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DigitalHealth.London Accelerator opens for applications

Digital products and services have provided vital innovation, support and capacity to the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to do so as the healthcare system moves forward into the subsequent recovery phase of the COVID-19 response. DigitalHealth.London has opened applications to their flagship Accelerator programme for the next generation of digital health companies to transform health and care.

Now in its sixth consecutive year, the NHS delivered programme, funded in part by the European Regional Development Fund, has supported some of the biggest and most effective digital innovations now being used by the NHS in London. Companies including LIVI, Oxehealth, Patchwork Health, Echo, Sweatcoin, and Health Navigator  have all been through the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme. Many of the digital products and services who have provided vital innovation, support and capacity to the NHS during the response to COVID-19 have come through the Accelerator. From enabling remote GP appointments, to transforming NHS temporary staffing and patient facing self-management apps, the Accelerator has supported some of the best digital innovations now being widely used. The need for innovations to solve the problems which face the NHS as it continues to be under pressure and as it recovers from the pandemic, remains vital.

To date the Accelerator has supported 122 innovative digital health companies, with 411 additional contracts signed by those companies during Accelerator support. For every £1 spent on the programme it is estimated over £14 is saved for the NHS*. DigitalHealth.London is passionate about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the long-term success of innovation and transformation within the NHS. To date 15% of the companies supported have been founded by women, 22% have been owned by innovators who identify as Black, Asian or minority ethnic and 2% by a person with a disability*. DigitalHeath.London continues to work to ensure the Accelerator programme is diverse and encourages innovators who identify as being from a minority group to apply to the programme.

Jenny Thomas, Programme Director, DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, said: “The last year and a half in the NHS has seen profound challenges but also incredible progress. NHS Staff and patients have been introduced to new ways of doing things through digital health, and technology has enabled many key services to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am extremely proud of the companies and NHS organisations we have worked with and the role they have played during the pandemic and the vital roles I know they will continue to play as we start to look at supporting the NHS to recover. I am very excited to announce the opening of applications to be part of the next cohort of innovators on the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme – innovators who we will support in being part of this next, pivotal stage for our healthcare system.”

Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer for London, said: “DigitalHealth.London’s influential Accelerator programme is helping London establish its place as one of the most exciting digital health and care hubs in the world. I am delighted to continue to support the Accelerator as it opens for applications again and I’d urge any digital health innovator who has a product or service that could support the NHS in this challenging time to consider joining this programme.”

Tara Donnelly, Chief Digital Officer of NHSX, said:”The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme is a key player in helping the NHS and social care to make the most of the opportunities digital technologies bring.

“This has never been more important as the NHS looks to recover from the pandemic and I look forward to seeing the next group of innovators bringing their solutions to London’s NHS.”

Phoebe Allen, Quality Improvement Manager, Planned Care, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Working on the ground in the NHS I have witnessed first-hand the rapid progress of digital technology within our healthcare system over the last year. Without some of these innovations the delivery of many services would have been nearly impossible and it is clear that digital technology has a huge role to play in the future of improving patient care and helping the NHS to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme helps connect innovators to NHS teams with an unmet need and provide them with the knowledge they need to truly understand the challenges face by the NHS, its staff and its patients.”

Dr Mridula Pore, CEO and Co-founder, Peppy, Accelerator programme 2020-21, said: “The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator has been instrumental in fostering the perfect environment for Peppy to grow in the NHS. The guidance we have been given, connections brokered with decision makers in NHS organisations and policy makers, and the support we have received from our NHS Navigator has all led to wonderful new opportunities and meaningful growth of our company. We are truly grateful for our Accelerator experience and would like to wish all companies applying good luck in what is a hugely competitive and valuable programme.”

Anas Nader, Co-Founder, Patchwork Health, Accelerator programme 2019-20, said: “We’re so proud of how widely our technology has already been embraced across the NHS and the impact we’re having on the lives of thousands of clinicians. We were delighted to join the 2019-20 cohort of DigitalHealth.London’s Accelerator, a brilliant programme speeding up adoption of digital health innovations in the NHS. The programme has provided us with opportunities to connect with industry experts as well as other healthtech innovators. I’d encourage companies like ours with good ideas and big ambitions to apply.”

DigitalHealth.London’s Accelerator aims to speed up the adoption of technology in London’s NHS, relieving high pressure on services and empowering patients to manage their health. The programme is for digital health companies with a product or service that has high potential to meet the challenges facing the NHS and social care today, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and as detailed in the NHS Long Term Plan. It works with up to 20 SMEs over a 12-month period, giving bespoke support and advice, a programme of expert-led workshops and events and brokering meaningful connections between innovators and NHS organisations with specific challenges. The companies that are successful in getting onto the Accelerator programme are chosen through a rigorous and highly competitive selection process, involving expert NHS and industry panel assessments, interviews and due diligence checks. Companies successful in gaining a place on the programme usually have a product or service that has already been piloted in the NHS and is ready to scale. Through-out the 12 months the programme focuses on engagement with different elements of the health and care system. Company suitability is assessed based both on product maturity (meaning products that are ready to be trialled or bought that have high potential to meet NHS challenges) and on the company’s capacity to benefit from the programme (meaning companies have enough time and staff to engage).

For more information about the Accelerator, visit: https://digitalhealth.london/programmes/accelerator

Join a discussion with the Programme Director, an NHS Navigator and some of the SMEs who have been supported by the programme on the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator 101 Webinar, 4 August 12:30pm: https://bit.ly/3iUTkl9

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Notes to editors

Interviews and further information

For more information, including interviews, statements and images, please contact Megan Truman, DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, Communications Lead on 07794276022 or megan.truman@nhs.net.

  • DigitalHealth.London Accelerator

Applications open on Monday 2 August 2021 for six weeks. The deadline for companies to apply is midnight Sunday 12 September 2021. For companies offered a place on the programme, support will begin in mid-January 2021.

The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator was the first programme of DigitalHealth.London. It is aimed at digital health companies that would benefit from better engagement with the NHS and the wider health sector, in order to refine and develop products and services that meet the needs of the system.

The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is run by a consortium of founding partners comprising of London’s three Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) – the Health Innovation Network, Imperial College Health Partners and UCLPartners – as well as CW+ and MedCity. The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme.

More information about the Accelerator programme and details of how to apply: digitalhealth.london/programmes/accelerator

The application form can be found here: https://bit.ly/3fbenPz

A full list of companies to have been supported by the Accelerator programme can be found here:

digitalhealth.london/innovation-directory/companies

Join the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator 101 Webinar at 12:30pm on 4 August: https://bit.ly/3iUTkl9

Watch our Top Tips for Applying to the Accelerator video for advice on completing the application form: https://youtu.be/qYYhdgy83_U

*DigitalHealth.London Accelerator Interim Evaluation report available to download here: digitalhealth.london/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Digital-Health-Accelerator_Interim-Report_v1-2.pdf

  • European Regional Development Fund

The project is receiving up to £3.8 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community.

For more information visit gov.uk/european-growth-funding 

  • DigitalHealth.London

DigitalHealth.London is a partnership between London’s three Academic Health Science Networks – Imperial College Health Partners, the Health Innovation Network and UCLPartners – and MedCity, focusing on accelerating the adoption of digital innovation by linking health and care organisations with digital health innovators for the benefit of patients and populations. It accelerates the adoption of digital innovations across health and care to improve patient and population outcomes and experience and supports a sustainable future NHS.

For more information, please see digitalhealth.london