Newcastle software company Digital Spark plans global expansion

Digital Spark was set up just over three years ago by Michael J Bell and Gavin Kipling after the pair discovered a gap in the market for a 'paperless' patient notes system

Digital Spark's new healthcare software
Digital Spark's new healthcare software

A Newcastle-based software company is making significant investment in the healthcare sector in order to expand on a global scale.

Ouseburn-based Digital Spark Ltd was set up just over three years ago by Michael J Bell and Gavin Kipling after the pair discovered a gap in the market for a ‘paperless’ patient notes system.

And the data collection and performance monitoring platform they developed now gives doctors, nurses and admin staff up and down the country vital information on patients who have suffered a stroke, by charting their progress and rehabilitation needs using iPads and tablets.

The technology, which it is hoped will help healthcare professionals meet tough Government targets by boosting ward performance, can also generate reminder emails to doctors and also act as an audit tool for hospital departments.

The system, which operates on both iPads and tablets, was initially developed to help improve patient safety, slashing the risk of missing paper notes and human error. The software itself costs in the region of £40,000, while tablets are procured at about £500 per device.

As a result of the new web-based software, the firm has generated sales of around £400,000 for the year ending March 2013.

In the North East alone, around £1m has been spent on research and development costs to bring the software to market – with significant ongoing investment.

Michael J Bell and Gavin Kiplin
Michael J Bell and Gavin Kiplin

However, in the future the firm says it is set to make significant investmemts to aid expansion in the UK, and also in Europe.

As well as being used UK-wide and by all North East Trusts, this week has seen the company roll out the software at its 30th UK hospital site - Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

It has also received enquiries on the software from Denmark, Belgium and Australia.

Michael J Bell, whose offices are at the Toffee Factory, said: “Recent analysis of benefits realisation on CaptureStroke conducted by us has produced some great results.

“This suggests that the solution offers trusts efficiency savings of 47% on traditional paper-based methods through streamlining processes, reduction of physical costs such as stationery, and significant staffing costs which can be reassigned elsewhere within the hospital.”

With a growing 26-strong team, Digital Spark has also launched further pioneering packages alongside the original CaptureStroke software.

CaptureRACPC is designed for use in rapid access chest pain clinics, while CaptureTherapy is used to chart the progress of stroke patient rehabilitation and CaptureTIA tackles patients suffering from minor strokes or symptoms.

Meanwhile, the company has also been working with Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust to launch CapturePsychiatry which supports mental health liaison services.

Bell added: “We are now looking to grow the business by 100% in terms of sites year on year.

“This would mean we’d be servicing 60 sites by summer 2014. A staggering achievement if we manage it.”


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