When we launched Ascelus last year – our digital platform which acts as a virtual clinic for patients, hospitals and commissioners – it was designed to improve the management of long-term conditions, reducing the need for face to face appointments and easing pressure on the NHS.
As we all applaud our NHS and key workers every Thursday night, we’ve never been more conscious of the vital work they do and the challenges they face.
The COVID-19 crisis has put an even greater focus on patient care and stretched health service resources. Outpatient visits have stopped, doctors are increasingly having telephone consultations with their patients and there is growing concern that the most vulnerable patients are avoiding going to hospital for vital examinations and treatment.
The benefits of our technology have never been clearer and for us it has meant a major acceleration of the Ascelus project. The platform allows patients with long-term conditions which need regular monitoring, to input and track their own symptoms; the platform then integrates with hospital I.T. for blood and pathology results and their doctor can review the information and push a message to their patient, releasing results and giving any necessary advice.
We had been developing the platform based on one long-term condition and anticipated expanding to six conditions over the next three years.
We’re now working on 22 long-term conditions, including blood cancers, lung and prostate cancer, renal and liver failure and rheumatoid arthritis, working with both the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and London’s King’s College London and sharing our insights with them to help support their work during the current crisis.
Eight 4th year medical students from the University of Leeds School of Medicine, have joined us on a six-week elective period to assist with the project. They are helping us to map clinical pathways for patients with long-term conditions, ensure the technology is clinically robust, coordinating patient public involvement focus groups and liaising with healthcare, academic and charitable partnerships.
It’s a great opportunity for them to learn how to programme and to gain insights into the benefits of AI in healthcare.
The students and our team are adapting well to working from home – indeed some of them are back with their families in other countries. We’re used to working with our colleagues in India via phone and e-mail, so the lockdown has simply increased our reliance on virtual communications. We find Trello really useful for interactive work updates.
We’re receiving great support from the Nexus Engagement Team as we adapt to the new ways of working and keeping vital investment rounds and grant applications live.
We do miss the business events and random chats in the Business Lounge though and we’re really looking forward to meeting up with fellow member businesses again.
As always, we love to hear from all of our Community, get in touch if you’d like to share your story with us.
Find out the latest information to help guide you through the advice and support schemes available in response to COVID-19 on our hub.