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NHS England backs 11 digital healthcare projects



Apps feature strongly in new tranche of initiatives to be supported by the NHS Innovation Accelerator

NHS England has provided backing for 11 digital healthcare projects, including the development of several mobile apps, in the third round of funding under the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) programme.

The projects provide the latest tranche to receive support under an initiative that began in 2015, and is aimed at speeding up the take-up of high impact innovations among NHS staff and patients. They were selected through a process that included review by more than 100 assessors and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

NHS England highlighted four of the projects, including RespiraSense, a wireless device that measures breathing through chest and abdomen movements delivering highly accurate, continuous data. This might aid the early detection of and more effective treatment of conditions such as sepsis and pneumonia as well as cardiac arrest.

Home monitoring of hypertension in pregnancy (HaMpton) enables pregnant women at risk of pre-eclampsia to input blood pressure readings and urine test results into an app, then answer a set of questions to help identify the condition. The app links with a hospital computer system where the data can be monitored by clinicians in real time.

Others include WaitLess to direct patients with minor injuries to quick treatment, and for urine analysis at home to identify conditions such as kidney disease.

As part of the support package, the 15 NHS Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN) will promote the adoption of the apps across the NHS.

Huge shift

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: “Modern medicine is on the cusp of a huge shift in how care is delivered, and practical innovations like these show how NHS patients will now directly benefit. More tests and patient monitoring will be done at home or on the move, without the need to pitch up to a doctors appointment or hospital outpatients.”

In addition to the NIA, NHS England has opened an Innovation Technology Payment system (developed from the Innovation Technology Tariff) to help NHS organisations quickly spread new innovations. The first group of supported technologies will be announced next year.

Image by Daniel Sone, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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