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Health app winning plaudits

A young entrepreneur at Teesside University has designed an award-winning mobile app to help patients become more informed about their medication.

Health+, a business founded by Charlie Hesse, a second year BA (Hons) Graphic Design Student from Newcastle, is being developed and is exploring a possible partnership with South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The innovative app allows patients to scan the labels on their medications and, using character recognition technology, cross-checks their prescriptions with NHS and eMC (electronic Medicines Compendium) databases.

The app informs them about what the drugs are for alongside vital information such as possible side-effects and dosage instructions. The app will also locate any potential clinical trials linked to the medication.

The aim of the app is to give patients greater detail about their medication and improve understanding.

At the inaugural University Alliance student enterprise competition, Innovating Future Business, held at Salford University recently, Charlie’s pitch to a panel of investors won him a cash prize from community workspace provider Cariocca Enterprises.

Charlie founded the business after he won the Teesside University 2016 HealthHack competition where students were given 24 hours to come up with a range of solutions to problems identified by South Tees NHS Trust.

Health+ was then given support from the Teesside Launchpad FUEL programme which offers graduate entrepreneurs up to £19,000 in support while they develop their business.

The business is based in the Teesside Launchpad incubator on the University’s Middlesbrough campus and Charlie is taking a year out from his studies in order to concentrate on launching the app.

He said: ‘We’re trying to get in talks with the South Tees NHS Trust about building a pilot shortly and it’s a really exciting time.

‘I’ve always been interested in setting up my own business and when I heard about the HealthHack it sounded like fun.

‘I didn’t expect it would lead to me setting up my own business, but I’ve had fantastic support from the University to help make the most of the opportunity.’

Laura Woods, Director of The Forge, Teesside University’s business hub, said: ‘It’s great to see that Health+ is proving so successful.

‘Our focus at Teesside University is very much on encouraging an entrepreneurial student mindset, and it’s fantastic that a student business has grown out of one of our enterprise events. Charlie is a brilliant role model.’

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is looking forward to working with Teesside University on further healthcare innovations, and hopefully, future Hackathons.

Professor Andrew Owens, Director of Education, Research and Innovation at the Trust, said: ‘Last year’s HealthHack was a great success, generating many new and interesting ideas for improving patient care.

‘I am delighted that this event has inspired a student to, not only develop a business, but more importantly, develop an application with the potential to have a positive impact on patients.

‘We would like to offer our congratulations to Charlie – and look forward to speaking to him about the pilot.’