Robert Sweeney

Please note this page was last updated in 2019. Visit Robert’s LinkedIn profile for more information.

Robert Sweeney achieved a first class honours degree in BA Business Studies which led him to managing a range of healthcare organisations across a range of different areas. This includes NHS Primary Care, Pharmacy, Private healthcare and beauty services. This led to working with a GP local provider network organisation and then on to the GP Federation for Greenwich where he currently operates in a Business Development role.

Digital Pioneer Fellowship project: Piloting a smoking cessation mobile application

Problem: Greenwich Health Ltd has a service contract with the local borough council delivering prevention services borough-wide. Part of this offering involves smoking cessation services delivered using traditional methods (i.e. face to face consultations, with Nicotine replacement therapy and Champix). While this can be a hugely effective method of supporting an individual to quit smoking, there is a desire to create a more holistic service offering which delivers support to all patients in the most effective way for their lifestyle which taps into their habits and trigger points.

There are currently 52,200 smokers in Greenwich of which 36,540 are attempting to quit smoking, unsuccessfully. The current service offering is not entirely accessible for all groups and so Robert is proposing to deliver a pilot for 100 patients using a company already established in the smoking cessation mobile application market, Quit Genius. Robert already has the infrastructure in place in terms of identifying the patients as they are already being referred from general practice into the centres and so have an immediate audience to plug into this new pathway.

Solution: Successful discussions with Quit Genius has enabled Robert to jointly create a business case with initial costings. The proposed pilot will seek to offer an alternative route to support and essentially adds another pathway in our offering using Quit Genius’ behaviour change programme. The app is easy to access and easy to use and will transform the way patients receive this vital support.

Scale: Robert will use the pilot to measure effectiveness in terms of quit rates and look to prove cost savings in terms of increased success rates and the associated system cost-saving benefits of enabling more quitters. Robert will have this offer running directly with/alongside his Trusts current delivery model which provides like-for-like evaluation opportunities to really allow for rich data for proof of success.

Desired impact: The long term aim of this project is to create a proof of concept which can roll out to a wider audience both within Greenwich and looking further out into wider population groups.

Progress to date: The service was launched in the summer 2019. In the first month, they signed up 6 patients from a target of 100 for first year. Robert realised his biggest challenge was going to be getting patients to sign up. After some tweaks to the approach and introducing a text message campaign with specific practices, they started to see an increase in sign-ups. As of December 2019 there were at 70 patients signed up. Feedback from these patients indicate that Robert and his team have achieved quit rates of 50%-60% vs the normal rates of 30%-40% with traditional face-to-face quit smoking interventions. Robert is now looking to build a case to support the scaling of the intervention to provide access to it to a wider population.

“I have always been interested in Digital, and I had completed a diploma a year prior to the Fellowship. I joined the programme because I was looking to build a digital portfolio within the organisation, and my line manager put the Fellowship on my radar.

The elements of the programme that created the most value for me were the Action Learning Set sessions, particularly when I faced the barrier around lack of sign-up. The power of the Set was being able to get lots of different perspectives on solving the problem. It was invaluable. They were able to guide me. I also gained a lot from the session on Agile delivery. I used the learnings from this to coordinate the team better.

I’m now involved in a lot more digital transformation projects, for example e-Consult and Digital Diabetes. I get to represent the Federation at meetings and use this as an opportunity to champion digital transformation.” – Robert Sweeney