Ten novel technologies that could revolutionise future primary care and GP services receive further development support
SBRI Healthcare, the NHS England initiative championed by 15 Academic Health Science Networks, has announced the companies that will benefit from £8.7m investment to help develop novel technologies aimed at future-proofing primary care and GP services.
GPs and general practices are under serious pressure through increasing workloads not least due to more complex cases and the health challenges of an aging population. The ten funded companies all recognise current technology and pathway limitations and have looked to revolutionise how future general practice will be delivered.
The £8.7m is the second tranche of investment the successful companies have received having been drawn from a shortlist of 22 companies that received six months feasibility funding in April 2017. The successful companies demonstrated best value and greatest technical feasibility to a panel of experts looking for game-changing technologies with the highest potential value to patients and the health service. With individual awards of between £700,000 and £1 million, the companies will be supported and fully funded to continue with product development and testing.
Among the winning technologies is:
- a novel, highly sensitive, simple and low-cost test for the early diagnosis and subsequent therapy monitoring of sepsis, allowing GPs to test much earlier and for treatment to start in the critical early stages.
- a point-of-care device capable of performing immediate bacterial infection diagnosis and antibiotic susceptibility testing on urine samples within a GP setting, addressing the rising incidence of antimicrobial resistance that threatens to render current antibiotics ineffective.
- a self-care asthma monitor to reduce the demands on primary care through improved management of asthma of which 5.4 million people in the UK suffer and is generally poorly diagnosed and controlled.
- 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.
- 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 Jo Roberts, clinical lead for innovation and medicines optimisation South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group commented: “The SBRI Healthcare programme addresses challenges that those at the coal face of medicine are facing. It is a privilege to be involved and to see the evolution of technologies that could become the ground-breaking medical innovations of the future. I have been struck by the potential for revolutionary change to the management of patients and I particularly note those targeted at the ever growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. SBRI will help to provide the necessary acceleration to bring these technologies to market – I wish the innovators all the best.”
Dr Matt Pearce, director of Medtechtomarket Consulting said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the funding to deliver a rapid, low-cost diagnostic test for early sepsis detection in GP surgeries. Around 40,000 people die in the UK each year with sepsis, and early detection and treatment is key to preventing these deaths. This prestigious SBRI Healthcare award will help us to develop and refine our product, work closely with key senior NHS stakeholders, and gives us the opportunity to demonstrate how our innovation will drastically improve outcomes for people with Sepsis.
The companies (and supporting Academic Health Science Network) are:
Self-care: Cambridge Respiratory Innovations (Eastern AHSN); Covolution (UCLPartners); MSKnote (Kent, Surrey & Sussex AHSN); MyWayDigitalHealth (Scotland); Orsus Medical (West of England AHSN);
Diagnostics and earlier triage: Fraunhofer UK Research (Scotland); Medtechtomarket Consulting (Innovation Agency, North West Coast)
Workload and demand management: Doc Abode (Yorkshire & Humber AHSN); iPLATO Healthcare (Imperial College Health Partners); xim (Wessex AHSN)