Definition Health partners with the NHS to bring digital health technology to North Cumbria
Definition Health has partnered with NHS North Cumbria Integrated Care (NCIC),
one of the largest and most rural trusts in the country, to digitise its surgical pathway for all
adult elective patients.
On Tuesday, 12 July, NCIC went live with Definition LifeBox, a digital pre-operative health
assessment app, which will electronically pre-assess the 30,000 patients a year who have
surgery at its two acute hospitals, West Cumberland and Cumberland Infirmary. And there
are plans to install Definition Recovery which will support patients at home after they have
had their operation.
NCIC successfully bid for funding from the NHS Elective Recovery Technology Fund to invest
in LifeBox and all patients who join any of the surgical pathways from the go-live date will be
Patients will complete the pre-assessment questionnaire online, from the comfort of their
home, using either their mobile phone, tablet, or computer. Two-way file sharing between
the Trust and the patient allows for secure exchange of information such as test results,
medication and useful advice and ensures patients have access to high-quality educational
resources regarding anaesthesia and surgery, well ahead of their surgical procedure.
For the small number that struggle with technology (on average between five and 10%),
they can use the Digital Assist function and nominate a family member, carer, or advocate
to help them, or have the support of the preassessment nurse team.
The driving force behind the project is Dr Quentin Kingsbury, the Trust’s pre-assessment
lead, who says: “This has been a really exciting project to work on and one that will bring
real change and improvements to the care of patients across North Cumbria.”
“I have been looking at introducing an elective digitised pathway for some time and when
Covid-19 hit, I knew we needed an embedded pre-assessment which would allow patients
and health professionals to work together and talk together on the same electronic
platform. And I was very keen to have it patient centric.”
“LifeBox is absolutely patient focussed and that is its strength. It is easy to use, the graphics
are simple, and patients can go back and watch the tailored education videos again without
trying to find some bit of paper or leaflet they have been given. Patients will feel more
empowered and will be more engaged in their surgery and that will lead to better
Switching to a digital process will bring an additional benefit for North Cumbrian patients as
it will reduce the number of hospital appointments and travel leading up to surgery – an
important factor given the Trust is one of the most rural in England. Its footprint stretches
from beyond Carlisle in the north of the county to Barrow in Furness in the south – a
distance of about 100 miles, with the Lake District in the centre.
Definition Health has been working closely with Dr Kingsbury, and the Trust’s pre-
assessment nurses, administrators, and digital programmers over the past six months,
holding regular training sessions ahead of the LifeBox launch.
“It has been a pleasure to introduce our digital solutions to NCIC and work with such a
dedicated and enthusiastic team,” says Sandeep Chauhan, orthopaedic surgeon, and co-
founder of Definition Health. “Our digital apps have been recognised nationally as essential
in supporting the NHS in its post-pandemic recovery, and we know NCIC will see an
improved patent experience and improved patient decision making in their surgical care
which will lead to improved patient outcomes.”