In 2014, the NHS published its ‘Five Year Forward View’ aimed at recognising and outlining potential solutions to the big questions facing healthcare services in England. The following year, it proposed development of a small number of ‘Test Beds’ which aim to evaluate innovations in technology and service delivery which could address some of the most complex issues facing patients and the NHS.

The Sheffield City Region Test Bed, which will be known as the ‘PErfect Patient PAthway (PEPPA)’, aims to transform the way long-term conditions, such as diabetes and Respiratory diseases, are managed. It will look at the potential of harnessing new technology, as well as new ways of delivering care, to help patients manage their conditions at home rather than in clinics or hospitals. Successful innovations will be available for other parts of the country to adopt and adapt to the particular needs of their local population.

We’re excited to be one of a small number of pharmaceutical industry partners to be involved in the Sheffield region Test Bed programme – our focus will be on asthma, and on assessing how digital technology can help patients manage their condition more effectively. We are very proud to be part of this initiative and hope to support Sheffield in making this aspirational vision a reality.

The  CareTRx™, a novel cloud-based solution developed by Gecko Health Innovations, is being used in the Test Bed programme. This technology solution encompasses a hardware sensor connected to metered dose inhaler which measures activation of the inhaler, and transmits this information to an easy-to-use mobile app, where patients can monitor their dosage, receive notifications, and view statistics on how accurately they’re taking their medicine. Data is also sent to a case management dashboard, where healthcare professionals can identify high-risk patients. This ‘smart’ inhaler, is designed to simplify chronic Respiratory disease management by connecting patients and caregivers through remote monitoring and real-time adherence tools.

The Sheffield Test bed project is spilt into two phases:

Phase 1, which began in autumn 2016, will last up to one year and will involve approximately 1,000 patients with moderate-to-severe asthma.  In this phase of the programme, a service evaluation will be conducted via online questionnaires; to see how patients and clinicians actually use a ‘smart’ inhaler and how engaged they are with this type of programme. Using this information, patients who are expected to need additional support in adhering to their treatment plan will be identified and provided with text prompts and emails linking them to motivational content and additional information on the management of asthma.

Phase 2 will involve a larger number of patients from the wider Sheffield area. In this second phase clinical outcomes from Phase 1 will be measured and validated.

NHS Chief Executive, Simon Stevens, said that the Test Bed programme aimed to:

“Cut through the hype and test the practical benefits for patients when we bring together some of these most promising technologies in receptive environments inside the world’s largest public, integrated health service.”1

The Test Bed provides a unique opportunity for Sheffield City Region and Teva to demonstrate how the integration of the CareTRx™ technology can benefit both patients and the NHS.  It will also offer insight into what combination of digital technology, behavioural science and remote support will derive the greatest benefit, allowing for the future development of valuable respiratory solutions and services that go beyond the pill.

“Teva is committed to collaborating with the National Health Service and other professional bodies to drive innovations in Respiratory care and we look forward to the outcomes.”

James Hadwin, Teva Pathway Development Lead (UK)

You can also read about our other partnership projects with the NHS and not-for-profit Respiratory organisations in this section of the website.