Grants of up to £100,000 available in feasibility funding for innovations to help patient flow and children’s care

Companies are invited to bid for funding to develop solutions to improve patient flow in acute care and independence for children with long-term conditions in the latest competition from SBRI Healthcare.

Funded by NHS England, the aim of SBRI Healthcare is to develop innovative products and services that address unmet health needs. Successful companies can receive up to £100,000 phase 1 feasibility funding each to develop products that improve patient flow in acute care, and self-care options for children with long-term conditions.

The initiative is run by the 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs). The competition for managing patient flow in acute care is being jointly led by the West of England AHSN, Imperial College Health Partners and Health Innovation Network (South London).

The West of England AHSN has successfully supported a number of companies to secure funding through the SBRI Healthcare programme:

Folium Optics
Bristol-based Folium Optics has been awarded £1 million funding in the latest SBRI Healthcare competition to develop ‘My Health Tags’, an innovative new product designed to improve medicines adherence. Read more. 

Plessey Semiconductors
A hand-held ECG monitor that has been developed by Plessey through Phase 1 and Phase 2 Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) funding. Working in collaboration with the West of England AHSN and healthcare providers to spread its adoption. Watch our video.

Biovici
Working with the West of England AHSN through two successful SBRI Phase 1 funding calls in improving medicines adherence in Mental Health and Improving Urgent and Emergency Care Services. Watch our video.

To date we have helped facilitate a total of £6.5 million of funding for projects through SBRI-led challenges. Find out more.

Anna Burhouse, Director of Quality for the West of England AHSN, commenting on the competition for managing patient flow in acute care, said:

“This is a very exciting opportunity to call on the expertise and innovation of business to help the NHS improve productivity and patient flow. We want to see ideas that scope better use of technologies, information and products to enable fresh ways of working, which lead to measurable improvements in outcomes for patients, productive ways of working for staff, and greater efficiencies for NHS organisations”

The competition for self-care and independence for children with long-term conditions is led by Yorkshire and Humber AHSN and TITCH (Technology Innovation Transforming Child Health).

Philippa Hedley-Takhar, Head of Investment and Partnerships for Yorkshire and Humber AHSN, commenting on the competition for self-care and independence for children with long-term conditions, said:

“We know that disability in children can have a permanent effect on their life skills in adulthood. With six percent of children in the UK living with disability, there is a high need for innovations that address their health and care needs, so they can live life to the full. This will enhance their wellbeing and confidence but, over the longer term, will enable them to take advantage of greater opportunities as they move towards and through adulthood.”

Applications are invited from companies across England.  Briefing events with clinicians for interested companies will take place in London on 21 June and in Leeds on 22 June .

The deadline for applications is 28 July 2016 and full details are available on the SBRI Healthcare website.

For enquiries and support, please contact Urszula Kapoulas in our Enterprise team at urszula.kapoulas@weahsn.net.

Folium Optics wins £1 million funding to develop ‘My Health Tag’ technology

Bristol-based Folium Optics has been awarded £1 million funding in the latest SBRI Healthcare competition to develop ‘My Health Tags’, an innovative new product designed to improve medicines adherence.

A plastics display technology business set up by two former employees of Hewlett Packard Labs, Folium Optics has created the prototype in partnership with Pumpco and Designability. This significant funding award will enable the company to further develop their technology and carry out the first clinical evaluation.

The West of England AHSN has provided Folium Optics with valuable advice, particularly on how to work effectively with the healthcare sector and who they needed to be talking to. The collaboration with Pumpco and Designability, for example, was a direct result of them meeting at one of our networking events. We also supported them through the SBRI application process.

The problem

Up to half of prescribed medicines are not used as the prescriber intended. Non-adherence – or under-use – represents not only a missed opportunity for health improvement but also a danger to patient health and significant waste of resources. One recent study estimates medicines non-adherence costs the NHS more than £500 million per year.

The solution

To tackle this problem of non-adherence, Folium Optics has developed a ‘smart’ electronic tag which is attached to medical packaging, wirelessly linked to a remote cloud service and a separate portable reminder unit. The reusable, lightweight tags feature an ‘always-on’ display, showing clearly what medicine needs to be taken and when.

The tags still work if the medication is taken outside the home and can be easily configured by pharmacists, carers and users. The technology integrates well with people’s lifestyles, making it easier for them to manage their medication, and acts as a bridge to higher intervention solutions such as medicine compliance aids.

Folium Optics has initially targeted the 65 to 75 year old age group and is now developing the system for wider use.

“This is a great example of how companies in the high tech sector can bring in new skills and apply them to delivering effective solutions to health care problems.”

Steve Kitson, CEO of Folium Optics, said: “We are delighted to win the SBRI funding. It allows us to take the next step in developing our technology and ultimately to help more patients.

“We are grateful to the West of England AHSN for the support they have given us to date, particularly in helping us bring together such a strong team to deliver the project. Pumpco and Designability will help us deliver the technology, while the Bristol Heart Institute will lead the clinical evaluation. We’re really looking forward to working together to develop a solution that will help so many patients.”

Lars Sundstrom, Director of Enterprise at the West of England AHSN, added: “This is a great example of how companies in the high tech sector can bring in new skills and apply them to delivering effective solutions to health care problems.”

Current SBRI competition

The latest SBRI Healthcare competition is focusing on ‘Reducing Pressure on Urgent and Emergency Care’, and is being run in partnership with the South West and Greater Manchester AHSNs. Find out more here.

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