Accelerator programme aims to revolutionise digital health in the NHS

A new initiative aims to help small to medium size digital health businesses develop and pioneer healthcare technology for the NHS.

The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, launched last week, will initially run for three years. According to the Digital Catapult it will work with 30 digital health businesses each year, promoting engagement with clinicians and healthcare experts so that the companies can refine their products to meet healthcare needs, and gain advice and support on aspects such as navigating the intricacies of the NHS, understanding how to work with sensitive data, and accessing opportunities to showcase new technologies in hospitals.

The initiative is part of DigitalHealth.London, which was announced by Life Sciences Minister George Freeman in February with the aim of speeding up the use of new digital health technologies in the UK by bringing together clinicians, healthcare providers, research institutes, entrepreneurs and industry. It’s hoped this will give companies a clearer route to market based on the needs of patients, the NHS and wider health sector.

The Accelerator is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by Guy’s & St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust operating through the Health Innovation Network, UCLPartners, Imperial College Healthcare Partners, CW+, MedCity and the Digital Catapult.

MedCity chief executive Sarah Haywood said last month:

“Digital health is a tremendous opportunity for the UK, and London is in a prime position to lead the way. By creating a single access point for everyone with an interest in digital health, we can generate an efficient and demand-focused pipeline that means potentially transformative technologies are reaching patients and the NHS much more speedily, and companies can grow and succeed.”

Speaking at a recent Accelerator information day, Dr. Tony Newman-Sanders, consultant radiologist and chief clinical information officer for Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, said:

“This is a really exciting time to be involved in healthcare in this country, but we will not be able to continue to improve quality of health and care whilst maintaining financial sustainability without a great deal of innovation and we need to work together. Clinicians need to recognise that they have as much to learn from digital professionals as vice versa, and innovators need to be aware that it is all very well developing a product to solve a solution, but is that problem big enough to get the attention of the person you are trying to sell it to?”

To find out more, visit the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator website.

“There are many digital accelerators and incubators in both the UK and Europe but what makes this Accelerator attractive for digital health businesses is that it is run by NHS organisations giving invaluable clinical input and access to NHS insight and the system itself. It has the potential to really make a difference for those businesses who win places in the Accelerator.” Bleddyn Rees, a consultant at Osborne Clarke.

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