Based at Keele Science and Innovation Park, Bitjam works with clients all over the world. But we do love working with those on our doorstep and Keele Business Bridge has been instrumental in helping us along the way. Bitjam is proud to be one of their specialist suppliers.
Local eligible businesses, with Healthcare and Medical technology ideas but without the resources to put it into action, can apply to Keele Business Bridge for an Innovation Voucher of up to £6000 for their innovative ideas to be matched with a relevant supplier and the voucher exchanged for services. Allowing many different business sectors to succeed in this market. Part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme.
Bitjam has recently been working on an exciting, transformative app with Dr GV Reddy.
As a Staffordshire based ENT surgeon, experienced General Practitioner and entrepreneur running GVR Products, Dr Reddy approached Business Bridge for funding for the ‘Reddyscope’.
Bitjam has been working with him directly to create an Android and iOS app which links to a lens adaptor. Dr Reddy’s invention, allows clinicians to attach a lens adaptor to a smartphone. This opens the app, takes a photo or video of the patient (ears, eyes etc) and adds the patient EMISS number, saving this in the app. They can then share this entry with colleagues via WhatsApp or email. The clinician can then delete old entries. This speeds up diagnostics and encourages collaboration between clinicians.
We have worked closely with Dr Reddy on the research and development of the app design, prototyping, logo, branding and testing, giving him our technical expertise with Business Bridge scheme funding.
Edith: Simple Telehealth
Bitjam is proud to be working with Simple Telehealth on another of their revolutionary SMS based clinical systems. Edith is the sister project to Nellie (Australia) and Florence (UK), first developed in 2008.
Telehealth doesn’t come much better than these widely used applications. Based on a simple premise of a chatbot any patient with a standard mobile phone can use the unique, low cost and simple system. The patient is sent a reminder message to track readings for weight, blood pressure, temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. Its fully customisable by the clinician and can measure a wide variety of data. These systems are speeding up healthcare processes, allowing clinicians and patients to interact and communicate easily.
Telehealth is extremely powerful. Adopting cutting edge technology to deliver health-related services and information, it allows the NHS to care for a larger amount of people in their own homes and therefore reduce GP visits and hospital admissions, possibly saving £2 billion in the longer term. It can be used to help diabetic patients, the elderly population, those with obesity, mental health recovery, the list goes on. Many people are finding it of use because it is “Telehealth with a human touch”.
- Patients aren’t tied to a machine at home or visits to surgery or hospital. They take readings at their convenience whether at home with family or on holiday.
- Regular, personalised health tips and medication reminders are sent to patients based on their readings. They become more involved and take more responsibility for their own healthcare.
- Frequent, short messages are unobtrusive and help the patient feel more cared for, more involved, and more in control of their own healthcare.
These three siblings, Edith, Nellie and Florence are leading the way in helping patients manage their own health, and we are delighted with the social impact this is making. SMS and chatbot technologies have proven to enable positive behaviour changes.
Our modern secure software design is being used with Simple Telehealth evidence-based methodology, through further funding from Keele Business Bridge.
For further information on these telehealth projects and the launch of Edith, keep an eye on our Twitter account @bitjam. You might also be interested in SIMPLE TELEHEALTH: NELLIE.
Name: Carl Plant
Position: Director at Bitjam
Carl is a director with a unique skill set. He originated as an NHS practitioner, with a background in creating technology and software applications, from web development to building high-impact and secure software solutions for public sector organisations. As director of Bitjam, Carl fuses his experience in frontline healthcare with his avidity for technology and a passion for creating solutions that have social benefit.
How did you merge your experience as a healthcare worker with your enthusiasm for complex software development to found Bitjam?
Most of my earlier digital work was building websites and applications, using very early – almost primitive – technologies compared to today. Much of my early work, especially in health and data visualisation, I began to share through a blog. I then got involved in the open data movement looking at ways to turn data from spreadsheets into stories or applications such as maps and graphs.
During early 2005 I was successful in getting the position of National Development Officer (NDO) for the UK Association for Solution Focused Practice (UKASFP). While developing the platform and building an online community I got the chance to develop a website for an NHS Mental Health Crisis resolution team. Soon after I began to work on numerous digital projects including an online support platform for people with learning disabilities which tested the ability to build accessible web applications. Meanwhile my datablog was attracting support, presenting opportunities to present and consult with the Royal College of Nurses, National Institute for Healthcare and Excellence (NICE), Nursing and Midwifery Council, marathon open data hacking sessions at The Guardian plus numerous health data hack sessions around the UK.
What advantages did this experience give you to develop Bitjam in to a niche software solutions company for public sector organisations?
Over the years I’ve led on many digital projects in the public sector, working through the challenges of creating a solution that solves the problem at hand, rather than making a solution fit a problem. Understanding the barriers to adoption is a key learning point, using an agile approach that works closely with the end users, and not being afraid early in the project to reject assumptions.
Bitjam prides itself on working with organisations and projects that have a social benefit. As director, why is this important to you?
I used to work in a company that made wiring harnesses for the military, I left this career to work with people, to make a difference to society and that need has stuck with me. This led to working with those with learning disabilities, then on to Mental Health as a nurse after going back to University. This need to do good remains with me today, I’m driven by the desire and understanding that digital technology can improve the lives of people. I see lots of companies who only see health tech as a commercial opportunity and you can see the effect that has on the products, when they don’t achieve the desired outcomes. I believe I can find the balance between creating a strong business while achieving good outcomes for society.
Bitjam’s tagline is “Developing technology from small ideas to global growth”. How do you achieve this using co-production techniques and agile methodology?
We work in partnership, walking side by side with our partners. I guess it’s my nursing experience that allows me to listen and develop equal relationships with clients. I believe the clients and the users of a digital services are the experts in their sector or life experiences and we need to tap into that rich resource. This isn’t always easy especially when working with marginalised groups, or people who have accessibility barriers to breakthrough.
We have expertise in how technology can be wired together and deployed, we can only create success by working in this close relationship with a shared set of goals with the users of the service.
I believe it’s important to allow flexibility in the development process, to allow testing and revision, and crucially, to allow your assumptions to be challenged.
After spending many years working with technologies and keeping on top of newer stable versions, and importantly having fantastic staff, we have the ability to launch solutions to scale, in some cases taking them global.
What do you think is crucial for digitalising the healthcare sector in the future?
Sometimes the best solutions are simple, they perform a singular task and perform it very well. We see the opportunity for emerging technologies like AI, VR etc. These will only work if they are designed for a specific purpose and not off-the-shelf solutions designed for other sectors bent to look like it solves a problem in health. Also as Clay Shirky once said, “Communications tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring”, this is true with many technologies.
We must not shift our focus too heavily on new technology and forget that older technology such as SMS and MMS provide perfect means of building effective solutions. Lastly, we have been sidetracked by Big Data and having been overlooking small data we use daily in datasheets, databases etc. We have yet to fully harness small datasets, and we need to continue connecting systems together. I believe the work that NHS Digital are doing to improve interoperability is key.
If Carl’s history and experience are suited to your own healthcare technology project, you can get in touch by sending an email here. He’s always got the kettle on!
The annual Staffordshire University Learning and Teaching Conference saw Carl take to the stage as the UK partner representative for Destiny last week.
The event is an opportunity for the University to show ways in which it’s moving forward to embrace digital technology and other ways of innovative learning. The Erasmus+ Destiny MOOC project is the latest digital technology project that the institution has become involved in so it was exciting for us to share this with the attendees.
Can Moocs combined with study clubs help bridge the transferrable skills gap reported by employers?
Carl presented the aim of the research to education staff and students at the event, introducing the project to those who will benefit most from its resources.
The talk discussed the challenges of the project – for example can open source MOOC’s provide solutions for the health and social care sector? Research findings from the project so far, such as the design success of the first mobile e-learning platform that was actually tested on nursing and midwifery students at the University, were also shared with the audience.
Carl pointed out that the future of the project would be a focus on improved virtual interaction for the mobile user. Mobile e-learning has been the focal point for Bitjam and Staffs University, as the main users are students with common access to mobile technology. A demand for fast communication and the ability to learn on the go are pivotal to the development of a student’s education in 2017.
Bitjam’s agile development and co-production working techniques fit perfectly with the requirements of this project as we were able to work efficiently and to a timescale that was in line with the international partners. If you would like to learn more about our innovative ways of working and how they might suit your own project, you can contact Carl here.