Voice controlled sickle cell help on the way from NHS internal ‘entrepreneurs’

NHS England celebrating budding internal tech thinkers developing things like a voice-recognition app for tackling blood disease among other innovations

Posted 10 January 2018 by

NHS England says smart NHS staff are coming forward with more and more tech-driven innovations – and it says it’s happy to help fund their further development.

That’s in the shape of something called the Clinical Entrepeneurs Programme, which it set up in 2016 and which offers support in the form of education, funding and even mentoring from industry experts to help them get their ideas off the ground.

So successful has the Programme been that it’s now supporting 138 entrepreneurs to design and deliver new technological solutions and innovations in healthcare, it said today. Within the first year, Clinical Entrepreneurs recruited to the scheme launched 50 start-ups, leading to the creation of 344 jobs.

Plus, Clinical Entrepreneurs have been awarded over £3.7m of public sector funding in the form of grants and seed-funding and have raised over £48m of private sector funding, says the group, while more than 5.6m patients and professionals have used the innovations on the programme, ranging from educational training platforms for medics, providing video consultations with GPs, to medical diagnostic devices.

The Programme has also supported a brain gain of 34 doctors returning to/staying in the NHS whilst developing their innovations – helping to avoid staff leaving the NHS to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations.

NHS England has confirmed that more NHS staff will be provided with mentoring and other support to improve patient care, given successes such as:

  • A voice controlled data collection app for sickle cell patients is on the way that can be worn by patients, to monitor their health, including their heart rate, pain score and medication log every day. The app will mean data can be tracked and processed to help inform patient care for this type of blood disease
  • The Allergy Assist App, something that will help allergy sufferers come together to share information and support on their condition and treatment
  • A new online service – ‘sci-connect’ is being created to provide tailored online support and resources to undergraduates and junior staff in the early stages of their career who are studying healthcare and biomedical  sciences.

“Helping NHS professionals create new and innovative treatments is good for patients and good for our talented staff,” said Professor Tony Young Director of Innovation NHS England.

“Frontline workers have a unique insight into patients’ experiences and supporting all our staff to develop and deliver their ideas for better care will mean better outcomes for patients.”

“Giving budding entrepreneurs in the NHS support and space to create new solutions to old problems will keep the NHS at the forefront of innovation in healthcare,” added his colleague, NHS Chief Scientific Officer Professor Sue Hill OBE.

“I’m delighted to see even more of our staff join the Clinical Entrepreneurs programme, which will see nearly 140 doctors, nurses and scientists benefit from world-class industry expertise, even as they continue to deliver care for patients.”