There’s more to medicine than doctors and nurses, technology is increasingly vital to the healthcare industry…
It shouldn’t take a global pandemic to remind us just how important our health is, but 2020 has been a reality check for many. Whether it’s helping stop the spread of coronavirus or creating a safe, secure way to share patient data, technology is now essential to the medical world. And these Leeds-based companies are leading the way.
NHS Digital, headquartered in Leeds, uses its world-class IT knowledge to manage national technology projects for the health and care sector. The company, which is proud of its focus on diversity and sustainability, employs over 2,500 people,1,800 of which are based in Leeds.
NHS Digital is responsible for the core IT infrastructure in the NHS. This includes NHS 111 online, a web version of the non-emergency phone line. The site saw a 95-fold increase in traffic in March 2020 when it became the place for people to get trustworthy advice about coronavirus symptoms.
“Leeds is a really exciting place to be in our sector right now, and we’re really proud to play our part in that,” Julie Pinder, Chief People Officer at NHS Digital told us. “The cutting edge work we do, using our deep information technology expertise on huge scale national tech projects, delivers real benefit to everyone in England.”
TPP is a global health IT company, working on cutting-edge technology to transform lives around the world. Their pioneering products include digital health software, apps and ground-breaking research.
But it’s not just TPP’s products that are revolutionary, they’ve also broken the mould in terms of company culture. “An employee’s value at the company isn’t based on how long they’ve been here,” Rebecca Phoenix, part of TPP’s recruitment team, told us. “TPP operates a flat hierarchy, so staff can make a difference and work on new projects from the moment they start.”
TPP’s hands-on training approach means new employees have plenty of responsibility from day one, with great support from the team around them. This means applicants to their graduate programme don’t need to have any prior experience – coding or otherwise.
Leeds-based EMIS Health, formerly known as Egton Medical Information Systems, provides IT systems for doctors and pharmacists. Their software allows patient records to be shared electronically, making the process of accessing information quicker and safer.
They’re the brains behind Patient Access, an app that allows users to book GP appointments, view their medical records and order prescriptions online, helping to ease the process of visiting the doctor. The app has been downloaded by more than 10 million people in the UK.
In March 2020, EMIS added a new coronavirus symptom checker to the app, providing information to hundreds of thousands of people looking for advice on their own health. It also offers users the option to have initial consultations for physiotherapy over a video call, instead of in person.
NHSX is a relatively new government unit that’s responsible for setting national policy and developing best practice for NHS technology, digital and data. It was set up in 2019 with people from NHS England working alongside the Department of Health and Social Care.
One in four people in the UK will face a mental health problem every year, but historically, education and access to help has been lacking. One of NHSX’s big projects is using technology to support people’s mental health, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable people. This has included identifying and supporting innovators with viable solutions, like ThinkNinja, an app that teaches 10 to 18-year-olds about emotional wellbeing, helping them to build resilience and talk about their own mental health.
But that’s just the beginning. From cybersecurity to AI, social care to health records, they’re involved in every aspect of digital transformation as they look for new ways to improve healthcare.
Pharmacy 2 U
Long before lockdown started, Pharmacy2U were offering online prescriptions and pharmacy services approved by the NHS. Founded in Leeds in 1999, the company was the UK’s first online pharmacy and they’ve become a pioneer in the use of internet prescriptions.
Today, they’re the UK’s biggest pharmacy. With 200 employees, the company manages and delivers prescriptions to patients’ homes all over the UK, something that has become all the more important during the coronavirus pandemic.
The NHS Repeat Prescriptions app simplifies the process of getting medicine, while also saving the NHS money. It requests the prescription from your doctor and orders it to be delivered to your door. The company also offers online consultations using a network of UK-based doctors – all patients have to do is fill in a short questionnaire.