26 July 2023
A national asthma programme, delivered by the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) in England alongside many programme partners, has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.
The Fractional exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) programme, commissioned by the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), is a finalist for this year’s Innovate Awards, which celebrate innovation excellence in health and care.
Wessex AHSN has been recognised for its role in leading the programme, which has transformed asthma care for patients in primary care across England by systematically improving access to FeNO testing, a novel medical technology which can be used to help diagnose and manage asthma.
FeNO devices work by measuring the amount of nitric oxide in the exhaled breath of patients, offering an indication of the level of inflammation in the airways. Alongside other tests and a clinical history, FeNO helps to diagnose patients with suspected asthma. FeNO testing can also support the ongoing management of patients already living with the condition.
From March 2021 to March 2023, the FeNO programme has enabled the roll out of more than 1,200 devices in primary care sites across England, with an estimated 53% of Primary Care Networks now having access to FeNO testing.
This has resulted in an estimated 58,000 new asthmatics receiving a correct diagnosis more accurately and faster, enabling them to commence appropriate treatment sooner.
Over the last two years, Wessex AHSN has provided national leadership and strategic direction to the programme, working in partnership with all 15 AHSNs in England, who have actively delivered the programme in their regions.
The programme has been shortlisted in the Innovation Spread Award category, which recognises innovations that have been scaled and adopted rapidly and widely, creating impact across a wider geography.
Joe Sladen, Associate Director Innovation Adoption at Wessex AHSN, who led the delivery of the programme, said:
“We’re delighted to be shortlisted for this award, which recognises the role of the FeNO programme in improving care and outcomes for people with suspected or confirmed asthma.
“It has been hugely rewarding working in partnership with all our programme partners; the NHS England Accelerated Access Collaborative Team, our patient partners, charities and societies (including the Primary Care Respiratory Society, Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists, Association for Respiratory Technology and Physiology, British Thoracic Society, Asthma + Lung UK), NICE, FeNO device suppliers and all 15 AHSNs to increase patient access to FeNO testing and contribute to improved asthma care.
“In Wessex, we estimate that this work has helped more than 3,700 new asthmatics receive a correct diagnosis, faster, with over 60 new FeNO devices entering use in primary care in the region over the two-year programme.
“We’d like to thank all our partners and collaborators for their support with delivering the programme. It’s fantastic to see everyone’s efforts recognised by being shortlisted as an award finalist.”
The finalists have been announced following rigorous judging over the last few weeks. A grand total of 191 entries from health and care teams across the country, covering 11 award categories, has been shortlisted to 56 finalists.
Commenting on the award entries, Chief Executive from NHS Confederation, Matthew Taylor said:
“The work and collaboration to spread innovation across health and care is truly remarkable, as evidenced in this year’s Innovate Awards submissions. Our judges have commented on just how impressive, exciting and inspiring the work contained within the entries has been, and we are delighted to be able to highlight and celebrate these efforts.”
The 34 judges included prominent healthcare figures from NHS England, regional NHS Trusts and Integrated Care Boards, patient involvement organisations, health equality organisations and innovation specialists. Read more about the judges.
The award ceremony will take place on the evening of 21 September 2023 at the Grand Connaught Rooms, in London, WC2B. Tickets are available to book.
Following the high standard and volume of entries received in 2022, a new ‘Best Use of Data in Health Innovation’ category has been added this year, meaning there are 11 award categories in total.
A 12th ‘winner of winners’ award – Innovation Champion of the Year – will be selected by the judges from across the other category winners.
Find out more about FeNO for the diagnosis and management of Asthma, and the impact of the programme both locally and nationally.