AS A first-time father, Tushar Srivastava struggled to keep track of routine health visits for his infant son and related parenting tasks, so he resorted to jotting them down on Excel.
Soon, though, it became clear to him that other parents were in the same boat, so he came up with an idea to make life easier – by digitising the NHS Red Book, a health and development record.
It is given to parents as a physical notebook with a red cover at the time of their child’s birth, and some MPs as well as healthcare campaigners have long called on ministers to launch a digital version.
Srivastava’s Nurturey PinkBook, described as a digital twin of the NHS Red Book, went live in Dorset on September 14.
“Dorset is our first pivotal point. I’m sure that in the history of the digital Red Book and overall childcare developments that happened in the country, Dorset will be considered the key start, as it is here that a first fully functional digital Red Book, built on both present and future architecture, came into use,” the founder and CEO said.
Nurturey Pinkbook was given approval for NHS integration in June 2022, but the timeline for a national rollout has not yet been defined.
“Since it is taking time to enter through the door, we are trying to make it through the windows,” Srivastava explained.
“There are parallel efforts from our side – to work with the NHS for a national launch as well as reach local organisations and go live regionally. We want to be sure PinkBook is available nationwide, when NHS England gives the go-ahead for nationallevel digitisation,” he said.
All the combined efforts will be “an easy win and, of course, a great leap forward for NHS,” he said.
There are five basic features – measurements; developmental milestones; vaccination, vision and dental records; along with functions such as ordering prescriptions or accessing health guidance and records.
Apart from record-keeping and a custom insight into the milestones in the growth of an infant, the app is also equipped with immunisation reminders according to age, requirement and history, Srivastava said, adding this was how “we are different” from a general health app.
For the launch in Dorset, Nurturey collaborated with Provide CIC, a social enterprise that delivers health and social care services in the community.
Srivastava emphasised that Nurturey’s PinkBook was a companion or “rather a twin to the NHS’s conventional Red Book”. He dismissed concerns that the NHS paper Red Book would no longer be relevant once the digital version was out.
“Until we reach a point when a digital Red Book, in integration with the NHS, is available throughout the country to every parent in every nook and corner, the paper NHS Red Book will continue to remain very much in use and relevant,” he said.
Born and raised in India, Srivastava moved to England about 20 years ago, after completing an engineering course from the Indian Institute of Technology, in Varanasi. After working for a couple of years in technology and financial consulting, he joined Oxford University to do an MBA, and went back to the finance industry.
“I always wanted to become an entrepreneur and create something for a larger cause for a very long time,” he said.
“I needed to get the right inspiration and cause to pursue. Around the same time, my son was born and that was the first time I realised there was a need for a proper, relevant and reliable support system to seek better guidance as to what to do, especially for immigrants.”
“As a first-time father, I was struggling and trying to keep track of things like tasks and routine health visits. Very soon, it became clear that it was a common issue where everyone learns on the job since it was their first time too as a parent. So that’s when the idea of creating a tech support system dealing in infant and early childcare started to take shape,” he recalled.
“Parenting styles may be different, but parental anxiety about managing their child’s health is the same,” he said, adding this observation kept him “confident” that he was solving a “universal problem”.
Nurturey Pinkbook came into being in 2019. Srivastava switched from the development of a global child health care assistance system to a more England-focused child health support application, specialising in the digital version of the NHS Red Book.
Srivastava collaborated with the NHS for all the necessary tech integrations, governance and assurances, seeking a series of approvals.
With more than 200,000 downloads, Nurturey today supports a digital version of the NHS Red Book. It is among the few health and social care services that are integrated with the patient’s NHS login. It is also a supporter of the government’s 1001 Critical Days programme, an early years healthy development review, with six areas for action to improve the health outcomes of all babies in England.
Srivastava said, “What we need is support from the NHS and from the government so we can do this on a much bigger scale and in a more effective way. Everything is already ready. There may be a few things to iron out, but together, we can do that easily and give every child born in England their very own digital version of the NHS Red Book.”