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Health board offers £100,000 prize for patient coding



Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board stages competition for SMEs to support shift from paper to digital records

A Welsh health board has invited SMEs to compete for a £100,000 prize to support the development of a new system for maintaining coded records of what happens to hospital patients.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has become the latest public service organisation to try such an approach, in this case with the support of Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, under the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).

The competition is being launched in response to an anticipated increase in the requirement for coding, as hospital records are gradually shifting from paper to digital format.

Administration staff are required to assign clinical codes to patient conditions and treatments to support reporting on their progress. The move to digital formats should reduce the manual burden on staff and reduce problems caused by handwritten records.

The competition, which is open for applications under noon on 10 October, involves two stages. In the first, at least five proposals will be selected to receive up to £10,000 for proof of concept projects, and in the second at least two will be selected to receive up to £100,000 for further development.

Public service purpose

The SBRI has been focused largely on projects that could provide technology with a public service purpose. Other competitions announced over the past year cover issues such as hazardous scene assessment and automatic threat detection of firearms.

Meanwhile, the Betsi Cadwaladr project is part of a trend in which public authorities are encouraging small businesses to develop solutions to specific requirements. It has come immediately after CivTech Scotland announced a competition for SMEs to develop cyber security solutions, and a few weeks after Belfast City Council launched an initiative to find a new provider of business rates software.


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