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London launches new initiative to become global centre for digital health

10 February 2016

UCLPartners is one of the founding partners of a new initiative that aims to position London as a global centre for the adoption and commercialisation of pioneering digital health technologies.

DigitalHealth.London will speed up the use of new digital health technologies by bringing together clinicians, healthcare providers, research institutes, entrepreneurs and industry to give companies a clearer route to market based on the needs of patients and the NHS.

Launched today at City Hall by Life Sciences Minister George Freeman, DigitalHealth.London is a collaboration betweenMedCity, the Mayor of London’s life sciences promotional agency for the greater south east, the Greater London Authority, and the capital’s three Academic Health Science Networks – the Health Innovation Network, Imperial College Health Partners, and UCLPartners.

Digital health is a fast-growing emerging market with the potential to transform healthcare, improve efficiency in the NHS and grow the UK’s economy through innovative new businesses and products. However the use of digital health technologies is being slowed by challenges including the lack of a clear procurement route in the NHS, and difficulty in gaining access to clinicians and patients who can help shape products and explain needs and constraints at an early stage – for example to avoid replicating current technology or inadvertently creating costs further down the chain.

DigitalHealth.London will tackle these challenges and promote better health and economic growth by:

  • Growing a network to build mutual understanding and relationships between industry, entrepreneurs, clinicians, patients and healthcare professionals
  • Clearly defining the need from clinicians and patients to help shape the ideas and products being developed by companies
  • Signposting clear routes to market for entrepreneurs
  • Supporting the development of processes for NHS procurement and tariffs for digital health products
  • Helping to build evidence for the health and economic benefits of digital health by promoting research

Welcoming the initiative, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP said:

“This initiative will position London at the forefront of digital health innovation – bringing together the city’s world-class strengths in life sciences and digital technology and channelling that innovation to develop new ground-breaking products.”

Its first major project, also launched today, is a new Digital Health Accelerator programme that will support emerging companies working in the digital healthcare sector. The Accelerator will work with 30 small digital health businesses each year over an initial three year period, providing support tailored to each company’s individual needs. The programme will promote engagement with clinicians and healthcare experts, so that companies can refine their products to meet healthcare needs, and gain advice and support on some of the big healthcare hurdles they face – such as navigating the intricacies of the NHS, understanding how to work with sensitive data and accessing opportunities to showcase new technologies in hospitals.

The Accelerator will hold its first information day for SMEs on 7 March to demonstrate how the programme will support businesses and how they can apply. It is jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the six delivery partners – Guy’s & St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust operating through the Health Innovation Network, UCLPartners, Imperial College Healthcare Partners, Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity, MedCity and Digital Catapult. Register for the event.

Professor Joanne Hackett, Director of Commercial Development at UCLPartners, said:

“Cross-fertilisation between life sciences and digital technologies is creating a host of new ways to empower people to manage and understand their own health. London is home to a vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurs and SMEs finding imaginative ways to meet that demand. Our focus through this initiative is to bring health services and industry into the same space so that by understanding each other better we create an environment in which small businesses can grow – enriching both our economy and our well-being.”

For further information visit, DigitalHealth.London.