Last Sunday and Monday’s Balens Forum and Sixth CPD Conference at Birmingham’s NEC was our first opportunity to present the last few months of our work on our blueprint for health system sustainability to a diverse range of health professionals in the UK Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) sector.

Not only that, we showed how the work we’ve been doing over the last couple of years with the Hawthorn Health Collaboration fits into the bigger picture of the sustainable health system blueprint.

In short, we’re thrilled with the reception all this work got. The ideas that help inform both projects are the result of years of work, thousands of hours of research, hundreds of hours of discussion and deliberation with clinicians, scientists, policy-makers and the public across multiple continents. It is a true collaboration, hence our decision to change the name of the Hawthorn Health Initiative to the Hawthorn Health Collaboration.

Presenting at the Balens CPD Conference, NEC, Birmingham, Monday, 21 May 2018

David Balen – founder of Balens Insurance – and I, who jointly facilitated the Balens Forum on Sunday, were apologetic to the association heads gathered over the delay in the launch of the beta-test of the Hawthorn Tracker. In common with many bigger collaborative projects, one of our major collaborators has itself suffered a significant delay in the completion of a major pre-existing project. The great news is we’re all ready to roll again and the delay with the Hawthorn Health Collaboration has allowed more time to move the ‘mother’ project on health system sustainability forward.

For those yet to hear about the Hawthorn Tracker, it’s in essence a mobile-friendly app that has two main functions. Firstly, it is designed to help users to self-monitor their own health journeys to help them understand which combinations of lifestyle choices and healthcare interventions are associated with the greatest (or lowest) levels of perceived health and wellness. In that sense we also expect it to be a very useful motivational tool guiding healthy behaviours. The second function is about ‘big data’ research. The objective is to look for patterns in the data, to answer big questions such as what combinations of lifestyle and healthcare choices are associated with higher or lower levels of wellness, or how important engagement or empowerment are among different individuals in generating positive health outcomes. website

These data will come from those who elect for their anonymised data to be shared with the research community i.e. the Hawthorn Health Collaboration, including the Universities of Westminster, Warwick, Southampton and Exeter in the UK, the integrative medicine unit of Kansas University Medical Center in the US and TNO in the Netherlands.

In its final form, our blueprint will be a 100-page or so heavily referenced document. Not everyone will read it cover to cover. So to make it easier for you, the following infographic pulls out some of its main features.

Infographic on ANH-Intl Blueprint for Health System Sustainability in the UK

The take-homes from the two projects are as follows:

  • The final form of our Blueprint for Health System Sustainability in the UK, complete with input from its month-long consultation, will be going out for endorsement at the end of June. We’ll be looking for a diverse range of associations in the healthcare, wellness and fitness space to endorse the document to show its broad sway of community support. The formal launch of the document will be in July.
  • We expect that the Hawthorn Tracker will be ready for beta-testing in the UK, the Netherlands, the USA and Australia in August 2018. Release to the public will be made primarily by practitioners via associations.
  • We are developing criteria that we’ll require for the demonstration trials that are intended to evaluate the effectiveness of the multi-modal collaborations that are established to test proof of concept of the proposed sustainability model. At this stage, we’re hoping to set up 4 collaborations around GP surgeries, 4 around CAM clinics and 4 outside clinical settings. Further information will follow.

If you are a UK medical doctor, you represent a UK health, wellbeing or fitness association or you are a full-time health or wellbeing practitioner and are interested in either project, do contact us via our practitioner liaison, Melissa Smith.

Melissa Smith contact details:

Email [email protected], tel 01306 646 584


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