Supporting the roll out of innovations across the NHS

At the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) we support the development, evaluation, adoption and diffusion of innovations across the NHS to improve health outcomes and support the economy.

As part of our commitment to sustainable healthcare, we’re supporting Jump to roll out an innovative carbon engagement tool to NHS staff, following their successful SBRI Healthcare* application. Jump work with organisations to develop digital employee engagement programmes to create sustainable behaviour change and have been awarded £100k to work across 17 NHS Foundation Trusts across England.

AHSN NENC has provided support from the outset, including help with application writing, and we continue to work closely with Jump to support this project. Read on for more details about the progress during phase one.

As the UKs largest employer, the NHS is responsible for 4% of the nation’s carbon emissions and has a crucial role to play in the 2050 net zero emissions target.

In 2019, an ambitious Greener NHS campaign was launched to reduce its own carbon footprint and improve health outcomes for our population. The SBRI Healthcare Competition 18 seeks to address this target and is funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement, and works in collaboration with the Greener NHS Programme, the Accelerated Access Collaborative and The AHSN Network.

A key part of the NHS achieving net zero will be informing and motivating its 1.3 million staff to make several small changes to the way they work. Helping the NHS to achieve this, Jump have been awarded £100k from SBRI Healthcare to develop a world-first healthcare specific carbon engagement tool.

As individuals, small nudges have more effect on decision making than big, organisation-level strategies. Jump’s ‘Green Rewards’ schemes encourage employees to change behaviour and are currently being piloted at 17 NHS Trusts. These bespoke digital programmes are tailored to each Trust and use gamification techniques to encourage individuals to make sustainable lifestyle choices.

For example, incentives are used for a wide range of low-carbon actions through a points-based system where users earn points for completing actions, i.e. 200 points for cycling to work. These points are used to create leader boards on an individual and team basis. Users then compete against each other to appear on the leader board and the top points earners each month are rewarded with their choice of sustainable and/or high street vouchers. To date, Green Rewards have recorded 156,000 sustainable actions and saved 277tCO2 eq (carbon dioxide equivalent), comparable to 1300 operations.

As part of the SBRI funded programme of work, Jump have worked with NHS Trusts in Newcastle upon Tyne and Leeds to determine how to encourage staff to adopt low carbon decision making. Decisions could be in procurement, operations and potentially even clinical decision making. The tool is built around three key pieces of innovation:

  1. A carbon footprint engagement tool that will include a healthcare-specific carbon calculator.
  2. Setting goals that are specific to each individual staff member, reflecting the fact different roles have a different scope to make a difference.
  3. Providing a feedback loop for staff members, enabled by AI and based on Trusts’ corporate data that allows them to show their progress to net zero in an engaging and dynamic way. In this first phase, the team will gather information about different job roles, systems and working practices in order to identify the areas of greatest need for development in phase 2.

Graham Simmonds, CEO of Jump, said: “In the first phase of this SBRI Healthcare project it’s been great to work with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, AHSN NENC, and Yorkshire & Humber AHSN; collaborations such as these bring us one step closer to achieving a net zero NHS, and we now have a clear plan for delivering a highly innovative healthcare-specific carbon engagement tool which will motivate NHS staff at all levels to take positive steps that cut carbon.”

Dr Sean Gill, Programme Manager at AHSN NENC, added: “We’ve worked with Jump to ensure that the technology developed is universal, and applied our in-depth experience of piloting and championing innovations within multiple NHS Trusts. We have assisted with PPI and forming professional users’ group, to provide invaluable input into the tools development, to ensure that the project results are suitable for uptake by NHS Trusts and that they do not unintentionally exclude any groups.”

SBRI will be launching another funding competition for innovators on Wednesday 24th August focusing on innovations that will help to transform carbon intensive areas of clinical care and complex care pathways to help the NHS meet its net zero ambitions. Find out more on the competition webpage.

For further information about SBRI Net Zero, please get in touch with Dr Sean Gill.

*SBRI Healthcare is an NHS England & NHS Improvement initiative, supported by the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and managed by LGC Group. It aims to promote UK economic growth whilst addressing unmet health needs and enhancing the uptake of known best practice.