NHS supports budding entrepreneurs developing voice-recognition app for tackling blood disease

10 Jan 2018 04:21 PM

The NHS has selected 138 entrepreneurs to design and deliver new technological solutions and innovations in healthcare. This includes the appointment of five healthcare scientists, tackling conditions including sickle cell disease and allergic reactions.

The Clinical Entrepreneurs Programme, run by NHS England, supports NHS workers to work with, and learn from, leading health and technology industry experts to develop their own innovative ideas. NHS England has confirmed that more NHS staff will be provided with mentoring and other support to improve patient care. Within the first year, Clinical Entrepreneurs recruited to the programme have already launched 50 start-ups, leading to the creation of 344 jobs.

The latest innovations to be supported under the programme include:

  • A voice controlled data collection app for sickle cell patients will be developed that can be worn by patients, to monitor their health, including their heart rate, pain score and medication log every day. The app will mean data can be tracked and processed to help inform patient care for this type of blood disease.
  • The Allergy Assist App will help allergy sufferers come together to share information and support on their condition and treatment.
  • A new online service, sci-connect, will provide tailored online support and resources to undergraduates and junior staff in the early stages of their career who are studying healthcare and biomedical  sciences.

Professor Tony Young Director of Innovation NHS England, said: “Helping NHS professionals create new and innovative treatments is good for patients and good for our talented staff. Frontline workers have a unique insight into patients’ experiences and supporting all our staff to develop and deliver their ideas for better care will mean better outcomes for patients.”

Professor Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer OBE, said: “Giving budding entrepreneurs in the NHS support and space to create new solutions to old problems will keep the NHS at the forefront of innovation in healthcare. I’m delighted to see even more of our staff join the Clinical Entrepreneurs programme, which will see nearly 140 doctors, nurses and scientists benefit from world-class industry expertise, even as they continue to deliver care for patients.”

Key achievements in the first year of the programme include:

  • In total, Clinical Entrepreneurs have been awarded over £3.7million of public sector funding in the form of grants and seed-funding and have raised over £48m of private sector funding.
  • More than 5.6million patients and professionals used the innovations on the programme, ranging from educational training platforms for medics, providing video consultations with GPs, to medical diagnostic devices.
  • The programme has also supported a brain gain of 34 doctors returning to/staying in the NHS whilst developing their innovations, helping to avoid staff leaving the NHS to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations.

The clinical entrepreneur programme is an annual programme launched in 2016, after being introduced for junior doctors, was expanded last year to include healthcare scientists and dentists. It provides a mixed package of education and mentoring support from leading medical technology experts to give budding entrepreneurs the business skills and industry ‘know how’ to make their ideas a reality.

Alongside internships and placements, the programme offers regional and national networking events, funding sessions, and commercial educational opportunities including expert webinars, video content, e-learning and flexible university accredited modules.

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