Alere Inc. (NYSE: ALR), a leading supplier of healthcare solutions, along with key partners in health and social care in Leeds, have established a collaborative framework thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, designed to achieve improved outcomes within the National Health Service (NHS).
The collaboration has been agreed with Leeds and Partners, an organization responsible for attracting investment to Leeds, along with key local health and social care services providers including general practitioners and hospitals in Leeds. The framework will determine the benefits of leveraging existing information technology assets in use across the Leeds area, and ascertain if they can be enhanced through the use of Alere's healthcare platform.
The collaboration has been set up to advance the establishment of a Health Information Exchange in the city to support the existing work on the delivery of a single electronic health record that all NHS services could use, tightly integrated with social care services. This would enable a patient's entire care team to access comprehensive information and collaborate on care, while also allowing patients to engage with their care teams and take a more active role in their own health and wellness.
As part of the collaborative framework, patient data will remain securely held by the NHS and will not be shared by the health and social care partners in Leeds. The partners expect to demonstrate how sophisticated technologies can create the clinical excellence and financial outcomes needed to transform the region's and country's health system.
Tim Kelsey, National Director for Patients and Information at NHS England, said: "High quality information at the point of care is essential for the delivery of safe, high-quality, value-for-money care. NHS England is committed to ensuring this becomes embedded into the fabric of the NHS.
"The program in Leeds will help demonstrate how such an approach can help healthy people across the country stay well, while aiding people who suffer from chronic conditions better manage their care and ultimately lead more productive, healthier and happier lives."
Ron Zwanziger, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Alere Inc., said: "Alere shares the Leeds vision of healthcare transformation via information technology to enhance care coordination across health and social care.
"We are delighted to work with Leeds to help them build their vision for better healthcare in their city. The effort will electronically tie together disparate patient information for use by healthcare and social services providers, as well as for use by the patients themselves. Involving the patients directly in their own care – particularly those with chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, or patients being medicated with anti-coagulation therapy – we expect will improve delivery of cost-effective outcomes."
Leeds and Partners, as Chair of the Leeds Innovation Health Hub (LIHH), is coordinating these efforts across the participants. The framework aims to deliver the solution in phases. The program will help to accelerate much of the work that is already in progress within the LIHH and at a lower cost.
In light of the challenges faced by health service providers and the innovative solutions required, policy makers have identified health as a fundamental driver of economic performance. The LIHH has been working to establish Leeds as the UK's leading city for health and innovation, in which success could significantly improve services and increase jobs and investment. The implementation of the single electronic health record could be delivered in Leeds well ahead of the challenge set by the Secretary of State for Health.
Lurene Joseph, Chief Executive of Leeds and Partners and Chair of the LIHH, said: "We have a long history of innovation here in Leeds and the strategic collaboration with Alere will allow the city to once again grasp the health and innovation agenda. We will also be looking to establish a longer-term relationship with Alere in order to collaborate on future opportunities that will drive investment and job creation in the city.
"International collaboration such as this demonstrates that Leeds has an attractive proposition in the health and innovation sector. This is the first of many strategic relationships we shall be looking to build with a wide range of partners to create value and improve the health and wealth of the people of Leeds."
"Technology is key to delivering better care and managing costs," said Sumit Nagpal, Alere's Chief Architect and Program Leader for this Initiative, and CEO of Alere ACS. "Unfortunately, individual technologies often work in silos, and therefore, the benefits are slow to materialize. Alere offers the breadth of technology and services needed to tie together these silos. With our partners in Leeds, we will work to break down the walls and make it possible to create new care delivery realities that extend from the patient's home to social care."
Alere intends to site its operations to support this project in Leeds. A variety of other professionals will be needed, including new clinical and technology positions in local clinics and hospitals. In addition, should the current phase prove to be successful, wider adoption of the new system and potentially more from direct investment and collaboration could lead to hundreds of new jobs in Leeds over the next two years.
The effort will not only improve service, increase jobs and investment in Leeds, but following a successful rollout, also has the potential to transform healthcare across the UK and beyond.