Demand for digital diagnostics and social prescribing services by healthcare providers has significantly increased since the Covid-19 pandemic, as the NHS looks at alternative ways of caring for its patients during lockdown.
Among those to answer the call is medtech company Signum Health, which has won six contracts to supply its digital solutions since the beginning of 2020 to date.
Founded by former public health worker Victoria Norman, the Caerphilly-based company is one of a handful helping healthcare providers UK-wide make the move to online service delivery and has seen its technology and services more in demand than ever.
Victoria explained: “I don’t think this rate of change and the embracing of new technology within the NHS would have happened were it not for the Covid-19 pandemic. Hospitals and health services found themselves unable to carry out its day to day work and looked around for alternatives, which is where medtech and companies like ours have stepped in.”
“The word unprecedented has been bandied around a lot in the past six months, but it is very true in the world of medtech. The NHS has needed to adapt and quickly, it faced a challenge like no other and turned to technology to help.”
Victoria added: “I don’t think the health service will ever be the same after Covid-19, both in terms of how it has dealt with the pandemic and how patients and practitioners alike have had to use more digital services as a matter of course – due to necessity.”
“Digital diagnostic, online appointments and social prescribing services will now increasingly become the new norm.”
With a “more than medicine” approach, Signum Health has developed a digital health shop, where health care providers can access and pick and choose blocks of service to suit their patient’s needs all from Signum’s platform to create their own virtual health service. Health blocks that Signum Health offer include social prescribing – giving patients access to non-clinical services such as weight loss support, or supporting those socially isolated – to an online dermatology referral and diagnosis tool, as well as a range of health and wellbeing tools, providing general advice and encouragement to patients. All of the referrals and data from each block of the platform is then recorded in the patient’s medical records, or to a central point.
It has recently delivered an all-Wales online STI platform in conjunction with Public Health Wales to ensure continuation of sexual health services during COVID-19.
i-navigator, Signum Health’s digital social prescribing service, has been awarded a contract to supply primary healthcare services in Cornwall and is soon to be rolled out in the Midlands too. Signum’s tele-dermatology module, which provides online dermatology referrals, has partnered with other health tech companies to provide remote diagnosis and digital health services through its different platforms.
Victoria added: “Our pick and mix digital health model was created to allow health services to create a bespoke virtual platform for their patients, powered by Signum Health. Our core goal is to enable patients, pharmacies, GPs and other alternative healthcare services, to work more efficiently by sharing health information in a way that benefits everyone.
“Social prescribing and online clinical referral and diagnosis is key to the future of the NHS rather than by a face to face consultation – we are really proud to have supported the NHS during this time, and look forward to increasing innovation in the health service in the future.”