GM Health Innovation Accelerator Launch Event

Earlier this year, Greater Manchester health and care partners, in collaboration with academia and industry, announced the launch of a new multi-million pound health innovation accelerator focused on rapidly improving the diagnosis and treatment of disease across the GM population.

This week, the GM Health Innovation Accelerator launch event discussed the purpose, ambitions & aims of the programme, providing an overview of the projects and highlighting how the programme will act as a catalyst for developing the broader research and innovation ecosystem.

The GM Health Innovation Accelerator projects are:

There is a need for rapid genomic information to improve clinical care and outcomes, as gaining results from genetic testing can currently take days or weeks. By linking academic, healthcare and industry experts to address challenges, this project aims to bring new rapid genomics testing solutions to market that will improve patient outcomes and address wider healthcare issues such as drug reactions, strokes and pain relief.

“We want to bring the power of genetics to major healthcare areas” – Bill Newman, Prof of Translational Genomic Medicine, University of Manchester

As part of this project, PALOH (Pharmacogenetics to Avoid Loss of Hearing) aims to use rapid genotyping to prevent the hearing loss of babies who have a gene variant that can be triggered by receiving an antibiotic used to treat neonatal sepsis.

Heart failure (HF) affects 1-2% of the adult population and tends to be diagnosed too late. The project aims to evaluate a prognostic model for predicting those at high risk of heart failure in ethnically diverse and socioeconomically deprived populations.

“If we can identify patients at the highest risk of heart failure, we can intervene before the disease develops further.” Nicolas Black – Cardiology Registrar and Clinical Research Fellow, University of Manchester

Building on expertise developed through ID LIVER, this project aims develop novel algorithms for risk prediction, early detection and prognostication, to detect liver disease earlier in the community, lessen health inequality, and improve public awareness of liver disease risk.

Diabetes is now the leading cause of kidney failure, therefore early detection and diagnosis of CKD is particularly important in people with diabetes to initiate preventative interventions that slow progression. The project aims to establish and quantify the usability and user acceptance of the Gendius CKD Screening Prioritiser (CSP) within primary care and at scale using the GM Care Record, to improve patient treatment experiences and enable faster access to treatment.

There are approximately 7,000 people who have had a cardiovascular disease (CVD) event with unmanaged cholesterol in GM. There is a need to accelerate patient lipid reviews across GM and address the backlog in caseload management. Through data insight, this project aims to target communities with the poorest CVD health and reduce CVD risk.

Current spirometry offerings across GM are unable to satisfy demand, and there are an estimated 70,000 people waiting for spirometry to support diagnosis and care. This project aims to test the viability of alternative delivery of spirometry services via remote provision.

Lung Cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and incidence is much higher in more deprived communities. The Lung Health Checks offer mobile screening to improve screening uptake and reach underserved communities. This project will build on the lung health checks to take research to underserved communities, increase recruitment to clinical trials, and facilitate new commercial partnerships to assess novel diagnostic blood tests.

“We are taking that research into peoples communities to increase access and improve outcomes.” Phil Crosbie, Professor of Respiratory Medicine, University of Manchester

Manchester has one of the worst rates of premature death from cardiovascular disease in the country. Research has shown that it is possible to accurately spot heart attacks in the ambulance with a decision aid (T-MACS) & a near-patient troponin test. The project will pilot these new technologies, and if successful the new technology could ensure more rapid responses for those who need them, while giving safe and early reassurance to others.

“We can get patients to the right place and provide much better care for patients with chest pain in Greater Manchester.” Rick Body, Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of Manchester.

Connectivity through digital

We heard how the use of technology, alongside the GM Care Record and the Secure Data Environment, will be integral to the health accelerator, by supporting research, addressing inequalities and improving outcomes.

Prof. Ben Bridgewater also said: “Addressing inequalities is now at the top of the city-region agenda. As we roll out innovation, we need to do it in a way that addresses inequalities. We need to have a much stronger, more resilient ecosystem from this, with better connectivity across projects, a focus on digital will ensure this connectivity.”

Gareth Thomas, HInM Digital Innovation Director, said: “There is tremendous potential for Greater Manchester to become a world-leading digital city region. Through close collaboration with citizens and partners across the Greater Manchester health and care system, we have a strategy that will meet our ambitions for digital transformation, leading to enhanced efficiency and integration across services, greater understanding of our population’s needs, and improved care for everyone.”

Ben Bridgewater at the HIA Launch event

The importance of collaboration, engagement and co-creation

The event launch highlighted the diversity of collaborations across projects and the importance of co-creation to ensure success of the programme – from health and care partners, to industry, academia, community engagement and patient involvement.

Prof. Ben Bridgewater, CEO of Health Innovation Manchester, noted, “There is no one group that can tell you how to do this. We need different perspectives – from patient experiences, industry, academia – to reimagine the way we deliver care”.

Patient representative Russ Cowper spoke about his own medical experiences and the importance of early diagnosis. Russ reflected on his life could have been different if he’d been diagnosed earlier and with today’s treatments available to him, and stressed the importance of listening to patients and learning from their lived experiences.

Nicky Timmis, HInM PPIE Manager, highlighted the importance of public involvement and engagement: “The innovation accelerator is all about tackling health inequalities, of levelling up but, we can’t deliver this in isolation from the people, patient groups and communities most affected. So public involvement and engagement is a cross-cutting theme, the golden thread throughout this programme and will provide some of the insights and learning that can help us links projects together.”

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