PARTNERSHIP: Brendan McConaghy (left) from Occupational Health with the b well steering group.

A north-east technology company has helped one of Britain’s biggest NHS trusts to dramatically improve the health of its 22,000-strong workforce. When managers at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust decided they needed an easy-to-use health and well-being application for employees, they turned to long-time software partner Excelpoint, in County Durham.

The trust called on Newton Aycliffe-based Excelpoint – www.excelpoint.co.uk – for help because, with thousands of staff working at dozens of sites on a range of different shift patterns, something radical was required. Using Excelpoint’s technology – which helps businesses create unique software solutions quickly and easily without the need for bespoke code – the trust could devise a new system for unifying all its health and wellbeing activities under one brand.

The trust used the expertise of its healthcare professionals, including occupational health physiotherapists, clinical psychologists, cognitive behavioural therapists, and members of the health improvement team. They worked alongside Excelpoint to create a unique application, accessible 24/7 which helps staff and their families lead a healthier lifestyle.

Brendan McConaghy, from the trust’s lead physiotherapist occupational health team, worked alongside Excelpoint to develop the application. He says: “Through the use of Excelpoint’s software we were able to get the app built from scratch in a period of approximately four months. This was at a fraction of the time and cost if we had used another provider.

“The content was entirely provided by various Belfast Trust healthcare professionals. I edited the content easily and imbedded video and audio to get the app to market in the target timeframe. “Excelpoint had the job of keeping me on the right track and answering my daily queries to get the app past the post in time. Since launch, we have enabled push notifications to help us keep the app live and relevant to its users. We have lots of other development ideas for this year.”

The system – dubbed the b well programme – was rolled out just over a year ago and has proved incredibly successful with over 1,000 app loads so far. Sixty per cent of the workforce say they would now recommend the trust as a great place to work and felt that the trust promoted their health and wellbeing.

Damian McAlister, the trust’s director of human resources and organisational development, adds: “The organisation places the health and well-being of our employees as a key priority within our corporate objectives. Health and well-being is also an individual, and indeed personal and private, matter.”

SUCCESS: The hugely popular b well app.

The b well app – www.bwellbelfast.hscni.net – proved to be so successful that Belfast Trust was shortlisted for the Wellbeing at Work Award at the 2017 Responsible Business Awards in Northern Ireland. In fact, it has proven so good that the trust has given Excelpoint the go-ahead to market it to other companies – with all revenues being split between the partners. If all goes well, the b well app could be a lucrative source of new revenue for one of Britain’s biggest NHS trusts.

Excelpoint’s managing director Ian Brown explains: “We are hoping to sell the application in one of three ways: licensing the entire app itself, rebranding the app but still using the trust’s content or selling the basic framework to a customer who wants to produce their own content.”

Professor Ian Young, Director of Research for the Belfast Trust says: “The trust is delighted to have worked in partnership with Excelpoint to support this exciting development which has the potential to improve our services for patients and ensure Northern Ireland is at the forefront of innovation in health.”

For further information visit www.excelpoint.co.uk