Industry heavyweights appointed to new Health Navigator Advisory Board

Three prominent health experts are amongst members of a new Health Navigator Advisory Board, launched today to support Health Navigator’s continued growth.

Mark England, former Deputy National Director for Urgent and Emergency Care at NHS England and NHS Improvement; Sarah Mitchell, Adult Social Care and Health Improvement Adviser; and Matthew Cooke, Professor at Warwick Medical School and former National Clinical Director for Urgent and Emergency Care at the Department of Health and Social Care will all be offering their expert guidance to help shape our future.

The launch of the Advisory Board is to help us to achieve our ambitious plans following delivery of our successful pilot studies ratifying the efficacy of our powerful AI-driven health coaching services.

High quality evidence attracts Board members

Joachim Werr, CEO at Health Navigator, said: “I was looking for three to five very senior individuals who held very specific skills in certain core areas: academia, NHS performance, community services, central policy and commercial. We have been incredibly lucky that we have attracted such high calibre advisory members that meet these five areas.”

“I think one of the key things that attracted our advisory board members was that we have moved past the pilot stage and we are actively handling several thousand patients. We also have a large scale launch trial underway, which is producing interesting results already, and it is exciting for people to be involved in a company such as us from the beginning.”

Werr is clear that the Advisory Board members are more than just an outward endorsement of Health Navigator services and that they will play a very active role in the company’s direction – meeting every six weeks and maintaining regular contact with our senior management team.

He said: “They will support us with intelligence-led targeting of ICS/STPs, CCGs and trusts that could benefit from our technology, of which – given the sustained 2.2% annual increase in A&E attendances from 2006 until 2019 and the recent reports of waiting times at their worst-ever level – there are many.”

Health Navigator is proven to help reduce the burden placed on A&E departments by using its sophisticated AI analytic capabilities to identify the small percentage of patients that have a great number of emergency hospital admissions, and then working with them through its proactive health coaching programme to help them better manage their conditions. 

Werr added: “In our randomised control trial, our intervention reduced A&E attendances by 36%, unplanned hospital admissions by 30%, and planned admissions by 25%” 

Evidence-based growth

It is evident that the new Advisory Board members are equally as enthused about the roles they are due to play.

Professor Cooke said: “I think we can all bring something slightly different to the table. The thing that excites me is that Health Navigator has been evaluated properly; there are not many interventions like this where there has been a randomised control trial. I’m an academic by background – I love evidence – and there are very few operational interventions that have had this level of analysis. Usually the approach is to see if it works somewhere and then if it does, try it somewhere else. Part of my role is to ensure the evaluations continue to be carried out effectively and in a way that is the most informative.”

Mark England is looking forward to playing his part in raising the visibility of Health Navigator and the evidence that it is an effective intervention to avoid hospitalisation. “I’ve wrestled with the problem of excessive growth in demand for hospital services in the NHS from  the provider, system  and policy perspectives,” he explained. “Health Navigator’s service is one of the few examples that has really good evidence of having an impact on unplanned hospital activity. Health Navigator are finding and supporting a vulnerable group of patients giving them the  understanding, strategies and confidence to manage their health  in a more proactive way, having a very positive impact.”

Future vision

Werr is also hoping that the Advisory Group will help to advise on where its innovative technology can help in other areas beyond A&E. “Our vision for Health Navigator is that it will grow beyond its current service and that some of the mechanisms and methods that we use could be applied to other areas, for example social care. I see the Advisory Board as being integral to helping to steer this and we are very much looking to draw on their collective expertise.”

This is one area that Sarah Mitchell is particularly keen to support. “I’d really like to see how we develop this approach in a broader range of people so that it’s not all about acute healthcare,” she said. “How do we help people through a health coaching approach to manage their own mental health issues, their anxiety, maybe support them in caring for someone who’s got dementia, or someone younger with a learning disability or a physical disability, something that actually enables people to manage their own care, whether it be health care or social care? That prevention aspect and empowering people really attracts me. If we are looking 5-10 years hence, how can we spread that out to a much bigger population.”