Award success for innovative Bevan Exemplar projects and partners

Several Bevan Exemplar projects and industry partners have been recognised at MediWales Innovation Awards

The Bevan Commission has enjoyed a successful night at the MediWales Innovation Awards, with several of its Bevan Exemplar projects and industry partners winning major honours. MediWales Innovation Awards celebrate health and life sciences excellence in Wales, and the evening was attended by over 300 guests from the NHS, industry and academia.

Extending the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation

The VIPAR (Virtual Pulmonary Rehabilitation) initiative, based at Hywel Dda University Health Board, scooped the prize for ‘NHS Wales Collaboration with Industry’, sponsored by Life Sciences Hub Wales.

This Bevan Exemplar project has transformed the lives of COPD patients by enabling them to take part in pulmonary rehabilitation through video conferencing, in collaboration with industry technology partners Comcen and Polycom.

People with lung conditions in rural West Wales could participate in real-time exercise sessions led from hub sites in Llanelli and Carmarthen, saving them 9 days of driving and 7,579 miles collectively. Many patients have experienced improved health outcomes as a direct result of the programme, and have been able to take up former hobbies such as horse riding and shopping.

The ‘NHS Wales Collaboration with Industry’ Award was presented to the VIPAR team by Chair of Life Sciences Hub Wales and the Bevan Commission, Professor Sir Mansel Aylward.

Michelle Dunning, Senior Primary Care Locality Development Manager (north Ceredigion) and Project Manager for VIPAR (Virtual Pulmonary Rehabilitation), said: “The team are delighted to have won this award. Our project has demonstrated that technology can enhance service delivery especially in rural areas to benefit our citizens.

“Working with the Bevan Commission and in partnership with industry has brought the concept of virtual service delivery to life. The support from Matthew Sims (Comcen) has been invaluable throughout the project. This really was true collaboration by all involved in the development of the VIPAR service”.

Transforming the lives of IBS sufferers

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common but debilitating condition that is thought to affect the lives of 1 in 5 people. A Bevan Exemplar project led by Debbie Thomas trialled an evidence-based approach to introducing 185 IBS patients in the Bridgend area to a low FODMAP diet, which demonstrated a significant reduction in IBS-related GP visits.

Debbie Thomas won the ‘Innovation in the NHS’ award, sponsored by 1000 Lives Improvement, for her ground-breaking work which improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in over 75 per cent of sufferers.

Debbie Thomas, IBS Dietitian from Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, said: “The low FODMAP diet is an evidence based treatment for symptoms of IBS. As a Bevan Exemplar, my project was with patients suffering with this debilitating condition. My experience with the Bevan Commission gave me the confidence and impetus to take this a stage further and begin a pilot with ABMU staff with IBS. The ethos behind this being that if we can improve staff health, this will inevitably result in better patient care.

So far, I have seen 87 staff members, with over 75% improvement in symptoms. Many report this to be life changing. This, and my project with patients employs prudent health principles by working with patients to improve their health, making better use of resources (reducing the need for medication and invasive procedures) and removing the IBS burden on stretched GP services. Hopefully, this award will help to secure an IBS service for staff and patients locally and across Wales.”

Providing a digital maternity record for mothers-to-be

SymlConnect took home the award for ‘Partnership with the NHS’, sponsored by Nutricia, for their Bevan Exemplar partnership with midwives at Powys Teaching Health Board, led by Marie Lewis, Assistant Director for Innovation and Improvement.

The healthcare informatics company applied their expertise in creating interactive, intelligent software solutions to developing the Electronic Community Pregnancy Health Record as a digital alternative to the paper record currently used.

Connecting patients to vital information through QR codes

The award for ‘Start up’, sponsored by Geldards Law Firm, was won by QR Info Pod. The Bevan Exemplar industry partner produces patient information hubs linking patients to health information through encrypted QR codes.

Their technology-driven solution has been rolled out in GP practices, and their Bevan Exemplar partnership is trialling QR codes in Neath Port Talbot Hospital to enable patients to scan codes and access a wealth of information from their devices.

Helen Howson, Director, Bevan Commission, said: “We are absolutely delighted to see our Bevan Exemplars and their industry partners recognised at such a prestigious event. These projects are demonstrating how Wales is leading the way in healthcare innovation, powered by committed and creative NHS professionals.

The NHS in Wales needs radical thinking and action, and organisations such as the Bevan Commission who can give NHS professionals the time, space and support they need to trial and test out innovative ideas.”

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