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Spreading innovation to improve patient care

Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network is providing funding to enable a local SME to engage with Fracture Liaison Services across the area in order to speed up the adoption of an innovative approach to identify patients at risk of hip fracture.

One of GM AHSN’s goals is to enable faster adoption and diffusion of innovative products and services across Greater Manchester.

Through its new Accelerator programme, it has agreed funding to support Optasia Medical in demonstrating the benefits of its SpineAnalyzer software and associated service offering within an established Fracture Liaison Service.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trusts and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust are three organizations initially identified to be approached as part of this unique project.

SpineAnalyzer provides a software solution linking to PACS and working with spinal images in a number of modalities to facilitate the rapid assessment and clear reporting of vertebral fracture.  Vertebral fractures are the most common fragility fracture attributable to osteoporosis yet they remain difficult to identify. 

Linda Magee, Executive Director of Industry and Wealth at GM AHSN, commented: “We know that companies, especially SMEs, can face significant challenges trying to introduce their innovative products into the NHS and get them used at sufficient scale to really make a difference. Our role as an AHSN is to boost the economy and improve health and, by helping companies to do business with the NHS, we are creating really positive outcomes for patients.”

Osteoporotic hip fractures consume more hospital bed days than stroke, diabetes or heart attack, yet up to 25% of patients presenting to a Fracture Liaison Service (FLS) with a non-vertebral deformity already have a vertebral fracture which doubles the risk of future fracture. However only a third of vertebral fractures come to clinical attention. Taken together with factors such as poor reporting,  approximately 80% of fragility fracture patients remain untreated for underlying osteoporosis foregoing an important opportunity for medical intervention.

The project will enable Optasia to build on the evidence already gathered outside of the UK NHS and facilitate the production of a cost benefit model based on data gathered in an NHS setting. Trusts will be approached with one selected for a retrospective case audit to take place in order to establish a costing model (based on data gathered in an NHS setting) capable of predicting the potential cost and patient benefit for an adopting NHS Trust.

Anthony Holmes, Chief Executive Officer of Optasia, commented  “For an SME, developing a scalable and repeatable business model that operates within the complexities of the NHS framework is a significant task. This support from GM AHSN will allow us to speak with the right people very quickly and replace current assumptions with solid data. As a small company with limited resources, we will be able to significantly accelerate our strategy for engaging with the NHS.”