NHS England has appointed 17 entrepreneurs and academics try to improve the adoption of new technology across the health service.

The ‘NHS Innovation Accelerator’ scheme will see existing small-scale healthcare projects receive ‘national backing’ across the NHS, the service said.

The successful 17 bidders for NHS funding were chosen from a pool of over 120 applicants © iStock/avajjon

Innovative tech set to gain funding include tools to record cancer patients’ symptoms in real time, a smartphone app to encourage kids to brush their teeth, a mobile heart monitor and ‘Sleepio’, a virtual sleep improvement programme for insomnia sufferers.

Larger-scale hospital and system-wide technologies are also due to receive funding, for example genome analysis software, a single online patient record platform and a ‘whole hospital’ clinical collaboration software.

The successful bidders, chosen from a field of over 120 applicants, have backgrounds in academia, startups, general practice and hospitals.

A number of them already have projects underway within the NHS, either through small-scale adoption in a number of trusts or hospitals. All hope to expand the use of their technology within the health service.

The 17 individuals appointed will have access to ‘up to’ £50,000 each, plus coaching from mentors like top surgeon Lord Ara Darzi and support from the 15 NHS Academic Health Science Networks.

NHS bodies will not be obliged to adopt the technologies but a spokeswoman promised the funding would help the appointed candidates to “scale their innovations and roll them out further”.

NHS England’s national medical director Sir Bruce Keogh said: “The NHS stands on the cusp of a revolution in innovation. 

“At its heart, innovation is the will to better, to find solutions for existing needs or new problems through more effective products, processes, technology or even the way we deliver services. Today we increase the opportunity for improving patient care by creating new conditions for ideas to thrive.”   

The project is being hosted by NHS England, UCLPartners, an academic health science network and healthcare charity Health Foundation. 

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