Hull digital health company set to roll out unique telemedicine services across the country

Over the last four years, Ozone Health has been developing a new way for dermatology patients to get the correct diagnosis care they need from a specialist consultant remotely.

Dr James Britton monitoring leg ulcers through the Ozone clinic platform optimised for touch screen web tablets such as the iPad.

Through a series of commissioned partnerships with several health trusts, the service receives referrals from GPs as well as community and district nurses for specialist advice on diagnosis and treatment.

Optimised for touch screen tablet, Ozone’s own integrated digital platform allows the history and images of a skin condition to be uploaded by a GP, nurse or the patient themselves before being sent for diagnosis or advice from a team of UK-registered consultant dermatology specialists.

Patients can even create images of non-visible areas of concern by using an on-screen function to draw and mark an image of their own body to show where they are feeling pain or discomfort, such as chest or joint pain.

Since launching in 2020, the company estimates it has saved the NHS around £7m by keeping around 75 per cent of all referrals it has received out of hospital by ensuring community-based care instead.

Ozone Health’s director Dr James Britton has used his 18-year experience as a consultant dermatologist to develop the company’s business model based around his own speciality but says it has the potential to be used for many other medical conditions.

“Our aim has been to create a simple, easy-to-use digital health consultation platform. The results we have achieved speak for themselves so we are now looking to push on and roll it out nationally.

“As technology evolves and becomes easier to use, people are becoming increasingly comfortable with remote working and, in this case, remote interactions between themselves and their own GP. Our service takes that one step further by extending that dialogue to include our consultants.”

In the last four years Ozone has hosted 125,000 remote consultations and shared 661,000 images of patient skin problems with its team of consultants to review. The average turnaround time for a diagnosis is currently just under 11 hours.

Dr Britton added: “Since we started we have helped identify 600 serious skin cancers that include melanoma but we have also been able to ensure that 75 per cent of patients received the appropriate treatment or advice without having to go to hospital.

“That represents a big saving for the NHS in not having to carry out face-to-face consultations and a massive saving in time and money for patients and carers by not having to travel to hospital in the first place.

“As a result, we estimate we have managed to save around 200 tons of CO2 emissions from reduced bus and car journeys over the period which is also good for the environment.”

Equally important as providing a fast and convenient service to patients is the fact that the data – including written records and images – is managed and stored on Ozone’s secure web-based platform.

Jointly owned by both the patient and the doctors involved in the healthcare, the platform effectively acts as a library for both.

“By being able to store images of a patient’s condition, it means they are easy to access and any developing symptoms can be tracked in real time,” explained Dr Britton.

“It also allows GPs to open diagnosis and treatment management plans if they are alerted about a patient we have seen and update their own records accordingly.”

Based at the Hesslewood Business Park, the company currently employs nine people to support the service and works with a team of 12 UK-registered consultants.

It currently works in partnership with health trusts covering Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Barnsley, Rotherham, Oldham, Workshop, Retford and Newark.