Clinicians look to tapp into global potential for health tech innovation

Clinicians from the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have created a mobile app called TAPP to help transplant patients better manage their health after life-saving operations.

The clinical team is now looking to roll out the app across national and international healthcare markets.

The team behind the app took part in the Healthcare Entrepreneur Exchange Programme (HEEP), an international innovation competition which provides the opportunity for clinical entrepreneurs to establish overseas collaborations and test their ideas in different healthcare settings.

Dr Stewart Gibson, speciality doctor in hepatology at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Every transplant marks the beginning of life-long treatment, with patients requiring ongoing specialist follow-up and medication.

“Our app provides tools to empower patients to manage their health and to make it easier to communicate with their clinical team.

“The challenges our transplant patients face are not unique to Leeds; they are faced by patients and clinicians everywhere.

“Working with HEEP, we have been able to get invaluable feedback on our app. We believe our innovation can help patients and clinicians across the world.”

Alice Greenwood, clinical nurse specialist at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Our team developed the app to be patient-centred and accessible across a range of mobile devices.

“We know this is very familiar to some of our patients, particularly those in younger age groups.

“The app will allow patients to access a resource hub with information they can trust, alongside ways to manage their medication and health.”

Omar Masood, consultant transplant surgeon at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “HEEP has been instrumental in giving our team the opportunity to collaborate with the wider healthcare team to bring innovative solutions to our patients.

“TAPP represents the move towards utilising technology and innovation integrated with health care access to empower our patients.”

Transplants are generally very successful though it can take a year or more for patients to fully recover.

Recipients must take immunosuppressants for the rest of their lives, have regular check-ups and stay as healthy as possible with a good diet and regular exercise.

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust launched the Healthcare Entrepreneur Exchange Programme in 2020 with Spain’s Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol at the Institut Català de la Salut to promote advances in healthcare systems through collaboration.

It aims to empower clinical innovators to develop the healthcare solutions of the future.

The Innovation Pop Up at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust provides expert advice to medical/clinical innovators covering regulatory, intellectual property and technology matters as the clinicians prepare to launch TAPP.

Dr Chris McKee, business development and innovation manager at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This exciting project saw many entries from teams in the Trust.

“This was something that we were delighted to see, especially as the competition took place during the pandemic.”