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West of England innovator tapped to transform England’s NHS through national acceleration

Innovator Mark Moran MBE presenting The WaterDrop at the 2018 Expo

On 5 March, the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) announced 11 high impact innovations joining the national accelerator in 2020, including one developed here in the West of England: The WaterDrop.

Developed by Mark Moran MBE, The WaterDrop is a low-cost, high-impact innovation enabling patients to easily access fluids at any time without needing to call for help. This innovation helps prevent dehydration and avoidable intravenous drips and could provide a breakthrough in a variety of health and social care settings. Mark received support for The WaterDrop back in 2016 through the Health Innovation Programme (HIP), our immersive bootcamp for healthcare entrepreneurs.

At a launch event chaired by Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement, the 2020 cohort of Fellows presented their innovations to key stakeholders, including including Tony Young, National Clinical Lead for Innovation of NHS England and NHS Improvement, and Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust.

All of the innovations joining the award-winning NIA offer solutions supporting priority areas for England’s NHS as laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan. Their recruitment follows an international call and rigorous selection process, including review by over 100 clinical, patient and commercial assessors (including three from the West of England AHSN), alongside informal review by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The newly appointed group also includes a medically certified smartwatch app capable of detecting atrial fibrillation (AF), a device reducing the angst of parents by enabling faster ADHD diagnosis, and an artificial intelligence (AI) platform bringing patients’ voices to life to improve care.

This marks the fifth year of the NIA, which is an NHS England initiative delivered in partnership with England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), hosted at UCLPartners. Since 2015, it has supported the uptake and spread of 62 evidence-based innovations across more than 2,210 NHS sites. Independent evaluations report that NIA innovations save the health and social care system at least £38 million a year.

Alex Leach, our Deputy Director of Innovation and Growth, who contributed to the 2020 NIA selection process and attended the launch event in London, said:

“It’s fantastic to see an innovator and one of our HIP Alumni from the West of England selected for the NHS Innovation Accelerator. We know the innovations supported through the NIA make a real difference to the NHS, our economy, and most importantly patients and service users.

“At the West of England AHSN, we’ll continue to offer our support to The WaterDrop and all the 2020 Fellows to support adoption and spread of innovation across our footprint. The next round of NIA applications open later this year; I would encourage anyone thinking about applying or starting out on their innovator journey to get in touch.”

Piers Ricketts, Chair of the AHSN Network, said:

“The NHS Innovation Accelerator is one of the flagship programmes of the AHSN Network. NIA Fellows have made a huge contribution to our health and care system since we started the programme five years ago, and we are proud to have supported these remarkable individuals on their development journey. It is gratifying to see their high-impact innovations gaining traction and visibility through our accelerator programme, and we are delighted that several NIA innovations have now had national impact in the NHS.

We look forward to working with the new NIA Fellows to help them scale and deploy their innovations across the country for the benefit of patients and the NHS.”

About the NHS Innovation Accelorator (NIA):

The NIA is an NHS England Initiative delivered in partnership with England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), hosted by UCLPartners. Highlighted in the NHS Long Term Plan, it accelerates uptake of high impact innovations for patient, population and NHS staff benefit, and providing real time practical insights on spread to inform national strategy.

The NIA supports individuals (‘Fellows’) with a set of values and passion for scaling evidence-based innovation to benefit a wider population, with a commitment to share their learnings.

Since launching in July 2015, the NIA has delivered the following:

  • 2,214 additional NHS sites using NIA innovations
  • £134.8m external funding raised
  • 486 jobs created
  • 113 awards won
  • 45 innovations selling internationally
  • NIA innovations save the health and social care system £38m per annum, according to conservative figures from independent evaluations by York Health Economic Consortium

Posted on March 5, 2020

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