SBRI Healthcare supports novel technologies that aim to revolutionise primary care and GP services

The NHS is backing the co-development of novel technologies for primary care as part of its SBRI Healthcare programme. Innovations that could revolutionise GP Services have been funded to address the challenges of an ageing population.

Today SBRI Healthcare, an NHS England initiative, hosted by Eastern AHSN on behalf of the AHSN Network, announced the latest awards to develop innovative products that address unmet health needs.

Recognising the current pressures in primary care and need to advance the future of general practice, 22 companies share in a £2.1 million investment to develop and commercialise novel technologies with the potential to revolutionise GP services.

Technologies were sought in three main challenge areas for general practice and winning innovations include; a device that measures novel biomarkers in a patient’s breath to immediately distinguish a viral from a bacterial respiratory tract infection allowing the GP to prescribe antibiotics quickly and appropriately; and a technology that allows for automatic vital sign measurement – heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation – whilst booking in with the receptionist, optimising the patient’s visit and maximising time with the GP.

Dr Steve Feast, Eastern AHSN Managing Director and former GP, commented:

“The NHS has seen remarkable change since its inception but a growing and aging population, with ever changing health needs, means we must find innovative ways to deliver high-quality general practice. There is huge potential for technology to revolutionise GP services and it is important we continue to encourage and support new ideas that can benefit the care we give our patients.”

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“General practice has always been a trailblazer for adopting innovations in our daily practice. At a time when our profession is under intense resource and workforce pressures, it is important that we continue to encourage and support new ideas that can benefit the care we deliver to patients, and make life that little bit easier for healthcare professionals right across the NHS.”

Dr Peter Brindle, Commissioning Evidence Informed Care Lead for the West of England AHSN, who was involved in shaping the call’s brief and a member of the reviewing panel commented:

“90% of patient contacts happen in General Practice, so improvements to the quality and efficiency in primary care can have a massive effect on the rest of the system. Innovation in General Practice is not new, but the SBRI GP of the Future award has matched the major issues of diagnostics, patient self-care and practice workload with the very best of business solutions.”

The programme works with leading healthcare players to identify areas where technology can be applied to address healthcare challenges. The 22 successful projects have been selected for their potential value to the health service and on the improved outcomes delivered to patients. The companies will be supported and fully funded to demonstrate the technical feasibility of their proposed concept for a six-month development phase.

In Eastern England, we’re delighted to be supporting Anglia Ruskin Enterprise and Cambridge Respiratory Innovations Limited.

The innovations

Anglia Ruskin Enterprise is developing a ‘virtual clinical expert’ (Chatbot) which people will be able to interact with via PC, tablet, laptop or mobile. The innovation will enable people living with chronic pain to self-manage their condition more effectively. The Chatbot will be authored using Medical Research Council (MRC) funded research and clinical expertise to ensure that users can access the best advice, support and interventions instantly.

The system will enable GPs, clinicians and academics to collect significant real-time data to help to deliver better diagnoses and care, as well as allowing the development of new, more effective interventions and care pathways for people living with chronic pain.

Cambridge Respiratory Innovations (CRiL) has developed a self-care asthma monitor using its N-Tidal technology. The technology has been proven in COPD, and the team will now be investigating its potential use in the reversible condition of asthma. The intention is to reduce the demands on primary care through improved management of asthma, of which 5.4 million people in the UK suffer.

The full list of companies and the supporting Academic Health Science Networks can be found at www.sbrihealthcare.co.uk.

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