Five innovations will share a £4.3m funding pot aimed at reducing emergency admissions via A&E units.
The Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare) has awarded money to organisations and companies with new technologies that could reduce the pressure on emergency services.
The innovations chosen have the potential to reduce reliance through wireless monitoring and the use of self-help apps, pioneering point-of-care diagnostic testing, and a novel way of managing urgent care flow.
Each successful company will receive up to £1m in financial backing to take their products to the next stage of development.
The companies, and their supporting Academic Health Science Networks, are:
- Preventing and Reducing Admissions: Healthera (Eastern AHSN) and Microbiosensor (Greater Manchester AHSN)
- Co-ordinating and Managing Resources: Biovici (Wales)
- Planning for Flow and Discharge: 365Response (Yorkshire & Humber AHSN) and snap40 (Scotland)
Start-up company, Healthera, is working on an app to help patients manage their medicines. By improving medical adherence and facilitating automatic intervention and professional advice, the app can contribute to reducing A&E admissions.
It works by helping patients to manage and track their medicine intake and includes a smart medicine diary that automatically schedules pharmacy visits and analyses medicine taking, which can then be shared with GPs.
Jin Dai, vice president of products at Healthera, explains: “With as little as 16% of people taking prescribed medicine correctly, a solution was needed for medication management, and we are confident that Healthera is leading a new era of connected digital health.”
The announcement today will bring new and creative solutions into this space that will improve care for patients and efficiency for the NHS
Chief executive, Quintus Liu, added: “Our latest funding award from the NHS England initiative, in recognition of our potential to reduce A&E pressures, will help fast-track our move to market.”
Biovici is developing an affordable, portable, point-of-care test to detect the presence of biomarkers linked with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
The device will identify biomarkers present in blood from a pinprick test, and the company is also looking to develop a saliva-based test.
The device has the potential to reduce the number of people attending A&E through screening at point of incident as well as effectively triaging patients helping to reduce the burden on the overstretched resources of emergency departments and major trauma centres.
Also gaining funding in the Preventing and Reducing Admissions category is Microbiosensor.
Its investment will go towards further developing a test aimed at reducing incidences of urinary tract infections among the elderly, which are a frequent cause of non-specific confusion and one of the most-common, preventable, reasons for emergency admissions to hospital.
Microbiosensor is developing a test to show the sensitivity of infecting bacteria to antibiotics. It will be used in primary care and residential homes to aid the rapid and accurate prescription of antibiotics to patients with suspected urinary tract infection.
During this Phase 2 contract, the device will be developed from a laboratory prototype to a manufacturable product prototype, tested with many patient samples, and ready for final clinical validation.
As demands and pressure on the urgent and emergency care system increase, we need to find new ways to bring high value innovation into the NHS
365Response will use its investment to fund the Healthcab Smart Platform, which provides a totally-new way of managing urgent care flow.
Specifically designed by clinicians for clinicians, Healthcab connects GPs and community staff to dedicated urgent care and primary care transport, enabling patients to be treated and responded to faster, more safely, and at lower cost.
Bringing the technologies more commonly seen in 999 dispatch, Healthcab is a cloud-based connectivity platform delivering quality logistics technology to primary and community care.
It solves the problem of A&E exit block and ambulance bunching by supporting a new model of care for GP home visits.
And, finally, snap40’s cash will be used for its stand-alone product which continuously monitors patients using a single medical wearable device worn on the upper arm.
The wearable monitors heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, relative change in systolic blood pressure, temperature, and movement.
Sense data is transmitted over WiFi and algorithms are then used to automatically identify patients at high risk of deterioration. Pre-emptive alerts to clinicians and nurses allow earlier intervention.
The expected outcome from SBRI Phase 2 is a complete commercially and clinically-validated product to automate risk analysis using continuous medical wearable vital signs monitoring that has been successfully commercially implemented NHS hospitals in UK.
Commenting on the funding round, Richard Phillips, chairman of the SBRI board and director of the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) said: “As demands and pressure on the urgent and emergency care system increase, we need to find new ways to bring high value innovation into the NHS.
SBRI Healthcare is great initiative where vibrant, creative and ambitious SMEs can secure support to develop an idea from prototype into action and into business
“The announcement today will bring new and creative solutions into this space that will improve care for patients and efficiency for the NHS.”
Sarah Fatchett, founder of 365Response, added: “SBRI Healthcare is great initiative where vibrant, creative and ambitious SMEs can secure support to develop an idea from prototype into action and into business.
“It can make a massive difference. We have created new product, delivered real value, employed local people, and generally grown – not just in people but in skills, confidence and delivery.”