NHS could prevent deadly acute kidney injury after UK company wins government funds
A UK company working with hospitals to prevent thousands of deaths by predicting and preventing acute kidney injury has won a national SBRI competition to scale its technology across the health service.
The NHS is moving one step closer to preventing thousands of avoidable deaths after new government funding was awarded to an innovative UK company that is working with hospitals to prevent acute kidney injury (AKI), a devastating condition believed to be linked with as many as 100,000 deaths in UK hospitals every year.
Patientrack, which provides the NHS with technology that automatically detects patients at risk of deterioration and then alerts nurses and doctors to intervene, has been working alongside Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to develop a system to automatically detect and help prevent AKI. The condition is cited as being 100 times more deadly than MRSA and is estimated to cost the health service between £434m and £620m every year, more than skin cancer and lung cancer combined.
The system alerts clinicians to patients at risk of AKI so that they can manage and prevent the condition, and has already received Department of Health funding last summer so that it could be developed and trialled with Western Sussex Hospitals. Now the Patientrack AKI warning system could be scaled across the NHS as a result of a new funding win from a multi-million pound Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition.
Professor Lui Forni, a consultant in intensive care and renal medicine, adviser to the project and chair of the AKI section of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) said: “Patientrack gives clinicians the ability to flag up which patients are at risk of acute kidney injury almost from the moment they walk through the door, so that they can see which patients are at risk from the first set of observations.
“Effectively it is an intelligent real-time technology that should systemically improve the care of patients. It will prevent and it will help to improve the management of people who come in with AKI.”
Dr Richard Venn, a consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This technology should be of significant interest to NHS hospitals. Early intervention should help to prevent morbidity and mortality, including secondary complications such as chronic kidney disease and more can be achieved, including reduced lengths of stay and the potential for a reduction in renal replacement therapies and escalation to intensive care.”
The system combines a risk scoring model developed by specialist UK clinicians with a nationally mandated algorithm, and uses the Patientrack early warning system to alert doctors in real-time when a patient is at risk, or has AKI. This translates into a flag system that gives clinical staff complete visibility of those patients who already have AKI, and predicts which are at risk of developing it, so that doctors and nurses can take early action and stop conditions worsening. It also directly contacts clinicians to intervene using a hospital’s existing paging system or mobile technology.
AKI affects as many as one in five emergency admissions into hospital, and has been highlighted by NHS England as one of two specific clinical priorities for improving patient outcomes for 2015/16, due to its potential impact on care. As a result the commissioning for quality and innovation (CQUIN) performance framework now rewards hospitals financially for effectively managing patients with AKI. Patientrack’s AKI technology offers hospitals a way to fulfil CQUIN targets for 2015/16 and goes much further, enabling prediction and prevention and collating the data necessary to tackle this lethal condition in the longer term.
The solution is being made available to all hospitals already using the Patientrack early warning and alerting system, and a standalone AKI product is also being launched for other NHS hospitals.
Patientrack was one of six winners that will receive a share of a £2m SBRI competition aimed at developing cutting-edge technology solutions to help kidney patients. The competition is funded by the Department of Health and managed by the National Institute for Health Research Healthcare Technology Co-operative Devices for Dignity (D4D).
Commenting at the end of March on the award, life sciences minister George Freeman said: “Competitions such as this help the development of cutting-edge technologies which will make a real difference to kidney patients. The UK is fast becoming the world leader in 21st century medicine, driving innovation and supporting small businesses to grow.”
Donald Kennedy, managing director at Patientrack, said: “Small firms can offer the NHS real innovation to help improve the lives of patients and deliver better, safer care. This is a great example of embracing the UK’s SME base to deliver genuine improvements and to give doctors and nurses the tools they need to improve outcomes for their patients and reduce the risk of harm.”
Notes to editors
Professor Lui Forni, Dr Richard Venn and Donald Kennedy are available for interview.
Patientrack helps hospitals deliver safer care – which is also more cost-effective care – by ensuring observation and assessment protocols are carried out correctly and consistently, and by automatically calculating early warning scores and alerting clinicians when interventions are needed. For further information please visit www.patientrack.com or follow @Patientrack on Twitter.
The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) is a well-established process to connect public sector challenges with innovative ideas from industry. It generates new business opportunities for companies, provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) a route to market for their ideas and bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early stage companies. It supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services through public procurement of research and development. The SBRI competition is funded by the Department of Health and managed by the National Institute for Health Research Devices for Dignity Healthcare Technology Co-operative. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/innovate-uk
About the NIHR Devices for Dignity Healthcare Technology Co-operative (NIHR D4D HTC)
Delivering technology solutions to support people with long-term conditions – preserving their dignity and independence. The NIHR D4D HTC is a national initiative, hosted by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, working with people, clinical and healthcare staff, inventors, charities, industry and academics – bringing real solutions to areas of clinical and patient need in assistive and rehabilitative technologies, urinary continence management and renal technologies. D4D’s Renal Technologies theme aims to develop systems, devices and services to assist people with renal conditions to maintain their independence.
Projects within the scope of the renal technologies area focus on:
- Preserving dignity and promoting independence and quality of life for people suffering kidney diseases
- Improving patient access to home dialysis
- Improving patient experience and rehabilitation
- Enabling early diagnosis and prevention of kidney disease
Using hands-on support, NIHR D4D HTC takes ideas from concept through to commercialisation as rapidly as possible – providing a sustainable pipeline of projects.
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