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East Midlands Academic Health Science Network project supported by NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands wins award

A test supported by NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands which is proven to speed up the diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and save NHS money has won a highly-prestigious award.

East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN) won the 2018 Health Service Journal (HSJ) Award for innovation in mental health for the QbTest – a uniquely designed Quantitative Behavioural measurement system.

The ‘AQUA’ randomised control trial, funded by NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands and led by Professor Chris Hollis, was published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. AQUA explored the clinical value of the test alongside standard practice in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and community paediatric services. Clinicians using the test reached diagnostic decisions 44% faster, and were twice as likely to rule-out ADHD with no loss of diagnostic accuracy. EMAHSN then deployed the QbTest diagnostic tool across three counties to prove the impact on patient experience, efficiency and time to diagnosis.

To cap a successful introduction to the NHS, it scooped the award earlier this month at a ceremony in London attended by more than 1,700 healthcare professionals.

The EMAHSN-funded QbTest demonstrator project was launched in 2017 at seven NHS sites across Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, aiming to transform care by using the computerised system alongside traditional observation and interviews.

Evaluation of the project confirmed reduction in time to diagnosis by an average of 153 days and identified an average cost saving of 32.6%. Savings were achieved through a reduction in the number of appointments needed for diagnosis and by ruling out ADHD sooner for ambiguous cases. 

Following evaluation, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust announced in April 2018 that they would to continue to fund the QbTest.

Dara Coppel, Head of Innovation Programme Delivery at EMAHSN, presented QbTest to the HSJ judging panel in September. She said: “The judges were looking for a mental health innovation that is leading the way in delivering better services and evidence of financial savings alongside improved patient experience - our evaluation clearly demonstrates this.”

Chris Hart, Commercial Director at EMAHSN, said: “The success of QbTest provides a perfect example of the crucial role AHSNs play in bringing the NHS and industry together and accelerating the spread and uptake of innovations which significantly improve patient experience whilst also delivering cost savings to the NHS.”

Tony Doyle, Managing Director of Qbtech, which produces the system, added: “We are now looking forward to working with them to spread this innovation across NHS Trusts in England - benefitting more patients and delivering more savings.”

Dr Julie Clarke, Consultant Paediatrician at United Lincolnshire Hospitals and Clinical Lead for the project said, “As a clinician with extensive experience in assessment, diagnosis and treatment of ADHD, I can honestly say that the addition of QbTesting has revolutionised my clinical practice.”

EMAHSN is now liaising with additional NHS organisations in the East Midlands and beyond to consider how QbTest might be implemented in more trusts and healthcare settings.  

For more information on QbTest see the AHSN Network Atlas Case Study or contact Dara Coppel, Head of Innovation Programme Delivery at EMAHSN by calling 0115 823 1278 or emailing

Published on: 29 Nov 2018