UK patients and carers trial NHS video sharing platform to help speed up seizure diagnoses

A new service that lets patients and carers share videos of potential seizures directly with NHS healthcare professionals is being piloted in Scotland and leading children’s hospitals in England.

The platform, vCreate Neuro, allows clinical teams to view the videos and accompanying information, offer a faster diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment, reducing the need for the patient having to travel to a hospital.

Along with offering faster care and greater peace of mind to families and patients, the service is reducing the pressure on NHS services such as in-person clinics and the need for investigations such as MRIs and EEGs.

Running on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, vCreate Neuro is being piloted across Scotland as well as Great Ormond Street Hospital, Evelina London Children’s Hospital and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

The system is available to families who are concerned that they, their child or loved one may be experiencing seizures or unexplained episodes, including epilepsy. Since May 2020, more than 1,800 patient videos, many filmed on smartphones, have been securely uploaded to vCreate Neuro by over 800 families.

Professor Sameer Zuberi, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children, said: “vCreate Neuro has transformed how we use carer-recorded video in our service. We are diagnosing epilepsy more rapidly, preventing misdiagnosis and saving unnecessary investigations. Families feel in more control and better connected to the service.”

Clinicians use the web-based app to invite a patient or their guardian to register for an account and provide consent. Once activated, the user uploads relevant videos from their smartphone, with each upload accompanied by key clinical questions bespoke to each clinical service.

Videos are stored securely on the vCreate Neuro Cloud, which is powered by Microsoft Azure. Only the clinical team approved by the patient can access the videos, and they can view them on any device, at any time, from any location for improved accessibility.

Michael Wignall, Azure Business Lead at Microsoft UK, said: “Microsoft Azure is helping companies like vCreate provide life-changing medical solutions to people, while maintaining data privacy, security and confidentiality. With features such as Advanced Threat Protection and Encryption at Rest, Azure is empowering the healthcare sector to safely deliver care where it’s needed most.

“Azure has more global regions than any other cloud provider. Microsoft operates two data regions in the UK, so companies can choose to keep their data in this country. But no matter where customers choose to host their data in Azure, they are always in control of it.”

If the patient gives permission, clinical teams can securely share the videos with specialists for review and second opinions. Clinicians can also dictate a clinical note and communicate with the patient or guardian through vCreate Neuro, with translation into local language if required.

Following consent, a PDF is generated of the patient-clinician interaction for upload into the medical record.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people experiencing seizures and seizure-like episodes, including children, have been unable to see a clinician. Ben Moore, founder of vCreate, said the system was designed to put families back in control of their health.

“We’re passionate about family-focused care, and worked closely with clinical teams, patients and carers to develop the vCreate Neuro service,” he said. “The system aims to improve patient care, reduce the number of clinic investigations – and resulting costs to the NHS – and digitise the patient pathway. We want families to be in control of their healthcare journey and have a direct link to their clinical team despite the pandemic restrictions.”

vCreate Neuro benefits from security features such as Advanced Threat Protection and Encryption-at-Rest within Microsoft Azure, is listed on the NHS Digital Tools Library and has been assessed and approved by Information Governance teams in more than 100 UK NHS trusts.

vCreate offers other video sharing services that connect patients and families with healthcare professionals. Its technology is already in use in more than 150 units across the UK and Ireland, and has helped support more than 15,000 families.