By Justine Alford, IGHI Communications Manager
As the year draws to a close, we look back at some of IGHI’s best moments over the past 12 months. From launching new trials to test out promising health innovations, to partnering for better mental health, our Institute has achieved many things we’re proud of.
Find out how our progress is leading us towards our ambition of transforming health and care for all.
1: Trialling new innovations
We launched two new trials to build the evidence we need to underpin two promising healthcare interventions.
The first is testing out Streams, a mobile app for healthcare staff that we helped develop. Streams collates patients’ medical information, like test results and X-rays, so that it’s stored in one easy to access place. This means clinicians can spot issues as they arise, and quickly respond. Our researchers have been testing Streams in five NHS hospitals, affecting more than 10,000 staff, to find out whether it can improve staff workflow, reduce professionals’ stress, and make care safer.
The second is looking at another digital app, called OnTrack Rehab, which aims to support stroke survivors through their rehabilitation. Developed by our Helix Centre, OnTrack measures and gives feedback on users’ arm activity levels. Coupled with regular face-to-face sessions, it’s designed to motivate and empower people in their own recovery. The new Helix-led trial aims to find out who could benefit most from the innovation.
2: Engaging people with hearing loss
We ran an innovation workshop to develop new ideas to help improve communication for adults with hearing loss. The winning idea, Hearing Birdsong, uses the sounds of birdsong played at immersive pop-up exhibitions to engage people with hearing health. The project was inspired by a participant at the workshop, Angela. She began to notice that her hearing was fading after she could no longer hear birds singing as she took her daily walk.
3: Bringing bright ideas to life
IGHI’s annual Student Challenges Competition funded a winning idea – a low-cost smartphone attachment that can rapidly diagnose parasitic worm infections. Developed by student innovators Laura and Kai, the duo hopes their tech will lead to earlier detection and treatment, reducing the burden of disease. Read about their journey here.
4: Partnering for better mental health
We launched a new collaboration with the digital charity Mental Health Innovations. Together, we’ll be learning from the 24/7 crisis text line, Shout, to transform understanding of mental health needs. The benefits of this partnership are two-fold. The insights will help improve the Shout service itself. And they’ll also underpin the development of new digital health innovations that can better address rising mental health needs in the UK and beyond. Read about one volunteer’s experience here.
5: Practice-changing results
Findings from two clinical trials led by the director of the IGHI Centre of African Research and Engagement, Prof Kath Maitland, challenge WHO guidelines on how to treat children with severe anaemia in Africa. They found that giving more blood to some children could halve the number of deaths from the condition. The results also showed that “watch and wait” was a safe strategy for some children with severe anaemia. These findings could change the way children are treated and help save lives and crucial resources.
6: Introducing IGHI’s new co-director
Joining Professor the Lord Ara Darzi, Dr David Nabarro was appointed as IGHI’s first co-director. Dr Nabarro, former Special Advisor to the UN and nominee for the WHO Director-General, was already serving as the Institute’s expert advisor on global health and healthcare policy. Now, he will work with Prof Darzi to shape our strategy and expand our international reach. Read more about Dr Nabarro’s vision for the Institute here.
7: Highlighting weaknesses in NHS cybersecurity
NHS hospitals – and the safety of their patients – remain under threat from cyber-attacks unless efforts are made to increase cyber resilience. These were the findings of our White Paper, launched at the House of Lords. This set out key recommendations to address vulnerabilities in NHS systems. The urgent need for greater investment in cybersecurity was highlighted by a second IGHI-led paper, which calculated the true cost of the 2017 WannaCry cyber-attack on NHS hospitals in England.
8: Imaging tech for prostate cancer surgery
Our Hamlyn Centre launched a new project that’s developing imaging tech to make prostate cancer surgery more accurate. The team is augmenting an existing probe that can detect radioactive molecules bound to prostate cancer cells, guiding the surgeon’s knife. The new system will enable surgeons to visualise prostate tumours in real-time in the operating theatre, reducing the risk of cancerous tissue being left behind after surgery. Read more about this work in The Times.
9: World Patient Safety Day
We held our inaugural World Patient Safety Day conference to mark the event on 17th September. Thought-leaders, policy-makers, patients, healthcare professionals and the public gathered for our event. Together, we highlighted that patient safety is a global issue. And we disseminated best evidence and practices that could help make healthcare safer. Read our two reports that we released on the day, The Global State of Patient Safety, and Our Progress.
10: Developing digital leaders
A proud moment for all: we celebrated the end of the NHS Digital Academy‘s cohort 1, who earned their Postgraduate Diplomas in Digital Health Leadership. The Academy is a partnership between IGHI, the University of Edinburgh and Harvard Medical School. It was established to train digital leaders who can drive forward the information and technology transformation of the NHS.
After a busy year, we’re looking forward to what 2020 holds for IGHI. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post, where our people share with you their hopes for the new year.