Health Service Journal ‘Rising Star’ shortlist for health app designer

Dr Craig Newman, Mobile Health Tech Innovation Lead at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and Principal Clinical Psychologist at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, has been shortlisted in the ‘Rising Star’ category of the prestigious HSJ Awards 2016.

Craig has been recognised for his impressive achievements in the development of health apps which are of positive benefit to clinicians and patients worldwide.

He was instrumental in the development of ACEmobile - a free-to-use app to support the assessment of dementia, worldwide. 

ACEmobile is the first of its kind; a mobile technology-based tool that supports the assessment of dementia. The tool provides support through the whole process, meaning more members of the clinical team can feel confident carrying out this type of assessment. Designed by clinicians for clinicians, ACEmobile also collects secure and anonymised data to allow the team to improve our understanding of dementia and our ability to detect it earlier.

ACEmobile guides the user through the gold-standard Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination (ACE-III). The ACE-III is one of the most popular and commonly-used paper and pencil screening tools for dementia. The app removes the need for clinicians to learn the ACE-III manual and it also automatically calculates patients’ scores and creates a report to go into their medical records. 

Two years on from the launch of ACEmobile, Craig is now developing a new app resource based on it, called MiniACE. MiniACE takes the questionnaire aspect of ACEmobile and combines it with its score/data gathering and analysis system. As a result, MiniACE will become a useful tool for GPs and others in a primary care environment to assess their patients for dementia – resulting in even more people being diagnosed earlier.

Both ACEmobile and MiniACE are available free of charge to clinicians.

Craig has also developed an award-wining app in EpSMon (Epilepsy Self-Monitor). Launched last year in conjunction with epilepsy charity SUDEP Action, Cornwall Foundation NHS Trust and Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, EpSMon is a self-monitoring app aimed at people who experience seizures. It brings life-saving knowledge to the fingertips of people with epilepsy by allowing them to assess their risk every three months. It prompts them to see their doctor when their risks increase and suggests simple ways they can lower their risks. 

It does this by asking the questions that formed part of the axed GP monitoring service, including information about an individual’s last doctor’s appointment and whether they have any other illnesses or conditions. The app analyses the answers and creates advice ranging from ‘all clear, no further action required’ to ‘make an appointment with your doctor now.’ The app analysis can be used by a GP to decide the best treatment regime for their patient going forward.

In essence it can be used by those with epilepsy in a similar way to which a patient with hypertension might use a domestic blood pressure device to monitor their condition.

Craig has a wide range of apps under development, in areas including; epilepsy in children, Parkinson’s disease, headache management and chronic pain.

Craig said: 

“It is a great honour to be shortlisted for this award, and my thanks go to those who have nominated me and supported me in my work. In an environment where health professionals are under intense scrutiny and pressure to diagnose accurately, health apps are becoming valuable and essential tools. Accurate diagnoses are not just good news for patients – they are also vital in ensuring that health service research resources are deployed appropriately.”
Professor Robert Sneyd, Dean of Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, commented: 

“We are extraordinarily proud of Craig’s achievements and we are delighted that he has been shortlisted for such a prestigious award – it is greatly deserved. As an organisation training and developing the health professionals of tomorrow it is entirely appropriate that a member of our team has been recognised for his work in developing what is undoubtedly the technology at the centre of innovations in diagnosis and self-care.”
Dr Phil Hughes, Medical Director of Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, added: 

“This is a fantastic achievement for Craig and is real recognition of the innovative work benefiting both clinicians and patients. We really wish Craig all the best at the awards.” 
Jane Hanna, Chief Executive for SUDEP Action, said: 

“We are really excited to see Craig’s contribution towards EpSMon being recognised in this way by such a prestigious nomination. We would like to congratulate Craig and wish him the very best at the awards ceremony.”