NHS unveils new developer programs to spark innovation for patients

National Health Service is looking for digital health tools that benefit patients and will deliver ROI within a year.
By Leontina Postelnicu
12:02 PM
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NHS hospital sign in UK

The National Health Service in England has announced two new innovator programs to accelerate the use of digital health tools that benefit patients and remove barriers slowing adoption of innovation. 

NHS England is funding a small number of proven innovations through the Innovation Technology Payment (ITP) 2019/20, part of a wider effort led in collaboration with the country's Academic Health Science Networks.

Solutions eligible for the programme have to be used in at least three NHS sites and demonstrate the potential for a return on investment within a year of deployment.

PUBLIC report published earlier this year, authored by former Health Minister Nicola Blackwood, found that partial interoperability and poor procurement practices were some of the key hurdles to selling new tech into the NHS, making the health service a 'challenging digital terrain'. 

Recent innovations selected to take part in the ITP scheme include the HeartFlow FFRct (fractional flow reserve) Analysis technology from California-based company HeartFlow, which uses data from CT scans to create a personalised 3D model of the coronary arteries and then analyse the impact of blockages on blood flow to help clinicians diagnose coronary artery disease by eliminating the need for patients to undergo invasive procedures.

Applications are also open for the 4th call of the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA), providing bespoke support, aimed at innovators whose solutions are addressing one or more of the following priorities: prevention and early diagnosis, mental health, and primary care.

“These two programmes will allow exciting innovations to flourish and spread as NHS England is once again prepared to support innovators and foot the bill for a select group of products so patients can benefit faster,” said Professor Tony Young, NHS England National Clinical Lead for Innovation.

Innovations supported through the last round of the NIA include Healthy.io’s Dip.io tool, a home-based urinalysis kit that turns a smartphone into a clinical-grade diagnostic device.

The start-up, which recently received FDA 510(k) clearance for Dip.io, announced in June that it was partnering with the UK's Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust in a project known as the ‘virtual renal clinic’.

“Technology has the potential to transform healthcare and we must do all we can to break down the barriers that prevent patients from accessing the best possible treatment," added Health Minister Lord O'Shaughnessy. 

Innovators have until 3 October to apply for the ITP programme and until 24 October to submit their applications for the NIA

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