Inhealthcare launches toolkit to help others with NHS digital efforts

By Jonah Comstock
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Inhealthcare has gotten pretty good at launching technology pilots with the UK's National Health Service, having worked on a number including a back pain management program at James Cook Memorial Hospital and a cardiac remote monitoring program at Medway Community Healthcare. Now the company will be selling that expertise to others: At the end of June, Inhealthcare launched a new programming language, or toolkit, for developing digital health interventions and getting them into the NHS system.

"We’ve been developing this for five years," Richard Quine, Inhealthcare's product director, told MobiHealthNews. "We have customers across the whole of the UK. We've got a service for monitoring warfarin, we have about a thousand patients on that, we’ve got COPD, nutrition monitoring, all that. What we’ve done is we’ve made this programming language that we’ve been developing for the last few years public so that clinicians and hospitals can develop their own digital clinical services," 

Inhealthcare, which was founded in 2012, is on a mission to digitize services throughout the entire NHS system, and offers many different remote monitoring, telehealth and data capture and aggregation platform options to healthcare organizations including diabetes management, in-home care, and many chronic conditions. Inhealthcare’s core digital platform complements several NHS initiatives and supports some 25,000 patients across hundreds of primary care practices, nursing homes, and hospitals. The new offering will help others build similar tools.

"The new technology enables people with ideas for apps or service improvements to develop, test, roll out, monitor and manage their own healthcare services and predict demand and outcomes," Inhealthcare marketing manager Georgina Adamson wrote in a blog post. "These services can empower patients to take greater control over their own health while reducing pressures on public spending from aging populations with long-term conditions. The toolkit offers multiple communication channels to patients, including mobile apps, SMS, web portals and automated telephone calls. Data from patients is transferred safely and securely into hospital and GP systems."

Quine said that Inhealthcare's toolkit is a boon to innovators working in the UK because regulations and security precautions make it challenging to integrate with the NHS's network. 

"The natural flow of data between hospitals, physicians, and patients is very difficult because of the highly secure nature of the network," he said. "What we’ve done is we’ve built a network that allows us to take data from the Internet and send it to NHS clinical systems.  It is just incredibly difficult to make data flow within the NHS and that’s the problem we’re cracking at."

The programming language will allow developers to create a wide variety of digital healthcare programs, and if they find the need for something it can't do, Inhealthcare will develop additional capabilities. Those tools will then be added to the public library so they'll be available to the next developer that needs them.

"We've been a little bit surprised about how unconstrained it is," Quine said. "We first thought we’d be monitoring all conditions for the patient at home. But it’s been used for things like chronic pain, cancer, medication monitoring -- There’s no limits to what parts of care can be digitized."