About the client

Spirit Health is a family of health businesses operating in the primary care, pharmacy, and health education spaces. It take a human-centred approach putting patients and health staff first, while supplying into the private health market and to the NHS.

In past years, Spirit had created CliniTouchVie, an award-winning virtual ward and remote patient monitoring platform used for example, in delivering diabetes and COPD services.

In this project Spirit wanted to explore what else their technology could be used for, and how any adjacent services could deliver safer, more rewarding experiences for patients, staff, Spirit’s partners, and Spirit itself.

After several conversations with the Spirit team, we agreed to explore how we might use human-centred design combined with digital technology to identify opportunities for value-creation in the colorectal cancer care pathway (CRC).

To support more creative thinking we agreed to take an ‘open innovation’ approach. This meant initially generating ideas for solutions that were not bounded by the technical constraints of the CliniTouchVie platform but leveraged technologies like Ai, ML, RPAs, AR and VR and so on. Once ideas were generated we would then ‘pressure test’ and select solutions that Spirit could take to market relatively quickly.

We chose the CRC pathway because the complexity and comprehensive nature of service delivery offers useful proxies for what could be done in less complex pathways at a later date.


  • Colorectal cancer (CRC) third most common cancer suffered by both men & women
  • CRC incidence rate rising in younger people in US & Europe/ ME
  • Failure to detect c. 1,100 cases of CRC each year resulting in avoidable deaths & avoidable costs
  • Limited capacity to manage this due to pre- & post Covid-induced capacity issues – e.g. uncoordinated systems, sub-optimal workflow management, lack of staff & staff burnout


  • Stood up core team to investigate
  • Supplemented team with input from 80 experts (i.e. patients/ patient groups, CRC specialists, social & community care, technologists)
  • Applied design thinking, Lean & Agile methods to explore the problem
  • Blueprinted clinical pathway to identify value creation opportunities
  • Created hybrid personas/ Jobs to be Done archetypes (patients, providers)
  • Best 20 ideas ‘pressure tested’ for desirability to service user, economic viability, & technical feasibility
  • White paper to share ideas widely


  • £Ms of value opportunities identified via improving patient & staff experiences, increasing safety and finding new health system efficiencies
  • Rapid & cost-effective generation of viable CRC service delivery solutions
  • Provides exemplar model for human-centred, pathway agnostic approach
  • Leverages different types of talent in a dynamic, outcomes orientated way
  • Solution co-design by services users & providers facilitates implementation
  • Provides a ‘best practice’ model to both private & public sector healthcare organisations
  • Instant interest from healthcare industry, including providers, insurers, pharma and MedTech organisations operating in UK, wider Europe and USA
  • Rapid network/ relationship development – i.e. decision-makers in provider, payor, med tech, pharma etc getting sight of/ sharing paper
  • Brand upsides via coverage from respected industry media – e.g. HSJ


The success of the project was in part due to the strong relationships forged between a mix of diverse collaborators. Key inputs came from NHS cancer and technology specialists working at these organisations:

  • Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  • North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust
  • Macmillan Information & Support Centre
  • NHS England & NHS Improvement
  • Hall Green Health & NHS Birmingham & Solihull CCG
  • University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals Leicester
  • King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust


  • Bowel Cancer UK
  • Maggie’s
  • Romsey Cancer Support Centre, Jane Scarth House
  • Patient Eye Witness Group
  • Wessex Cancer Trust
  • Wessex Academic Health Science Network
  • Dr. Kat AKA Somnia Sleep Therapists


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