Welcome to our 2023 newsletter! We will be discussing some of the new upcoming projects that we have been working on, such as W8Buddy and SpeakUp app from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust. We will also be discussing all of our MidTECH updates, sharing upcoming events, tips on intellectual property and more.
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW), and DDM Health Limited have collaborated to develop an innovative digital platform called W8Buddy. The aim of the platform is to improve health outcomes of patients with diabetes, obesity, and other related chronic health conditions, accessible via phone or desktop. Users benefit from a personalised weight management plan to develop attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, and skills to self-manage their health and this is underpinned by the patients having access to a supportive community.
W8Buddy has been developed for NHS Tier 3 Weight Management Services, but due to its initial success and positive feedback, currently (2023) the project is being extended into Tier 4 Weight Management Services – Bariatric Surgery.
The key objectives of the W8Buddy app were to:
- Improve the health outcomes of patients with obesity and/or chronic conditions.
- Provide support to encourage a healthy lifestyle and to create healthy habits.
- Develop a sustainable model for managing obesity and other chronic conditions.
- Build a relationship between patients, healthcare providers, and the wider community to promote health and wellbeing.
W8Buddy is supported by a dedicated team of healthcare professionals, including, weight management doctors, dieticians, psychologists, and physical activity specialists, who provide personalised guidance and support to patients.
The W8Buddy platform also includes a wide range of educational resources and tools, such as healthy eating/meal plans, exercise programs, coaching to support lifestyle modification and self-monitoring tools. This helps patients to stay on track and achieve the goals that are set. Each patient’s experience is tailored to their goal, accessibility, literacy needs, language, disease profile, ethnicity, age, gender, and location.
The platform can be accessed via phone or desktop and provides patients with a personalised weight management plan. This management plan then helps shape attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, and skills on how a patient can self-manage their health. The platform is available in 12 different languages and has a dashboard that clinicians can access to assess real time progress.
The W8Buddy project has been successful in achieving a range of positive outcomes for patients and the broader NHS.
- Improved health outcomes of patients who participated in the W8Buddy program, particularly with weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other health markers.
- Increased social support with the wider community by allowing patients to connect and share their experiences with others who were also going through similar struggles.
- W8Buddy has helped strengthen the relationship between patients, healthcare providers and the community, thereby promoting healthy living beyond a hospital setting.
- W8Buddy is a sustainable and scalable model for weight management and related chronic conditions.
Due to the success of the program, the project is now progressing into its second phase with the addition of new content, opening the platform to those patients moving from Tier 3 to Tier 4 – Bariatric Surgery under the weight management service. As before, the content will be created by a multi-disciplinary team comprising dietitians, psychologists, and doctors.
How did MidTECH help?
MidTECH Innovations supported UHCW to develop their W8Buddy platform, enabling the project to progress from concept through to a fully commercialised platform, with the right legal protections in place. The Trust relied upon assistance from MidTECH to help understand its legal rights around Intellectual Property, to facilitate commercial negotiations with DDM, and to draft the legal agreements safeguarding the UHCW’s interests, thereby ensuring the Trust received due recognition and financial returns from the market availability of the platform.
“The world of Intellectual Property can be tricky. We were fortunate that MidTECH could offer us their advice on how to navigate through its complexities, especially the legal agreements. During the time we worked together on this project, everyone at MidTECH was patient and supportive.” – said Emilia Olejniczak, the Innovation Facilitator.
“Their hard work and expertise can make any project a breeze.” – added Emilia.
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust – SpeakUp app:
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW) is one of the largest teaching Trusts in the UK, serving a population of over a million people.
Improvements of communication and trust have a direct impact on patient care, quality, staff well-being, engagement, and retention. The Trust is committed to providing high-quality care, ensuring patient and staff safety, and as a part of this commitment a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian (FTSUG) was appointed. Following engagement with staff and reviewing existing data, the FTSUG wanted to create an additional avenue to encourage and empower all staff to raise concerns. An app seemed most relevant to give convenience, privacy, and access to appropriate information as well as to the Freedom to Speak Up team.
The Aim of the App:
The Trust developed the concept of a bespoke SpeakUp app – to enable staff to report any concerns in a convenient and easy way.
The app gives all UHCW employees access to the Freedom To Speak Up team – an impartial and independent source of advice. The app empowers staff to improve the quality of care, working environment and wellbeing by reporting issues like patient/staff safety, risk, bullying, illegal activities, wrongdoing, malpractice or any concerns that may impact on the service UHCW deliver.
It also aims to encourage a culture of openness and transparency, where everyone feels empowered and at ease to speak up about anything that gets in their way of doing a great job.
Having researched and engaged with staff, the Trust’s FTSUG – Lorna Shaw – recognised that employees would benefit from an additional route to report their concerns; one which was both easily accessible and user-friendly. Lorna approached the Innovation team at UCHW, to create a bespoke SpeakUp app. The app was prototyped by the Innovation team using the App Rail prototyping software and trialled internally to assess usability and functionality.
The Trust partnered with Future Workshops Ltd, a software development company, to create a fully commercialised version of the platform suitable for use by other Trusts across the UK. The app is available on iOS and Android.
How the App Works:
Once the app has been downloaded by UHCW staff, they can report their concerns or request advice easily and quickly in one of three ways:
- In confidence
SpeakUp provides messaging for anonymous concerns, meaning that staff can clarify their concerns and stay informed about the paths of resolution, whilst remaining anonymous. Staff can select who should address their concern, either by choosing a specific Ambassador, Guardian or expressing they do not have a preference.
Where staff members opt for the anonymous route, there is an opportunity to understand why they have chosen this, which can provide insight and invaluable learning on how the Trust can create a more open and honest culture where concerns are raised at ease and listened to.
All formal concerns are directed to the FTSU Guardian who will thank the staff member, share the concern with appropriate level of management and provide feedback regarding progress and outcomes.
The UHCW SpeakUp app has enabled the Trust to identify and address concerns quickly and effectively, covering a range of issues, thereby improving patient safety and quality of care. The app has been supporting a culture of openness and transparency at UHCW, important for the Trust’s commitment to providing high-quality care for all. This has been evidenced through feedback, with staff members reporting that they feel more comfortable to raise concerns, knowing that they can do so anonymously.
How Did MidTECH Help?
MidTECH Innovations supported the project to progress from concept through to a fully commercialised platform, with the right legal protections in place. The Trust relied upon assistance from MidTECH to help understand its legal rights around Intellectual Property, to facilitate commercial negotiations with Future Workshops, and to draft the legal agreements safeguarding UHCW’s interests, thereby ensuring the Trust received recognition from the market availability of the platform.
Emilia Olejniczak, Innovation Facilitator at UHCW:
“We want staff to feel they can safely share what worries them about their workplace and be heard. The hope with the SpeakUp app is to support this as well as to foster a culture of openness and learning.”
“This project was complex in nature, and it was invaluable to have MidTECH as a partner who provided legal and commercial advice. They took the time to understand our needs and challenges and shaped the legal agreements to reflect them.”
Introduction to Intellectual Property and MidTECH:
Is your NHS Trust within the West Midlands? Well, we are offering FREE intellectual property and an introduction to MidTECH sessions. These sessions will showcase the services we have to offer, explain how we work, and how we can help bring your innovation to life. We will explain how we can help protect your ideas from being stolen or copied.
We would love the chance to introduce ourselves to your NHS Organisation. Just contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange a date to come visit!
We are thrilled to unveil our brand-new website design! At the beginning of this year, we launched our updated website. We designed it for you. Our new website design introduces a sleek navigation menu making it easier to find the information that you need. The visual alongside the responsive layout allows a smooth experience across all devices.
With this new design you will spend less time searching for the content and more time engaging with what matters to you… that’s innovation, intellectual property, the NHS, and healthcare!
Are you ready to experience our new design? Visit our website now and find all the information you need for your innovation.
See below the fantastic numbers we achieved last financial year!
What is a Trademark?
You maybe thinking what a trademark is… well it is a sign or a symbol that allows your services or your products to be identified as yours and not your competitors. You can apply for a trademark which will protect your sign or symbol from anyone else using it without your permission.
Do I have to get Trademark protection for my product name or symbol?
No, you don’t but it makes protection much easier. If you don’t register your mark, then you need to rely on an unregistered trademark or other forms of legal protection if a competitor were to brand themselves in a similar way to you. This can prove to be very complicated and expensive. Registering a trademark, on the other hand, is relatively cheap and simple and something that MidTECH can assist you with.
However, if you do decide not to register your mark then you can still use it as an unregistered trademark and place a small ‘TM’ next to the mark.
If you do register it and the application is successful, then you will be able to place the registered trademark symbol next to your mark – ®.
If you need help, here at MidTECH we can provide the expertise and resources to progress your project at no personal cost or risk to you. We believe that in this way we can offer the support necessary to achieve real and lasting benefit for the NHS, its patients, and the healthcare industry.