World-best innovations supporting Mental Health and early diagnosis and prevention of cancer join NHS Innovation Accelerator

NHS Innovation Accelerator Launch Fellows

An app empowering people to monitor their skin for early signs of skin cancer, a model of care for testing populations to identify individuals at higher risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and a secure messaging service that puts young people directly in touch with healthcare professionals, are among the latest technologies selected to join the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA).

The 13 innovations joining the NIA were announced today as part of an event to launch the fourth year of this award-winning national accelerator. An NHS England initiative delivered in partnership with England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), the NIA has supported the uptake and spread of 37 high impact, evidence-based innovations across more than 1,700 NHS sites since it launched in July 2015.

Each of the new innovations joining the NIA this year offer solutions supporting priority areas for England’s NHS: Mental Health, Primary Care and early diagnosis and prevention of cancer. Their recruitment onto the NIA follows an international call and robust selection process, including review by over 100 clinical, patient and commercial assessors, and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS Medical Director, said: “The NHS Long Term Plan puts the latest technology and innovation at the heart of people’s care and the future of our health service. Right across the NHS patients are benefitting from world-beating innovations, spread as part of this programme, and now even more patients will be supported by new tools like the app which uses AI to help identify skin cancer, puts people in control of their care and enables them to get treatment as quickly as possible.”


Dr Séamus O’Neill, Chair of the AHSN Network, said:  “The NHS Innovation Accelerator is one of the flagship programmes of the AHSN Network. We are very proud of the impact it is having in supporting innovators across the NHS and social care. Many very promising NIA innovations have benefitted from visibility and evidence generation through the AHSNs. It is gratifying too that we are already seeing a number of the NIA innovations getting traction in terms of adoption and spread with patient and population benefit as a consequence.

“We look forward to working with the new NIA Fellows over the coming months to develop and deploy these life-saving innovations at scale across the country.”

NHS Innovation Accelerator Launch Infographic

How Health Innovation Manchester are working with NIA Innovations:

IEG4’s software innovation is improving quality and productivity in Continuing Healthcare (CHC) teams by eliminating paper assessments and automating the workflow and communication to speed up decisions around eligibility.

The cloud-based software solution is accessible by different stakeholders involved in the delivery and management of the CHC assessment process. It increases data transparency and speeds up decisions about eligibility whilst reducing administration effort and time wasted on non-value adding activity.

In a 2017 investigation, The National Audit Office found that the NHS CHC assessment process was prone to many delays impacting on patients, carers and their families. The CHC assessment process is often manually intensive and requires activities to be co-ordinated across multiple organisations. Across England, only 70% of assessments were completed in 28 days compared to the NHS target of 80%, despite 2 years of NHS focus on improving the CHC service. Professionals also reported being frustrated with the paper-based process leading to issues with the quality of assessment. This has resulted in patients being poorly served and with CCGs ultimately bearing the costs through the inefficiencies associated with Continuing Healthcare.

As CHC case numbers continue to rise and the service will need digital transformation to cope. NHS England has created a strategic improvement programme for CHC which is underpinned by digitisation.

IEG4, in collaboration with The Innovation Agency, successfully applied for funding through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) initiative to develop a digital solution for CHC. Working with the five Cheshire and Wirral CCGs, IEG4 have implemented a digital platform across all stakeholders involved in CHC assessments.

Approximately 4,000 referrals have now been assessed though CHC2DST across Cheshire – In Q3 2018/19, 86% of these happened within 28 days, ahead of the national targets. More efficient process and decision making has freed up considerable clinical time (13 hours per referral) allowing for mote value added work to be delivered for patients and families rather than just managing the process.

In Greater Manchester, IEG4 are working with Health Innovation Manchester and the GM Continuing Healthcare Collective to explore the potential quality benefits and cost saving from implementation of CHC2DST across the Greater Manchester commissioning landscape.

NHS Innovation Accelerator new innovations:

Mental Health

  •  ChatHealth: Safe, secure messaging service that puts young people and parents directly in touch with healthcare professionals. Developed by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, it supports greater efficiencies by enabling individual nurses to provide services to many more people
  • Mush: Free app enabling mums to instantly become part of their local mum community, to seek advice, arrange meet-ups and to make friends for life
  • S12 Solutions: App and website connecting Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs) with section 12 (s.12) approved doctors, enabling quicker and easier Mental Health Act (MHA) assessment set-up
  • Virti: Digital tool providing mental health support and training services to health professionals and patients at scale

Prevention and early diagnosis of cancer

  • Population Genetic Testing: Model of care for testing populations to identify individuals at higher risk of breast and ovarian cancers because they carry the BRCA1/2 genes
  • PrecisionPointTM Transperineal Access System: Urology device introducing local anaesthetic transperineal biopsies (needle inserted through the perineal skin rather than via the rectum), delivering safer, quicker and more effective prostate biopsies
  • Skin Analytics: Intervention which enables dermatologist-quality screening in GP practices by using AI algorithms to identify skin cancer
  • SkinVision: App empowering people to monitor their skin for early signs of skin cancer

Primary Care

  • Digital Continuing Healthcare (CHC) Assessment Process: Software innovation improving quality and productivity in Continuing Healthcare (CHC) teams by eliminating paper assessments and automating the workflow and communication to speed up decisions around eligibility
  • Droplet: Intelligent hydration aid which combats dehydration in community-based and acute settings by monitoring the frequency of drinking and providing instant visual and verbal reminders to drink
  • Echo: Free, secure app that lets you order NHS prescriptions and get medication delivered to your door
  • Low Carb Program: Digital behaviour change platform for people with type 2 diabetes providing goal-focused education, personalised resources and support to implement a lower carbohydrate lifestyle
  • MIRA Rehab: MIRA’s software turns physical and cognitive exercises into video games, making physiotherapy fun and convenient for patients recovering from surgery or injury
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