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Isle of Skye firm delivers digital child health records

30 May 2014

One of the UK’s most cherished family medical records is set to go digital thanks to a company based on the Isle of Skye.

The Personal Child Health Record (PCHR) or Redbook is given to all mothers to record the early health and development of a new baby. Innovative software developer Sitekit Ltd is developing the first ‘eRedbook’, which as well as being trialled in the UK could potentially be rolled out worldwide.

The eRedbook is a digital version which allows parents to effectively monitor developmental milestones from day one. It will also promote communication between parents and clinicians, keep a comprehensive record of information and appointments and provide an increased understanding of the child’s health.

Sitekit is based in Portree on Skye and employs staff in Edinburgh, Oxford, and Cambridge. An additional 16 employees have been taken on to work on the development of the eRedbook and related digital health projects the company is involved in.

Campbell Grant of Sitekit said: “The paper based Red Book has been an important part of early life for families across the country for 20 years. The eRedbook now provides all this vital information securely in a digital format, making it easier for parents and medical practitioners to access and use. Furthermore, as a platform technology, it has the potential to open up many other ways of delivering health and lifestyle services - such as the eSilverbook app we are developing for an older generation.”

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has approved £300,000 towards the research and development phase of the project. The eRedbook was initiated by Microsoft and has been developed as part of a project called ‘Year Zero’, a unique collaboration between four NHS organisations and a number of innovative commercial partners. It aims to change the way people relate to health and wellbeing and puts them in charge of their own personal health record keeping. Year Zero is itself part of a UK-wide programme known as ‘dallas’ (delivering assisted living lifestyles at scale).

The programme is funded by the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s Innovation Agency, with the aim of supporting independent living for older people and people living with long-term conditions as well as supporting improved health outcomes for children and families.

Within Year Zero, the eRedbook is being rolled out to parents by Liverpool Community Health Trust and South Warwickshire Foundation Trust.

The company has also worked closely with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to design and clinically assure the product and with Harlow Printing Ltd who print the current paper Red Book.

Eilidh Ross, development manager at HIE, said: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the only such partnership relationship that Microsoft has formed with a Highlands and Islands company. As a Personal Health Record the eRedbook provides a significant step forward for integrating digital care records.

“The eRedbook has the potential to revolutionise healthcare for children and parents in this country and beyond, with the international opportunities considerable. We have worked with the company now for a number of years and Sitekit’s proven track record provides a firm foundation for growth within the eHealth sector, bringing real benefits to both the public and healthcare professionals.”

Suzy Foster, Director of Health and Life Sciences at Microsoft said: "Great technology makes life simpler and easier, and when Microsoft started this project we wanted to make looking after your child's health as uncomplicated as possible in the busy first stage of parenthood. Digitising the Redbook will mean parents can have access to their child's information wherever they are and doctors can keep track of children's progress during the key development stage. These are exactly the types of investments that will help create open relationships between patients and their care service providers."

Sitekit works closely with leading research and academic institutions maintaining strong relationships with Stirling, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier Universities and the Scottish Digital Health Institute. It has also forged international research links with Harvard University Massachusetts Institute of Technology,and the National University of Singapore, with a number of Sitekit staff performing active research associate roles within these institutions.

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