Epilepsy app team shortlisted for top medical award

A pioneering team that developed an app allowing people with epilepsy to monitor their own condition and health risk, has been shortlisted for a prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) Award in the Innovation Team category. The BMJ Award is one of the highest honours available within the medical and healthcare professions.

The EpSMon App which was recently added to the NHS Innovation Accelerator programme was developed in a collaborative project involving specialists from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and SUDEP Action.

The project was initially financially supported by KTs Fund, a trust set up by the family and friends of 20-year-old Katie Hallett, a children’s nursing student who died from Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) in January 2006.

The project began with the creation of the SUDEP & Seizure Safety Checklist, a clinical tool to support risk communication and management between clinicians and their patients. EpSMon was created as a digital, patient version of this tool to allow a holistic approach to risk management.

The free app which can be used on smartphones and tablets brings lifesaving information to the fingertips of adults with epilepsy, enabling patients to monitor their own seizures and  well-being between medical appointments. The app also shows whether risk factors have improved or worsened enabling patients to seek medical help sooner if required.

On hearing of the Projects shortlisting, Dr Rohit Shankar, Consultant in Adult Developmental Neuropsychiatry at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust commented: 

“This project has been a real multi-agency effort, with all parties involved demonstrating a commitment to develop and promote the app and encourage people with Epilepsy to use it effectively. This recognition is a much deserved tribute to the dedication and skills of our group members in producing this potentially lifesaving technology.” 

Dr Brendan Mclean, Consultant Neurologist at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust describes the shortlisting as a testament to the partnership, saying: 

"This is a great example of a group working entirely on improving patient care and safety. The project has continued to surpass our expectations and since its inception, EpSMon alongside its partner tool for clinicians, the SUDEP & Seizure Safety Checklist are already demonstrating improved communication, safety and reduced mortality."

Dr Craig Newman, Senior Research Fellow and Lead for Mobile Health Innovation at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry said: 

“Mobile technology is fast establishing a foothold in diagnosis, care and patient self-care and EpSMon is a great example of this. It is great that this innovative app has received the recognition of a shortlisting in such prestigious awards.”

Jane Hanna OBE, Chief Executive from the Wantage based SUDEP Action commented: 

“This project shows how innovation which grew from communities working with experts in the field and driven by deaths of young people has the potential to save future lives. To be recognised by this award is a testament to their motivation and determination to make every epilepsy death count, so that lessons continue to be learnt to help those living with the condition.”