Digital health recognised as regional strength in Science and Innovation Audit

A recent audit into the science and innovation strengths of the South West and South East Wales has highlighted both health and life science and digital health.

The South West England and South East Wales Science and Innovation Audit (SWW–SIA) has been undertaken by a consortium of key organisations and businesses from across the region, including AHSNs, businesses, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and higher education institutions.

Lars Sundstrom, Enterprise Director at the West of England AHSN, said: “I am really pleased that the Science and Innovation Audit has been able to underscore our local strengths in health and life science, and particularly our strengths in digital health.

“We look forward to working with our colleagues in South West England and South East Wales to continue our efforts towards making it one of the best environments to develop health care products in the world. We also look forward to fulfilling our new role as innovation exchanges with a role for supporting digital health as recommended by the Accelerated Access Review.”

“An opportunity for catalysing the region’s hi-tech SME cluster and the broader entrepreneurial community to respond to clearly defined challenges in the health system identified through the increased investment into health research”

The audit report refers to the region’s strength in leading the development of integrated care systems and suggests this presents an opportunity to “catalyse innovation, including attracting businesses to research, pilot and test innovations in the region, alongside catalysing the region’s hi-tech SME cluster and the broader entrepreneurial community to respond to clearly defined challenges in the health system identified through the increased investment into health research.”

The “exceptional capability” in population health research within our region is recognised in the report as providing companies with access to “world-leading expertise in evaluating the performance of digital technologies in improving population and individual health in the region. When combined with underpinning world leading capabilities in fields such as designing and evaluating complex health interventions wireless and optical communications technologies, data security and encryption and other major projects that are integrating data across, for example, primary, secondary and social care this provides a unique proposition to SMEs and larger corporations and will attract them to develop and grow in our region.”

The report welcomes the active support of the two Academic Health Science Networks NHS England in the region (West of England and South West) in supporting the development of the digital health sector and linking it into the NHS – the primary customer for digital interventions – and into the local authorities who now have responsibility for public health in England.

Our Healthcare Innovation Programme, which we run in partnership with SETsquared, Europe’s leading university business incubator is given a specific mention. This is our popular development programme, created to support healthcare innovators in the West of England, focusing on those with a clear business proposition or an innovative application in the healthcare sector. These are frequently in the Digital Health field.

The report also credits our involvement in both the development of local innovation hubs and the South West Interactive Healthcare Programme, a joint initiative between the West of England and South West AHSNs and SETsquared, financed by Creative England’s regional growth fund, to improve cross-sector collaborations and innovation, while opening up exciting practical opportunities for creative professionals to work with business clusters in the healthcare sector.

The Government has thanked the SWW-SIA consortium for its submission and is expected to make an announcement about its Industrial Strategy in the upcoming Autumn Statement.

Visit to read the full audit report. The summary report is available here, while the Digital Living annex report is available here.

Posted on November 10, 2016

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