Pfizer, one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, has selected the first three UK healthtech startups for its new London Healthcare Hub accelerator programme.
The three startups were selected following a judging day hosted at Pfizer’s UK head office. The startups are Echo, Cera and GiveVision.
Echo, which Techworld has written about in the past, has developed a free app which allows customers to order repeat prescriptions to be delivered direct to their doorstep. The app also promises to change the way people consume their medication in a bid to reduce waste and improve wellness.
The startup has already partnered with NHS Digital to plug into the various systems needed to provide this service and will work with Pfizer to gain access to more GP practices and build its 'direct to consumer' channels.
Cera concentrates on home care by algorithmically matching elderly patients with the right carer. It will look to expand geographically beyond London with the help of Pfizer.
Finally, GiveVision has developed a wearable headset called SightPlus which aims to improve sight for certain forms of visual impairment.
The Healthcare Hub has been set up by the pharma giant to help startups to access Pfizer expertise and leverage contacts to get their technology solutions adopted by the NHS.
Getting the NHS to make best use of new technology is a massive challenge in the UK, not least because without accessing that customer pool there are few opportunities for scale. This is why a number of UK healthtech startups focus on the US market earlier than startups in other sectors tend to do.
As Dr Hamish Graham, a practicing surgeon and London manager for the Pfizer Healthcare Hub told Techworld: "You have to understand their language if you want to get your tech adopted there. You have to understand their priorities and it is a challenge for a lot of startups.
"They can be fluent in their coding, product development and put a great team together but they then struggle to expand to hospital two, three and four, because they need to communicate their value in a way that a manager can understand it."
Graham has set himself the goal of getting the technology of these three startups adopted by NHS trusts within a year. "At the end of 12 months that's how we know if we have done a good job. Are there people using it? We've got no other KPIs."