New Leeds app for liver transplant patients has global potential

13-Dec-2021

Clinicians create app to help transplant patients better manager their health

Clinicians from the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have created a new mobile app called TAPP to help transplant patients better manage their health after life-saving operations.

As a result of positive feedback from patients in Leeds, the clinical team is now looking to roll out the app across national and international healthcare markets.

The team behind the app took part in the Healthcare Entrepreneur Exchange Programme (HEEP), an international innovation competition which provides the opportunity for clinical entrepreneurs to establish overseas collaborations and test their ideas in different healthcare settings.

The Leeds clinicians showcased their product to counterparts at Spain’s Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol (HGTP) of the Institut Català de la Salut (ICS) and in north-eastern Spain.

Through the HEEP programme, the team received mentoring, business coaching, and marketing guidance.

Dr Stewart Gibson, speciality doctor in hepatology at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Every transplant marks the beginning of life-long treatment, with patients requiring ongoing specialist follow-up and medication.

Our app provides tools to empower patients to manage their health and to make it easier to communicate with their clinical team

“Our app provides tools to empower patients to manage their health and to make it easier to communicate with their clinical team.

“The challenges that our transplant patients face are not unique to Leeds; they are faced by patients and clinicians everywhere.

“But, working with HEEP, we have been able to get invaluable feedback on our app and we believe our innovation can help patients and clinicians across the world.”

Alice Greenwood, clinical nurse specialist, added: “Our team developed the app to be patient-centred and accessible across a range of mobile devices.

“We know this is very familiar to some of our patients, particularly those in younger age groups and the app will allow patients to access a resource hub with information they can trust, alongside ways to manage their medication and health.

“Working with clinicians in Spain has helped to improve the product for international markets.”

And Omar Masood, consultant transplant surgeon, said: “HEEP has been instrumental in giving our team the opportunity to collaborate with the wider healthcare team to bring innovative solutions to our patients.

Working with HEEP, we have been able to get invaluable feedback on our app and we believe our innovation can help patients and clinicians across the world

“TAPP represents the move towards utilising technology and innovation integrated with health care access to empower our patients."

Transplants are generally very successful, though it can take a year or more for patients to fully recover.

And recipients must take immunosuppressants for the rest of their lives, have regular check-ups, and stay as healthy as possible with a good diet and regular exercise.

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust launched the Healthcare Entrepreneur Exchange Programme in 2020 with Spain’s Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol (HGTP) at the Institut Català de la Salut (ICS) to promote innovation in healthcare systems through collaboration. It aims to empower clinical innovators to develop the healthcare solutions of the future.

The Innovation Pop Up at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust provides expert advice to medical and clinical innovators, covering regulatory, intellectual property and technology matters as the clinicians prepare to launch TAPP.

TAPP represents the move towards utilising technology and innovation integrated with health care access to empower our patients

Dr Chris McKee, business development and innovation manager at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This exciting project saw many entries from teams in the trust and this was something that we were delighted to see, especially as the competition took place during the pandemic.

“The exchange visits during October 2021 brought teams from Barcelona and Leeds together and during the exchange visit to England, clinical teams from the HGTP enjoyed a fantastic programme of activities. This included a visit to City Labs 1.0 in Manchester, Alderley Science Park in Cheshire and the Nexus campus in Leeds, complemented by inspiring events held across the Leeds City Region including the Thackray Medical Museum and the recently-launched Innovation Pop-Up.”

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Other winning entrants from the trust in the 2021 HEEP programme include Dildar Rathore, a specialist biomedical scientist at the trust who has developed an innovative solution to accelerate the process for cellular pathology tests and to mitigate clinical risk to the patient sample; and the discharge team Vivien Lewis, Dr Emily Holdsworth, and Dr Anna Winfield, who devised a quality improvement-led solution using quality improvement and new working practices for timely patient discharge.

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