Inventors: Brandon Smith, Angelos Kolias & Professor Peter Hutchinson, Clinical Nuerosciences
Mentor: Dr. Bill Matthews
In global healthcare settings, there is a lack of formalised long-term outcome monitoring, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where loss to follow-up rates following hospital discharge remain high. Where solutions have been implemented, they are often exclusive to specific research projects and mostly found in high-income settings. Further, of the solutions that exist, very few utilise ‘common-denominator’ technologies such as SMS and telephone or have achieved a level of automation that does not further burden already-encumbered clinicians. This lack of follow-up is particularly problematic in low income countries where patients will typically travel long distances for treatment and often are not able to return for check-ups after the initial surgery.
The inventors have developed a prototype platform using SMS technology which can deploy scheduled and automated patient outcome surveys. This is currently being trialled with Addenbrookes Hospital to assess neurotrauma patient outcomes. Although the platform was developed based on the inventors’ experience with neurological patients, it could be used for follow-ups of any health condition.
The goal of the platform is to provide additional opportunities to engage with patients and lead to improved, systematic reporting of medical and surgical outcomes at the convenience of the patients, equipping the clinical team with automated, supplementary data post-discharge, and a reduced rate of patients lost to follow-up.
The challenge for the i-Team is to investigate how this could be used in practice in low and middle income countries, and on which medical areas the team should focus their efforts. It would also be helpful for them to look at sources of funding and how this impacts the type of organisation (commercial, social enterprise or charitable) that the inventors should set up to ensure maximum impact.