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Government funds 18 digital projects to support vulnerable people


Mark Say Managing Editor


The Government has announced backing for 18 projects to develop digital tools to support vulnerable people under the TechForce19 Challenge.

NHSX, the Department for Health and Social Care and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have pledged up to £25,000 for individual projects worked up in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The selections come from more 1,600 proposals under the TechForce19 programme aimed at providing assistance to the vulnerable, elderly and self-isolating during the lockdown and beyond.

Funds have been made available to support the trial and deployment of the solutions, with the aim of showing benefits quickly so decisions can be made on supporting a national roll out. The trial and deployment process will show how the solutions can be used specifically to support Covid-19 needs.

The projects are as follows:

  • The Feebris app helps carers identify health risks and deterioration in elderly people through a 10-minute online check-up.

  • Chanuar provides, a platform providing a friendly ear and human support for young people to stay virtually social and safe online.

  • Peppy provides new parents with remote access to trusted advice from perinatal and mental health experts.

  • TeamKinetic’s digital platform helps organisations manage community volunteer programmes.

  • Vine Health is a mobile app to support cancer patients and their loved ones during treatment.

  • Beam is a digital platform to support homeless and vulnerable people.

  • The Memohub platform from Alcuris supports people by collating data from unobtrusive sensors in their homes and provides actionable alerts when their behaviour changes.

  • Ampersand Health’s self-management apps use behavioural and data science to help people with long term, immune mediated diseases through courses and programmes.

  • Aparito uses remote monitoring technology to gather data on patients with rare diseases outside of hospital.

  • Birdie provides a digital platform for home care agencies to manage care through daily visit logs and a central information hub.

  • Buddi Connect is a smartphone app enabling people to stay in touch with loved ones, and to receive important messages from the NHS.

  • Just Checking supplies activity monitoring systems for local authorities to assess older people in their homes for social care.

  • Peopletoo and Novoville have been selected to launch GetVolunteering, an app to fast track volunteers into clinical and non-clinical roles.

  • RIX Research and Media provides the RIX Multi Me toolkit for secure social networking for people with learning disabilities and mental health challenges.

  • Simply Do will develop a virtual community of NHS medical professionals currently in self-isolation, enabling them to share their expertise.

  • SureCert is a digital platform that connects people with job and volunteering opportunities and manages the background checks.

  • VideoVisit Home allows elderly people to communicate with their families through a virtual care tablet designed specifically for them. It will measure how the service can increase feelings of safety and reduce loneliness.

  • Virti aims to make experimental education affordable and accessible for everyone, using virtual and augmented reality coupled with AI. It transports users into difficult to access environment and assesses their ability to handle the situations.

Minister for Care Helen Whately (pictured) said: “This is a hugely challenging time for everyone but for some it’s especially hard. Some people find themselves particularly isolated by social distancing - so we want to make sure they have the support they need at their fingertips.

Helen Whately

“Technology has already proven to be a powerful tool in our response to this pandemic, keeping us connected in ways we could not have imagined even a few years ago.

“These innovative projects will offer fresh hope and vital support to some of the people who need it most and I’m very excited to see how they progress.”

The challenge has been run by NHSX, the digital policy unit in the Department for Health and Social Care, govtech promoter Public and the Academic Health Science Network.

Image by David Woolfall, CC BY 3.0

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