WMAHSN’s support for Florence featured in national report

Posted on 6 February 2018 (Permalink)

A national report has highlighted how support from West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) helped one innovation improve the care of patients with long term conditions.  

The King’s Fund report, Adoption and Spread of Innovation in the NHS, was commissioned on behalf of the AHSN Network and charts the journeys of eight innovations from creation to widespread use.

The report features Florence, an uncomplicated mobile phone application which allows clinicians to communicate securely with patients, prompts patients regarding monitoring and treatment of their conditions, provides automatic advice based on disease management protocols, and gets in touch quickly if patients’ conditions deteriorate. Clinicians log on to Florence to get a simple overview of their patients’ conditions.

Phil O’Connell, a chartered IT professional with a background in telecoms and financial services IT systems, began to develop Florence in the late 2000s. When the WMAHSN decided to support Florence in 2014, it was the first time that Phil and his team had been able to access any form of regional infrastructure to enable adoption and spread. From working primarily with a single commissioner, they were able to market Florence to all 22 CCGs in the West Midlands and had a route into a much larger number of providers.

WMAHSN supported the development of free CCG intelligence packs bringing together the evidence base for the programme, new off-the-shelf applications so that providers could start using Florence for people with asthma, diabetes or COPD straight away, and toolkits to help providers make best use of the system. Within the first nine months of the WMAHSN programme, an additional 1,000 patients were using the system. The East Midlands AHSN is also now supporting adoption of Florence in its region.

“The good news is that entrepreneurship is alive and well in the NHS, despite different incentives for innovators than in more competitive markets and the significant obstacles that often lie in innovators’ paths,” The Kings Fund report states, highlighting the important role AHSNs play in adoption and spread of innovation. While thousands of patients are now receiving new innovative treatments thanks to successful innovations like Florence, the report outlines the significant barriers that stand in innovators’ paths.

England’s 15 AHSNs were set up by the NHS in 2013. They bring together the NHS, social care, public health, academic, voluntary and industry organisations to support the spread of innovation throughout the NHS and care. In the last five years, they have spread over 200 innovations through 11,000 locations, benefiting 6 million people, creating over 500 jobs and leveraging £330 million investment to improve health and support the NHS, social care and industry innovators.

To read the report in full, click here

To find out more about Florence visit the website