A PAIN management app developed by boffins at Saltaire to help reduce the need for hospital visits has been adopted by the NHS in Leeds in the largest commissioning of digital healthcare in the UK.

It has become the first UK city to adopt, across every GP surgery, technology that allows every patient to send information back to their GP electronically.

Painsense has been created by the Advanced Digital Institute, based at Salts Mill, with support from the NHS England Small Business Research Initiative programme. Currently being used in the healthcare sector in Leeds and West Yorkshire, it will be rolled out across other UK regions within the next six months.

The free app is initially available to more than 7,000 patients suffering chronic pain. It gives them the knowledge and guidance to manage their pain, which should reduce the need to visit their GP or hospital.

Harrogate-based digital health specialist Inhealthcare played a key part in fully integrating the app into the health service pain management pathway and GP systems enabling patient data to be transferred securely and accessed before and during consultations.

Huw Jones of ADI , said: "The app has been developed with patients and healthcare professionals over a two year period. So far, the reaction has been extremely positive.

"It could revolutionise the doctor patient relationship for the estimated eight million people in the UK suffering with pain. The app includes two related elements in the form of the established Pain Toolkit, which contains a wealth of information and assessment tools, and the Pain Management Plan that helps the patient structure a plan to manage their experience of pain.

“Since April, when the new pain pathway was introduced, enabled by the app, there appears to be a marked reduction in the number of people needing hospital care"

Dr Jamie O'Shea of Leeds West NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, said he had introduced Painsense to several patients and received positive feedback.

Bryn Sage, Inhealthcare chief executive, said: “PainSense is an excellent example of how, using this new infrastructure, many thousands of patients can interact with their healthcare professional.

“This type of digital health service is just what the Government and NHS England are crying out for. The NHS needs to meet cost savings of over £22 billion this year, and driving efficiency through technology will play a huge part in clawing back on that deficit."

John Eaglesham, ADI chief executive, added: “We genuinely believe that the potential for improving people’s experience of healthcare can be enabled through technology with

breakthroughs such as our Painsense app."