Healthcare ‘Ecosystem’ forges connections for better patient care


IMG_0339PATIENTS across Yorkshire and the Humber are set to benefit from a new regional networking group which aims to improve health and wellbeing through an increased use of digital technology.

The Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) has established the ‘Digital Health and Wellbeing Ecosystem’ to bring together partners from health and social care, academia, industry, the voluntary sector and patient organisations, increasing the uptake of digital health technology and in turn, enhancing patient care.

The Ecosystem, member of the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHA), international Network of Permanent Ecosystems, was unveiled at an exclusive launch event at Horizon, Leeds earlier this month.

IMG_0372The event, which saw more than 70 health and wellbeing leaders in attendance, gave delegates the chance to find out about other digital health projects underway in the region, as well as the opportunity to help shape the Ecosystem’s priorities and showcase their own digital health and wellbeing ideas.

Dr Stephen Stericker, Head of Programmes at Yorkshire and Humber AHSN, said: “The launch of the Digital Health and Wellbeing Ecosystem is an important step forward for patient care and care provision across Yorkshire and the Humber.

“By encouraging the creation of regional partnerships and the implementation of new technologies, such as self-care apps and tele-health, together we can break down the perceived organisational barriers and accelerate the uptake of digital healthcare.”

The Ecosystem’s online networking community is supplemented with quarterly meetings where members will review current healthcare challenges and discuss ways in which digital technology can help address these challenges.ECHA

During the launch, Brian O’Connor, Chair of the European Connected Health Ecosystem, spoke about the widespread benefits of sharing learning and best practice on an international footprint. You can find out more about the ECHA and International Ecosystem networks here.

Headline speaker and patient representative, Lindsey Fallow, discussed her personal experience of using digital apps to help manage multiple health conditions and the positive impact that had on her patient journey and personal life. A powerful and inspiring reminder of the difference digital innovations in the NHS can make

Companies with new innovations for the health and wellbeing sector participated in a Pitch and Pledge session with contributions from Yoomee Digital, Healthwatch York, DotForge Health & Data, Sheffield Flourish and Connect Create.(click the links view the presentations).


Delegates learned about ‘The Gold Line’ 24/7 telephone service for people in their last year of life, run by nurses at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust. The newly released Health Foundation Power of People film Gold Line: bringing healthcare home.’ provided a profound example of how the power of technology can transform patient care.

An overview of large-scale digital health and wellbeing initiatives across Yorkshire & Humber included Vanguard sites; Wakefield, Harrogate, Airedale and West Wakefield Vanguards who outlined exciting plans for incorporating technologies when developing new models of care. As well as Sheffield Care 2050; Hull 2020; Bradford Digital Health Enterprise Zone (DHEZ); and TechNorth. (Click the links to view each presentation).

Philippa Hedley-Takhar, Head of Investments and Partnerships at Yorkshire and Humber AHSN, said: “The Ecosystem’s launch is a really exciting development for the future of healthcare in our region.

“Technology has a vital role to play in the future of health and wellbeing. At a time when the health service is under enormous pressure, digital tools such as self-management apps and tele-health can make a huge difference – not only enhancing the patient’s experience, but helping the healthcare provider to deliver care more efficiently, too.

“We want as many people as possible to get involved in the Ecosystem, working with partners across the region will enable us to achieve our ambitions at pace and scale.”IMG_0376

The next Yorkshire and Humber Digital Health and Wellbeing Ecosystem meeting will take place on 15 March, in Sheffield, details will be available in the new year. The thematic focus of the meeting was voted for by attendees at the Ecosystem and will explore self-management of long-term conditions, looking at the opportunities for apps, digital health and social media platforms, use of data and behaviour change.

The Yorkshire & Humber AHSN welcome volunteers to join a small working group to design the next Ecosystem meeting. If you are interested in participating please email