Citrus Suite

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Citrus Suite is a creative design studio producing apps, software, games and digital artwork from their office in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle. One of their most high profile products is ReMind Me, an award-winning app facilitated by Innovate Dementia. The app, which won the first ever North West Digital Health Challenge, is an iOS and Android app which enables people living with dementia to aid their memory and daily routines.

Managing Director Chris Morland explains how they have worked with the eHealth Cluster.

“The main thing the eHealth Business Support has offered us is the ability to connect with the right organisations. Two years ago we were producing a lot of apps but we were increasingly getting enquiries about mobile health apps from agencies in London. We weren’t as well connected in the local community as we might like to be and the eHealth cluster has helped us to make those connections; with the CCG, NHS and key individuals as well.

The cluster has been a good focal point, from a technical and development point of view so you know what’s going on. The key members have been technology companies, NHS and academic partners from key organisations. The most rewarding part of it is sharing our expertise and helping to fill technology gaps in health and social care sectors.

We’ve worked extensively with Open Labs, Innovate Dementia, Mersey Care and LJMU. If it hadn’t have been for the cluster, we probably wouldn’t have known about the other support we could tap into. The organisers have helped us get access to commissioners and the people who need the technology to offer to patients.

Once we had the prototype of our ReMind Me app it was the eHealth cluster, the team there that helped us to introduce it to the key people at local authorities, to the CCG who could help us with the trials. That has been invaluable.

Through the Merseyside Chinese Wellbeing Organisation we are running trials with a group of elderly Chinese participants so we’re extending our marketplace and also looking at a deployment in the local YMCA.

If we do the Venn diagram of the product and its development you start to get these overlaps between science networks, academics, health providers and technology companies. What the cluster has done is pull all of that knowledge together.

We’ve won funding from Innovate Dementia, the Market Vibrancy Programme, and Digital Maze competition. Our progress has seen us move from a 4 person team to an 8 person team comprising 5 fulltime staff, a couple of contractors and an apprentice

The factor that will be most important to us as the cluster evolves is the procurement framework that is being development. It will open up opportunities for app development projects, with various public sector organisations, NHS Trusts and Councils, allowing us to bid for that work. Those contracts would currently go to bigger companies who are not as skilled as us at producing mobile apps. We’re a specialist in this work but can find the red tape involved in dealing with the public sector a barrier. As we move forward that framework will be really important.”