iPLATO is expanding high-impact patient engagement around Our Future Health in nine NHS regions.
These areas include Greater Manchester, Birmingham & Solihull, London, Black Country and West Yorkshire.
Residents of these NHS regions will be offered to join the groundbreaking research programme through the myGP app. If their practice consents to participate, patients will also receive invitations via SMS message or messaging through the NHS App.
Set to be the UK’s largest research programme, Our Future Health reached the milestone of recruiting its first 100,000 volunteers in December. To support the goal of enrolling 5 million volunteers, iPLATO is expanding its role in the national roll-out to Manchester, London, Birmingham and Leeds.
By 2025, the aim is to recruit up to one-in-ten adults who truly reflect the UK population, with critical focus on representative diversity among the programme’s participants. This will create one of the most detailed pictures we’ve ever had of people’s health and can make discoveries that benefit everyone.
CEO and Founder of iPLATO, Tobias Alpsten comments, “Ensuring patients of all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds are accessed and invited to partake in the UK’s largest research programme is truly groundbreaking. Our ongoing work with Integrated Care Boards and our GP relationships around the country means we are supporting the programme to grow strong representative volunteer recruitment numbers.” iPLATO and Our Future Health will be working closely with Integrated Care Boards and local GPs practices across England. Alpsten continues “Equipping Our Future Health’s databank with a truly representative volunteer population through the patients we are engaging with takes health equity to the next level.”
As part of the registration process, volunteers are required to visit a clinic conveniently located nearby them. Mobile clinics are regularly moving around the UK to ensure accessibility for all participants irrespective of location, whilst High-Street chain Boots are providing pop-up clinics in some of their stores across the country.
Our Future Health Volunteer, Maneesh Juneja commented: “Someone like me, who is of Indian ethnic origin but born here in the UK, is most likely underrepresented in clinical trials or health research. A lot of drugs and healthcare have been developed based on the majority of the population, who are Caucasian.”. He continues, “Taking part in Our Future Health feels like something I can do as an individual citizen to change that. Hopefully the insights that Our Future Health provide will give us the ability to create treatments that work better for everybody, because we will have a much broader, diverse population that’s being studied compared to much of the research that’s been done so far.”
Efforts have already started in other areas like Birmingham and Solihull, to be closely followed by Black Country and West Yorkshire ICBs.
With a first-of-its-kind target to recruit 5 million volunteers, Our Future Health will create a leading research bank designed to accelerate disease prevention, detection and treatment across the world.
Operations Manager, Sarah Webster from Bolton Community Practice explained “We are excited to join any initiative which means better care and early diagnosis for our patients. The sign-up process only took a few minutes to complete. It will benefit future generations, ongoing research and innovation into common disease areas, which will support a reduction on the current pressures of the NHS long-term.”
iPLATO, part of the Huma Group, will be seeking consent from practices within these areas to invite their patients to volunteer in the programme. SMS or NHS App invites will be accompanied by coverage on the myGP app, with over 2.7 million active users. This combined approach provides multichannel coverage to a large portion of the population, supporting the recruitment of those with less access to healthcare.