients have been signed up to the project.

Publications/Awards relating to Flo applications in project period:

• Collis L, Whitmore M, Chambers R. Telehealth in primary care: what’s in it for me? Practice Nursing 2014; 25 (8): 406-8.

• Cottrell E, Chambers R, O’Connell P. Case study. Stoke-on-Trent: telehealth helps patients manage their own conditions. Public Health England, 2014. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-blood-pressure-action-plan

• Chambers R. Tackling Telehealth 2: How to develop integrated care through the implementation of TECS Inside Commissioning. GP, Inside Commissioning. February 2015.
• Stoke CCGs Simple Telehealth solution (FLORENCE) has won the Telehealth Award at the Health Business Awards
• Professor Ruth Chambers, clinical lead for Flo exemplar project, was recognised as one of the top 50 innovators of the year (2014) by the Health Service Journal, for her work on technology enabled care services/clinical effectiveness in primary care.