Ampersand Health Help Transition to Virtual During COVID-19

DigitalHealth.London Accelerator SME Ampersand Health, whom recently became TechForce19 winners and received Innovate UK funding, is supporting the NHS and at-risk patients with long term inflammatory conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Founder and CEO Nader Alaghband said: “The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme has supported us in engaging with experts in the field and in refining our product to meet the needs of the healthcare system. It has been pivotal to Ampersand during this period particularly in enabling the right introductions.”

Supporting the NHS

Hospitals are moving to virtual appointments to keep the at-risk away from sources of infection and to maximise the capacity available to trusts to deal with acute cases of COVID-19. To support this Ampersand’s platform is offering its virtual monitoring platform for free to the NHS.

“The move to virtual outpatient care has been on the cards for a long time and tools like Ampersand Health’s could be an important part of making this swifter-than-anticipated transition work for patients and the NHS,” said Dr. Bu Hayee, consultant gastroenterologist at King’s College Hospital.

Supporting the vulnerable who need to stay at home

Ampersand has also launched a mobile application developed to help a specific segment of the at-risk, patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), to improve their self-care. My IBD Care’s Lifestyle and Wellbeing courses can be used long-term to help people have more control over their lives. Engaging with these expert-led courses could help in prolonging patient’s periods of remission, as well as keeping flare-ups at bay.

“At a time where some individuals on immunosuppressants, steroids or biologic medicines are advised to self-isolate, this digital therapeutic is a timely tool for maintaining health and happiness at home,” adds Dr. Bu Hayee.
“The app has been vital in helping me with my crohn’s. It really helps me manage my medication and my general well-being. Highly recommend.”, says Samuel, Crohn’s Disease patient.

Replicating successes

As a response to the pandemic, NHSX, Department of Health and Social Care and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, working with partners PUBLIC and the AHSN Network, have run a fast-track competition for innovators, creating a pool of technologies that have the potential to be rapidly scaled regionally and nationally to meet specific COVID-19 related needs. Ampersand Health is one of the 18 innovative digital solutions who have been awarded funding under the TechForce19 challenge to develop courses that enable IBD patients to self-manage their conditions remotely. Back in May, the Government announced that 800 innovative businesses and start-ups, including Ampersand Health, are set to benefit from a £40 million investment to drive forward new technological advances, particularly as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

As part of Techforce19, the company’s intervention for IBD patients showed that people who took its courses for just one week experienced improvements in disease related quality of life and reductions in anxiety and depression. Innovate UK funding granted to Ampersand will allow the company and its partners, including the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, to invest in and evidence similar new behavioural medicines for people living with inflammatory arthritis to replicate the success of the products to support people living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This new version of the platform is available for free – for the NHS via G-Cloud 11 and for patients via the app store.

One patient notes of the app, “I was diagnosed with RA and a lot of medications, appointments, blood tests and exercises were thrown at me. I have had such a hard time keeping track of my medications and appointments and this app helps me keep everything organized in one place. It reminds me to take my medications on time”.