By Dr Neil Patel

INNOVATIVE, technology-driven solutions to address challenges in women's and children's care have taken on a whole new meaning in recent times.

Hospital visits during the Covid-19 pandemic from family and friends necessarily became restricted and they remain carefully monitored and supervised in order to keep everyone as safe as possible.

That restriction presented significant challenges in many cases, particularly where families wanting the reassurance of staying in touch with young children receiving care was concerned.

Thus, the vCreate secure video service was developed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Hospital for Children at the Queen Elizabeth in Glasgow, where medical staff could send videos to parents to provide essential updates on premature babies and other vital children’s cases. I’m proud to say I played an instrumental role in first getting the video messaging service up and running, and vCreate went on to be used in neonatal units right across the west of Scotland.

During the coronavirus pandemic it was then expanded, with support from the West of Scotland Innovation Hub, for use in adult ICUs across Glasgow, and more widely in Scotland to help keep families connected to their loved ones.

The service allows nurses and doctors to record video messages which are uploaded to a secure platform for family members to view.

In some cases, it has allowed loved ones to connect after several weeks of not seeing a sick relative, while giving them the sense of security and reassurance provided by speaking regularly to medical staff, helping to alleviate the stress of separation.

Working with colleagues in Neurology services, the technology has also been adapted to enable patients and carers to share videos with clinical teams. This service, rapidly spreading internationally, is leading to faster diagnosis and effective treatment, whilst reducing in-person clinic appointments, admissions, and improving patient convenience.

With the vCreate technology continuing to expand, I am leading an event entitled Inspiring Innovation in Women's and Children's Health Care’ which will be held virtually today (Tuesday November 30) and next Tuesday, December 7. The vision for the event is to engage and inspire clinical colleagues to help develop technology-based solutions to clinical challenges.

I believe there is neither a shortage in potential for exciting technological solutions to be realised among colleagues, nor of partners wanting to work closely with the NHS to turn those visions into reality.

National and international speakers will share their experience of leading successful clinical innovation projects, the support available through regional Innovation Hubs, and the opportunities to work in partnership with industry and academic teams.

The way we live and work has changed in so many ways due to the pandemic, and we must now reflect that change in how we offer care. That is why this event is vital in taking a first step forward in inspiring the next generation of innovation.

You can register for the event here: Inspiring Innovation in Women’s and Children’s Care – Virtual Event (

Dr Neil Patel, is Consultant Neonatologist at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children