Case Study: Smoking Cessation
A core component of Bionical Solutions’ provision of services to life sciences companies in the UK and US is the design and delivery of bespoke digital services. Never has this been more needed than during the Covid pandemic when the ever-increasing demand for patient centric solutions has been combined with the necessity to adhere to Covid restrictions. Digital material that can engage individuals while reducing the need for face-to-face consultations, has helped improve clinical and health outcomes, reducing the need for hospital visits.
At the heart of Bionical’s mission to improve patient outcomes is its work around smoking cessation.
Just this year, Health Secretary Sajid Javid, speaking on World Cancer Day, described smoking as a primary cause of cancer. He cited smoking as “one of the greatest factors” causing cancer, stressing that "a quarter of deaths from cancers were estimated to be due to smoking." He noted that despite "positive signs that smoking is declining, there are still around 6 million people who smoke regularly in England."
On average, 36,000 people die from lung cancer each year1 2, with 90% of cases attributed to smoking. A 30-year-old who stops smoking, typically adds 10 more years to their life, a 60-year-old on average, three.
By effecting smoking cessation, not only are there palpable benefits on a human level, but public healthcare services stand to make considerable cost savings. The cost of one patient successfully stopping smoking with pharmacotherapy and support is around £500, while the cost to the NHS per life year gained from treating a single patient with smoking related cancer is £17,000!
Quit Manager is Bionical’s market-leading data collection, management, and reporting solution for Public Health Stop Smoking Services. Proven to help these services run more efficiently, it provides users with the tools to better manage a patient’s episode of care delivering the best possible support for the quit attempt. Communication with patients is state-of-the-art and includes, for example, text messaging of motivational messages and appointment reminders. Automated updating of the patient’s quit status is possible in response to what the patient is reporting, and full patient engagement is assured throughout the whole lifecycle of their quit attempt.
Providing superb cost management, Quit Manager has the inbuilt functionality to calculate the cost of medication per quit (or any outcome) and this detail, together with the tool’s nimble functionality, means designing the most efficient and effective smoking cessation service is made easy.
Yorkshire Smokefree (YSF) is one of Bionical’s largest Quit Manager customers, both geographically and in terms of the number of service users. Over the last three years the service has had over 50,000 patient referrals for smoking cessation support.
At the start of the pandemic, YSF approached Bionical to look at ways of optimising its support process and in particular allowing for patients to receive smoking cessation support and access to medications quickly. The timing became paramount as there was now the added requirement not to breach any Covid pandemic restrictions.
Together Bionical and YSF looked at the process, and the cost implicated against paper-based systems and issuing vouchers for patients to redeem at pharmacies and devised a more streamlined and effective “e-Voucher system.” The results have been remarkable. Following the impact of Covid, which has led to increased telephone and virtual support, post initial setup costs, the e-voucher module delivered savings of £24, 849.40 in six months.
11,000 patients passed through the YSF service for smoking cessation support in 2020/21; 29,000 e-Vouchers were issued by text.
Jan Spence, Manager of Yorkshire Smokefree commented:
“To optimise stop smoking success Yorkshire Smokefree identified that our clients required rapid access to stop smoking medication in conjunction with intensive specialist behavioural support. To address the issue YSF commissioned an e-voucher which sent an automated code direct to the client’s mobile phone. The code is then taken directly by the client to the pharmacy for dispensing.
The e-voucher has enabled services to offer immediate access to medications in a time specific way, reduce the risk of fraudulent claims or lost vouchers, reduce carbon footprint and has given YSF the ability to enhance the client experience by offering a seamless process when stop smoking medications are required.”
Across all its QuitManager installations in 2019/20, Bionical Solutions had 121,737 episodes of care recorded with 45,890 patients recording a four-week quit rate.
At a cost of £17,000, even if only one more life year is added to those quits below on average, which is potentially £780,130,000 worth of life years saved from the NHS, and potentially we have contributed to increasing the life of nearly 46,000 patients in the last year.
It may only be software… but it is software that makes a BIG difference.
Bionical’s Quit Manager is highly configurable and works in accordance with NICE Guidelines, Russell Standard and NCSCT. Customer feedback states it is the best they have used due to its clear auditing, structure and reporting and ability to guide advisors through the smoking cessation journey. 71 out of 151 Local Authorities submitting to NHS Digital last year were QM users.
2 Tengs et al featured in Guidance for Commissioners on the Cost Effectiveness of Smoking Cessation Interventions, https://thorax.bmj.com/content/53/suppl_5/S2
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