East Midlands Academic Health Science Network and partners win national HSJ award for transforming ADHD care QbTest – a pioneering project to support diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – has been announced as the winner of the 2019 Health Service Journal (HSJ) Award for innovation in mental health.

The HSJ Awards were held in London tonight and are the largest and most prestigious healthcare awards in the world. Around 1700 healthcare professionals attended the ceremony to recognise and celebrate excellence in health and care services.

East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN) worked with international medical technology company Qbtech Ltd and NHS partners to spread the use of QbTest – a uniquely designed Quantitative Behavioural measurement system which is reducing the time it takes to diagnose ADHD, improving patient experience and saving the NHS money.

QbTest is the only CE marked, EMA registered and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared intervention that measures a patient’s attention, impulsivity and motor activity all at the same time. These indicators are core symptoms of ADHD and accurate measurement adds objectivity to support timely diagnosis.

The EMAHSN-funded QbTest demonstrator project was launched in 2017 at seven NHS sites across Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire. The EMAHSN and Qbtech’s collaboration with the East Midlands Trusts aimed to transform care within the region by using the computerised system – alongside traditional observation and interviews – to improve diagnosis and deliver significant savings to the NHS.

Evaluation of the project confirmed reduction in time to diagnosis by an average of 153 days and identified an average cost saving of 32.6%. Savings were achieved through a reduction in the number of appointments needed for diagnosis and by ruling out ADHD sooner for ambiguous cases.

Objective computerised systems – like QbTest – also improve the experience of care for patients and their families who receive speedier diagnosis and appropriate treatment at the earliest opportunity. Feedback on QbTest has been positive, with patients saying the results help them to better understand their diagnosis and clinicians welcoming the aid to more rapid diagnosis.

Following evaluation, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust announced in April 2018 that they would to continue to fund the provision of the QbTest for young patients and their families.

Dara Coppel, Head of Innovation Programme Delivery at EMAHSN, presented QbTest to the HSJ judging panel in September. She said: “The judges were looking for a mental health innovation that is leading the way in delivering better services and evidence of financial savings alongside improved patient experience – our evaluation clearly demonstrates this.”

Chris Hart, Commercial Director at EMAHSN, said: “This award win is fantastic news for Qbtech, EMAHSN and its partners. The success of QbTest provides a perfect example of the crucial role AHSNs play in bringing the NHS and industry together and accelerating the spread and uptake of innovations which significantly improve patient experience whilst also delivering cost savings to the NHS.

“Winning this award and the Trusts’ commitment to mainstreaming the funding for QbTest show that this is a sustainable and cost-effective solution for improving diagnosis of ADHD.”

Tony Doyle, Managing Director of Qbtech, commented: “This is well-deserved, national recognition for the exceptional hard work and collaboration of all those involved. Qbtech is delighted to have had the support of EMAHSN as part of its journey in delivering the QbTest innovation.

“As well as funding the demonstrator sites they have also provided an independent evaluation which has helped to accelerate the adoption of QbTest. We are now looking forward to working with them to spread this innovation across NHS Trusts in England – benefitting more patients and delivering more savings.”

Dr Julie Clarke, Consultant Paediatrician at United Lincolnshire Hospitals and Clinical Lead for the project said, “As a clinician with extensive experience in assessment, diagnosis and treatment of ADHD, I can honestly say that the addition of QbTesting has revolutionised my clinical practice. The feedback from clinicians, parents and schools so far has all been extremely positive. We are already planning how we can extend the use of QbTests into other areas.”

EMAHSN is now liaising with additional NHS organisations in the East Midlands and beyond to consider how QbTest might be implemented in more NHS Trusts and healthcare settings.

For more information on QbTest see the AHSN Network Atlas Case Study or contact Dara Coppel, Head of Innovation Programme Delivery at EMAHSN: 0115 823 1278 / dara.coppel@nottingham.ac.uk

Notes to editors

Additional quotes

Fran Guerra, Neurodevelopmental nurse specialist at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust said: “The QbTest provides an up to date platform to test and observe young people and gain meaningful data, which can be easily interpreted to support the diagnostic process. It helps to reduce clinical observation time, supporting an overall reduction in time for the diagnostic process. The QbTest also supports ongoing monitoring and efficacy of the use of medications, which is a huge help.”

Susan Krause, Operational Lead of the Neurodevelopmental Team at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We know it’s important for families to get advice and support as quickly as possible when a child is thought to have ADHD. Having a computerised tool like QbTest is contributing to effective medications management and helping to reduce the time to diagnosis, which in turn alleviates families’ uncertainty.”

Evaluation results

The demonstration services followed a multicentre RCT trial by the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care East Midlands (CLAHRC) confirmed the effectiveness of QbTest (www.clahrc-em.nihr.ac.uk/research/aquatrial).

Reduction in time to diagnosis for each of the three project areas was as follows:

  • Derbyshire: reduced by 166 days (approx. 5.5 months)
  • Leicestershire: reduced by 153 days (approx. 5 months)
  • Lincolnshire: reduced by 117 days (approx. 4 months)

Average 32.6% cost saving across the three trusts.

About ADHD

ADHD begins in childhood and often persists into adult life. It is condition that responds well to treatment, yet the average delay to diagnosis in the UK is 18 months. By reducing such delays, it is possible to avoid some of the negative impacts on education, mental health and life prospects of those with the condition.

Latest statistics from the Centre of Mental Health suggest that around 1.5% of young people aged 5-16 years have ADHD and it is though around 12,000 young people in the East Midlands have the condition. Public Health England estimates that the number of people aged 16-24 in the region with ADHD is even higher – more than 76,000.

As well as impacting on a young person’s wellbeing and development through reduced ability to concentrate and control behaviour, the condition also is estimated to cost to the health, care and education system around £12m per year. Over the last ten years there has been a six-fold increase in the prevalence and rate of medication prescriptions for ADHD in the UK. Assessment and diagnosis is usually based on subjective clinical observation, interviews and observer questionnaire reports.

About the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN) EMAHSN is one of 15 Academic Health Science Networks in England. EMAHSN brings together NHS organisations, universities, industry and social care to transform the health of the region’s 4.6m residents and stimulate wealth.

Current priorities focus on support Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships, with projects more than 20 innovation projects focusing on challenges including cancer, diabetes, mental health, atrial fibrillation and liver disease.

In 2018, NHS England relicensed the 15 AHSNs for a further five years from 1 April
as the key innovation arm of the NHS.

EMAHSN contact: Sarah Hewitt 0115 748 4243 or sarah.hewitt2@nottingham.ac.uk

About Qbtech

– Qbtech provide cleared ADHD Tests to NHS clinics (QbTest) and schools

– QbTest is an ADHD Testing system with an infra-red motion capture camera and a computerised test of sustained attention. It shortens assessment so treatment can be given earlier, improves the confidence of specialists to rule in and rule out ADHD whilst improving communication between doctors, parents and schools. More information: https://www.qbtech.com/qbtest Qbtech Ltd contact: Tony Doyle, 07771937845, tony.doyle@qbtech.com