Innovation summary

The need for digital technology to tackle pressing and currently insoluble healthcare issues is clear: costs and demand are both rising, information and health records are often fragmented, and consumers and patients increasingly want more control over their own health and when and how they can engage with health professionals. The future of healthcare rests on the ability to harness the power of technology for the benefit of patients. This requires both vision and new ways of working and the Collaborative on Health and Technology (CHaT) captures both.

CHaT is a collaboration of disruptive outcome-driven digital health providers working for patient empowerment. It serves as a catalyst for the utilisation of digital healthcare for patient empowerment at scale.

CHaT members have five features that allow them to pursue CHaT’s aims:

  • Delivering person-led healthcare through technology
  • An evidence base or demonstrable commitment to its development
  • Existing application within healthcare
  • Ability to go to scale
  • Evidence of collaboration with other members

Impact summary

  • Members deliver their services across six countries and have served 1,000's of clients
  • Members must demonstrate achieved outcomes that their services provide
  • All member innovations have shown to be cost-effective as digital interventions are often more cost effective than traditional ones

"The future of healthcare rests on the ability to harness the power of technology for the benefit of patients. This requires both vision and new ways of working. CHaT captures both."

 

-Tim Kelsey, National Director for Patients and Information in the NHS1

Innovation details

CHaT aims to:

  • Shape an environment in which person-led healthcare can be delivered through technology
  • Develop strategies and resources to enable evidence-based technologies to scale-up
  • Stimulate and promote collaboration amongst members in pursuit of scalable solutions to significant healthcare challenges
  • Build awareness of the collaborative achievements of members and create a market for their services

CHaT’s membership requirements:

  • Person-led healthcare innovation through technology
  • An evidence base or demonstrable commitment to its development
  • Existing application within healthcare
  • Ability to scale-up
  • Evidence of collaboration with other members
  • Non-service delivery organisations may also be considered for CHaT membership providing that they support the core aim of developing and spreading effective digital healthcare services at scale
     

Becoming a CHaT member means becoming part of a dynamic collaborative, breaking new ground and new markets and promoting the value of person-lead digital healthcare technologies. CHaT also offers members the opportunity to collaborate to solve pressing gaps in the digital healthcare market and interlink to cross-promote CHaT member services. CHaT is dedicated to scaling digital interventions; to spread their benefits across populations at a national and international level.

The first joint collaboration to be launched by CHaT was the pan-London digital mental health programme, making London a digital first for integrated mental healthcare. To date, two thirds of London CCGs, PHE London Region and NHS England have expressed support for the programme. The programme is a ‘step to national’ initiative to build an integrated digital mental health system, with London as the incubator site. The pan-London programme will deliver the outcomes and business case for scaling nationally.

Other CHaT collaborations include a project to allow patient-controlled health records to be ported between digital healthcare and offline providers and to incorporate high-quality, informative audio-visual material on long-term physical health conditions with 24/7 mental health support within a professionally staffed, digital peer support community. Further collaborations are planned or in the pipeline.

CHaT’s current members:

Key drivers

Drivers of CHaT:

  • The clearly recognised need for the healthcare market and in the UK and National Health Services, to support and promote innovation, and furthermore to support the delivery of successful healthcare innovations at scale

Drivers of Collaborator Innovations:

  • Effectively addresses a previously unmet healthcare need using digital technology
  • Innovations are person-centric
  • CHaT members are selected on the basis of their ability to be implemented in multiple, international markets (scale)

Challenges

CHaT’s main challenge remains the large gap in funding, support and initiative to guide successful start-ups to work across the healthcare market at real scale up and to therefore spread the cost-effective and accessible benefits of digital healthcare at a national and international level. This is particularly acute in the UK, as there is a lack of political and strategic will to move from supporting innovation to commissioning at scale.

Continuation

Following the launch of CHaT at the House of Commons, the pan-London initiative to kick-start the adoption of digital healthcare technologies at scale is underway, in addition to various collaborations between members to augment and create new service offerings, and expand the digital healthcare toolkit. CHaT will seek to expand the adoption of digital healthcare technologies in the UK and abroad, and will welcome new innovative member organisations from various healthcare backgrounds.

Partners

CHaT is a self-funded initiative with fees paid by the member organisations

To date, two-thirds of London Clinical Commissioning Groups, Public Health England – London Region and the National Health Services England have expressed support for CHaT’s pan-London initiative.

Evaluation methods

All of CHaT’s members must demonstrate the outcomes that their services achieve. As they are all very different services, these outcome measures range from above average and above target recovery rates (UK) from online therapy, to increased adherence to medication, to improved patient relationships with healthcare professionals and reduced hospital admissions. All the CHaT members have key outcomes that can be viewed at www.chat-healthtech.com.

Cost of implementation

As digital interventions are often more cost-effective than traditional ones, CHaT members conservatively estimate savings from their services, which range from £36,935 per 100 members to the NHS, to the ability to employ another staff member from the cost savings.

Impact details

CHaT’s members already deliver their services across six countries and have served thousands of clients (one member alone has had more than 14,000 users).

 

References

  1. Collaboration on Health and Technology. http://www.chat-healthtech.com/ [Accessed on 10 December 2013].
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