In November 2016, NHS England Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh revealed the eight health innovations joining the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) in year two of the programme. This follows the programme launch in 2015, when 17 innovations were selected and supported with their roll out across over 400 NHS organisations, benefiting millions of NHS patients. Dr Craig Newman, is from the University of Plymouth and will be supported by the South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN). His work one of the year two projects which joined the NIA. 

Craig is a Senior Research Fellow and Lead for Mobile Health Innovation at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry. He also works as a Clinical Psychologist in the NHS. His innovation is the Epilepsy Self Monitor (EpSMon), a free epilepsy risk management tool, developed with partners Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust and Oxfordshire-based charity SUDEP Action.

The EpSMon app will enable patients to monitor their well-being and know when to seek medical support, a behaviour change which could lead to a reduction in the number of deaths of people with epilepsy. Epilepsy costs the UK £1.5 billion per year and is one of the top 10 causes of death for those under the age of 70 and the third main cause of maternal deaths in the UK. This preventative tool could have a significant impact on the personal and financial costs of epilepsy through reductions in deaths and decrease in A&E appointments. 

Through the NIA, Craig will receive support from England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks, including the SW AHSN, whilst enhancing his knowledge of the commissioning environment in order to promote EpSMon and mobile health to become part of standard clinical practice. He said: 

“EpSMon will allow epilepsy patients to monitor their risk in between visits to doctors. It will remind them of the importance of taking medication correctly and seeing their GP on a regular basis.” 

Stuart Monk, Interim Director of Innovation at the SW AHSN said: 

“The NIA has a rigorous evidence-based selection process, selecting the best innovations and innovators for further support to help push NHS spread and adoption. The AHSN network can use its system knowledge at regional level to spread and adopt innovation at pace and scale across the UK. We are really excited to be part of the NIA programme in the South West and look forward to supporting Craig and the other eight innovations that have the capability to demonstrate tangible benefits for patients.”