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NHS England has announced 17 healthcare innovators to receive funding, mentoring and support to roll out their technologies and ideas across the health service.
The initiative is part of the NHS Innovation Accelerator programme, announced in January 2015, intended to harness emerging technologies, processes and inventions to improve healthcare in England.
The 17 competition winners include a genome analysis and decision support tool; a mobile patient engagement system; a system to allow patients to own and control their own electronic medical records; a social network for patients; and a mobile task management tool. The NHS received more than 120 applications to take part in the programme.
“The NHS stands on the cusp of a revolution in innovation. At its heart, innovation is the will to be better, to find solutions for existing needs or new problems through more effective products, processes, technology or even the way we deliver services,” said Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s national medical director.
"Today we increase the opportunity for improving patient care by creating new conditions for ideas to thrive."
The accelerator is intended to support the growing use of technology in the health service as part of the NHS Five-Year Forward View report published in 2014.
“Innovation is critical to enabling the NHS to achieve the ambitions set out in the Five-Year Forward View: to ramp up the pace and scale of change, and deliver better outcomes for patients,” said Mahiben Maruthappu, NHS England lead for the Innovation Accelerator programme.
“But if we don’t install the necessary infrastructure, we won’t be able to make the most of the opportunities that technology and innovation have to offer. That’s why we’re launching the NHS Innovation Accelerator programme, which aims to roll-out a set of tried and tested innovations across the English health service to benefit millions, from mental health apps to a healthcare social network, to a smartphone heart monitor to a telehealth service.
"Innovators on the programme will receive national support to spread their technologies to hospitals and GP practices throughout England.”
Another part of the accelerator project will see the creation of 15 Academic Health Science Networks to set up five testbeds in GP surgeries, hospitals, community health teams, social care or voluntary centres. The testbeds are intended to ensure proposed innovations work in the setting they are intended for use in, alongside existing NHS processes and technologies.
Healthcare technologies are expected to play a growing role in improving care in the NHS and addressing the predicted £8bn annual funding shortfall expected by 2020.
Earlier in 2015, health secretary Jeremy Hunt offered £1.9bn to fund development of better care in the NHS, available to authorities meeting standards such as implementing electronic health records. And in February 2015, the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) set out a five-year technology strategy to make the UK a world leader in the development and use of health and social care apps by 2020.
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