New digital platform for patients with chronic illness could save health services millions

A pensioner has used his chronic illness to create a digital platform that could save health services millions of pounds and make a huge difference to patients’ lives.

(left to right): Professor Keir Lewis; Dave Taylor, co-founder and Technical Director, Ian Bond CEO & founder, Phil Groom Commercial Director; Vicky Agova Market Analyst and Researcher, Rui Zhang Senior Developer.

Ian Bond, 73, from South Wales in the UK, was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) ten years ago, shortly after quitting smoking. He is one of 3 million people in the UK with the condition, which costs the NHS £2bn each year. (Source: British Lung Foundation).

Mr Bond began keeping a comprehensive diary of ‘wellness points’ to track sleep quality, exercise, breathlessness, coughing, peak flow readings and any medication changes.

This diary meant Mr Bond’s doctor appointments became evidence based and formed the foundation for treatment.

Ian Bond and partner Dave Taylor set up Bond Digital Health Ltd. at the Life Sciences Hub Wales in Cardiff, and worked with local universities to develop the system further.

Bond Digital Health has now developed a range of digital products targeted at individual patients, medical practitioners, the pharmaceutical community and clinical developers.

The business has already achieved half a million pounds of commercial contracts in its first six months of trading, including orders for its digital tool kit for clinical devices developed for its ibemapp product.

This digital tool kit allows clinical developers to tailor the smart diary and app platform for other chronic conditions.

The contracts have allowed the company to take on new members of staff. It is now preparing for an investment round of £1m to accelerate the business further and plans to employ up to 12 members of staff within a year.

Mr Bond said:

The system we have developed allows patients to take responsibility for their own health and take control of their condition, allowing them to have a more constructive dialogue with their doctor, nurse or specialist.

The system has the potential to be of huge benefit to the NHS, giving medical practitioners access to more detailed patient data and consequently delivering more cost-effective and personalized treatments.

When fully implemented it will spot patient "crisis points” before they occur, allowing early intervention and saving the NHS money in emergency hospitalizations, which is very common with lung disease.

Bond Digital Health technical director Dave Taylor said:

The support of the Life Sciences Hub Wales was invaluable. Networking with other Hub members allowed us to make vital collaborations that boosted our visibility and helped turn our idea into a viable business.

Keir Lewis, professor of respiratory medicine at Swansea University and one of the foremost pulmonary experts in Wales, advised the team on the product’s suitability for the NHS and has since joined the board as a non-executive director.

He said:

This is a remarkable achievement. Ian and Dave have developed a platform that is comprehensive and yet simple to use. Not only does it have a range of uses in treating COPD, but it is flexible enough to evolve to help treat other conditions and diseases. Most importantly, this is something patients and doctors can use in the real world.

Cari-Anne Quinn, interim chief executive of the Life Sciences Hub Wales, said:

Bond Digital Health is an example of a business that has taken full advantage of what the Hub has to offer. As a growing start-up, it based itself in our facility and used our extensive network to make invaluable connections in the sector.

It has since gone from strength to strength and we are delighted to have been part of its journey, and are even more excited to see its potential come to fruition for the NHS, patients and wider life sciences sector. We wish its team every success in the future.

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