Nesta announces the two winners of the Healthier Lives Data Fund Prize, chosen by a panel of judges in Scotland, from the six organisations who have taken part in the programme over the last 12 months and pitched to secure £60,000 additional funding for their projects.
The two winners of the final prize are: Edinburgh-based medical artificial intelligence (AI) company Pharmatics, with their new Artificial Intelligence (AI) app which will help people with chronic lung conditions to self-manage and receive personalised support at home; and London and Edinburgh-based startup Px Healthcare, who developed OWise - a freely accessible patient app helping prostate cancer patients live their best lives from the first day of diagnosis.
The two winners of the prize will use the additional £60,000 in funding from the Scottish Government to keep developing their products and scale them across Scotland. This funding is in addition to the £30,000 originally awarded to organisations involved in the Healthier Lives Data Fund, a partnership between Nesta and the Scottish Government which, over the last year, has supported six projects in Scotland that demonstrate what can be achieved when health or care data is used to give control back to the individual. The projects on this programme have been developing and showcasing the potential of a new generation of data-driven, people-centred digital technology over the last year.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a horrible, debilitating illness that affects more than five per cent of the adult population in Scotland and is the number one cause of emergency admissions in the UK, costing the NHS over two billion pounds per year. The CareAI app has been developed by machine learning specialists and software engineers from Pharmatics, in collaboration with the Cheyne Gang patient support group led by general practice nurses with interest in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other respiratory illnesses. In total the startup conducted 230 interviews to explore requirements for AI in COPD; 60 patients, family members, and clinicians attended two-way focus groups aimed at improving User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX), engaged via the Singing for Lung Health group Cheyne Gang; and hosted six one-to-one, face-to-face deep ethnographic studies to refine the product further.
The app analyses patterns extracted from patient-generated data to produce personalised educational advice according to the detected trends, and may eventually augment the current care for long-term lung conditions.
Felix Agakov, PhD in machine learning, and the Founder of Pharmatics has said: “Supported self-management of COPD conducted in communication with healthcare professionals improves patient health and decreases hospitalisations. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will empower people with lung conditions to control and self-manage their health, which is timely as healthcare providers throughout Europe are struggling with the coronavirus crisis. We are thrilled to be chosen by the panel to win this funding which will allow us to continue to validate CareAI models with real-world NHS data, work towards getting regulatory approval for the app, and, crucially, continue to codesign our solution with patients, support groups and NHS clinicians."
In Scotland, prostate cancer accounts for over 20 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in men and it is estimated that it affects 1 in 8 men during their lifetime. Px Healthcare (Px) is led by a team of medical scientists who understand cancer. Their Founder, Anne Bruinvels, wanted to give patients more insight and control after treatment for prostate cancer. Anne set out to develop OWise – a patient-centred app that was co-designed with users from the beginning. This involved holding focus groups across Scotland to understand patient needs and demographics in order to identify how to support them with a digital app.
OWise is a freely accessible patient app helping cancer patients live their best lives from the first day of diagnosis. The app’s easy to use tools help with self-management and support and it provides users with real-time personalised insights to drive control and improve life that can also be shared with their care team to monitor treatment response, side effects and progress. OWise has demonstrated to improve patient-clinician communication.
Talking about the impact of the fund and winning the prize, Anne said: "Our users have thoroughly enjoyed being involved with the design and development process and we are very appreciative of all the extensive feedback they were able to provide. The winning of this prize will support us to launch the app this summer and to roll it out through the whole of Scotland next year; integrate OWise within Scotland’s Electric Hospital Record System; and, importantly, measure the impact on prostate cancer patients’ lives."