An award-winning app developed by health and social care organisations in Cheshire has earned national NHS recognition.
The free CATCH app is one of 11 innovations chosen by NHS England to join the nationally-celebrated NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) programme.
The decision means that NHS England will encourage the nationwide adoption of CATCH, developed by NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS South Cheshire CCG, Cheshire East Council and Liverpool-based health technology studio Damibu Ltd to help parents and carers look after children aged 0 -5 when they fall ill and to seek medical advice when necessary.
The selection of CATCH as a nationally-important innovation comes just eight weeks after the app won the Innovation Award at the 2017 Excellence in Supply Awards organised by the NHS in the North West.
CATCH was also shortlisted this year for a Health Service Journal award and a Digital Entrepreneur Award (North) for Innovation in the Public Sector.
The acceptance of CATCH as an NIA follows a robust selection process including review by a collegiate of more than 100 assessors and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: “Modern medicine is on the cusp of a huge shift in how care is delivered, and practical innovations like these show how NHS patients will now directly benefit.”
Dave Burrows, chief executive of Damibu, said: “The Damibu team are really excited about the possibilities that joining the NIA family has to offer. Being selected for the NIA gives us a springboard to spread our innovations nationally. We intend to make the most of this unique opportunity.”
Dr Lesley Bayliss, NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG’s clinical champion for children, said: “I’m delighted that CATCH has been recognised nationally as an important innovation.
“The app is not only helping parents take great care of their children but is also helping reduce avoidable hospital activity, which is good news for people needing urgent and emergency care.”
Councillor Liz Wardlaw, cabinet member for health at Cheshire East Council, said: “Ensuring that children and young people across Cheshire East are physically and emotionally healthy is a key priority for us, and we know that the first few years of life are a critical period for a child’s development. I applaud the team’s efforts in developing a service which provides vital information for parents on subjects including infant feeding, safety at home and vaccinations.”
CATCH, which stands for Common Approach to Children’s Health, offers:
• NHS-approved health advice
• highly localised information about healthcare services and support groups available in Cheshire East
• timely notifications about key health dates, such as childhood immunisations
• an interactive map of Cheshire East healthcare services such as GP surgeries, dentists and pharmacies.
The app is also highly personalised as parents can input their child’s date of birth and it will only present health information and reminders that are relevant to their child’s age.
CATCH came about as a result of a study by the council’s Public Health department, which found that A&E attendance among 0-4 year olds in Cheshire East was much higher than the national average and that many of the children were being sent home with basic advice and information only. This suggested that self-care may have been a better option for many of the children.