Public Health England (PHE), an agency established by the Department of Health in 2013 to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address health inequalities, is aiming to bring the best health technology to the UK public through a new competition called Health X. 

The competition, which opened to early-stage start-ups this week, aims to identify the latest applications and utilities that can make a difference to people’s lifestyles.  

Chief executive of Public Health England, Duncan Selbie said: “We need to help people set goals, monitor their progress and give them ongoing feedback and encouragement when they make positive changes. We used to do this through face-to-face engagement or by providing health information on hard copies. But now, with the advances in technology and the increase in access to that technology, we have opportunities to harness that and so do much more.”

PHE is looking for start-ups to submit applications across three categories including healthy eating, exercise and physical and mental wellness. The idea can be a prototype, a ready-to-launch product, a product that is already in the market or an existing product that could be repositioned or refined.

Selbie added: “PHE is looking for products that are based on evidence that they work. We will promote them to our user base of four million, using brands like Change4Life to bring scale to products and support small to medium enterprises, who have a great idea but haven’t quite got it to scale yet.”

Successful Health X businesses will receive promotional support through PHE’s Change4Life campaign, presence on the NHS Choices website and help with product development. 

Entries for Health X close 1 August. 

Public Health England will then choose the top 10 applicants, who will be invited to present their ideas to a Health X panel at a finalist’s event on 11 August in London. 

The judging panel will be made up of representatives from Public Health England, The Daily Telegraph, Entrepreneur First, Health Box, Delta Partners and Tech City. The panel will then select up to three winners, who will be announced at the event.

Gerard Grec, Tech City UK CEO, said: “PHE Health X creates an exciting opportunity for young UK tech firms working in the health space to get their idea or product off the ground and out to the wider market.

“There’s a rising tide of wearable technology that is already reengineering how we monitor and improve our personal health. Connected devices like the Pebble and Fuelband are great innovations of the medtech sector.

“This partnership is about supporting new, technology enabled solutions that will deliver benefit across generations.”