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Highland Biosciences Receives Investment to Reduce Pressures in Acute Healthcare

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Pressures in Acute Sector are target for SBRI Healthcare funding

£700K investment in innovations that target hospital efficiency

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24th January 2017: With the NHS facing unprecedented financial squeeze, improving the flow of patients, information and resources is crucial for driving up service quality and productivity, and improving patient experience. Acute trusts are experiencing significant challenges as a result of the high volume of patients leading to congestion and crisis points in many hospitals. 

Today, SBRI Healthcare announced the eight companies selected from many applicants across the UK that will receive funding to develop innovations that aim to improve operational efficiency in acute care through the management of patient flow. The successful technologies focus on activities that will enable more efficient progress through acute care, including diagnostics, therapy and discharge.

With awards of up to £100,000 each, the successful companies (and supporting Academic Health Science Network) are:
  • Hospital Discharge Efficiency: Care Sourcer Ltd (Scotland) and IEG4 Ltd (Greater Manchester AHSN)
  • Hospital In-Patient Journey: 6.P.M. Management Consultancy (UK) Ltd (Eastern AHSN) and PMD Device Solutions Ltd (Ireland)
  • Hospital Resource Usage: BeamLine Diagnostics Ltd (Oxford AHSN), Highland Biosciences Ltd (Scotland), Nervecentre Software Ltd (Oxford AHSN) and Sepsis Ltd (Greater Manchester AHSN)

Shirlene Oh, Director of Commerce at Imperial College Health Partners commented: “Media reports have stated that hospitals across the country are under significant pressure during the winter period. AHSNs are working together to find innovative solutions which address patient flow through hospital systems and acute care. The eight successful companies are developing exciting approaches to support the NHS in responding to these challenges.”

Paul Volkaerts, Chief Executive Officer at Nervecentre Software said: “There are three pillars to maximising hospital capacity - efficient allocation of beds, understanding and managing the condition of patients, and the focus of staff upon a prioritised set of activities. We are already working with 30 Trusts and with the support of SBRI Healthcare, we can continue developing our right clinician, right place, right time concept, and translate this into effective capacity management."
SBRI Healthcare is an NHS England initiative, led by the country’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), that co-develops innovative products to address unmet health needs.
The programme works with leading healthcare players to identify areas where technology can be applied to address major healthcare challenges.
The eight successful projects have been selected on 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. Those businesses demonstrating best value and greatest technical feasibility at this stage (phase 1) will progress through (phase 2) to be further supported and funded to take their technologies through to commercialisation.

Notes to Editors:
Media contact
Sarah Jeffery
Zyme Communications
Phone: +44 (0) 7771 730919

SBRI Healthcare
Danielle Luciano
Eastern AHSN
Phone: +44 (0) 1223 661490

About the winners

Care Sourcer Ltd
Care Sourcer will facilitate the hospital to home care process with a real-time, web-based platform. Professionals, patients and their families will be able to detail individual needs and be provided appropriate support through sourcing local care provision. A unique platform which empowers care seekers to work in partnership with healthcare professionals to define how they would like their care to be delivered, Care Sourcer will support improved patient flow from hospital to community and residential care provision, reducing hospital delayed discharge.

IEG4 Ltd
IEG4, in partnership with Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, is developing a software solution to deliver personalised assessed outcomes to patients, carers and families needing support on discharge. The proposed solution aims to streamline online referrals and assessments; facilitate the complete removal of paper; share outcomes with targeted support and care organisations; match resources in the community to patient needs; and allow flexible and mobile remote working.
6.P.M. Management Consultancy (UK) Ltd (now part of iDOX)
Establishing StrokeNet, a secure, N3 network-contained, browser-accessed, digital platform that enables real-time exchange of clinical information critical to managing, at each site, bed availability and other relevant clinical resource pending patient exchange. Provided as an automatic add-on to a comprehensive digital patient record for stroke, StrokePad, currently in operation at University College London Hospitals (UCLH), the system will be equally usable as a stand-alone, providing locally the standard functionality of a ‘handover system’ but crucially linked in real-time to receiving and transmitting unit.

PMD Device Solutions Ltd
Where diagnosis or treatment is delayed, length of stay and patient flow can be severely impacted. Respiratory compromise can increase length of stay by seven days at a cost rate £11,700 with over 55% of events occurring in acute care patients.
Respiratory rate is the earliest indicator of deterioration, giving over 24 hour’s notification of deterioration. PMD is developing a suite of digital interfaces to enable integration between PMD's respiratory product and Electronic Medical Record systems, to improve patient flow through timely discharge.

BeamLine Diagnostics Ltd
The national screening programme for colorectal adenocarcinoma generates millions of resected polyps that must be sent off for complex histopathological testing. Up to 99% of these are benign (hyperplastic) and the burden on pathology causes delays in return of results of up to eight weeks. A ‘resect and discard’ protocol for small hyperplastic polyps would streamline the diagnostic process, saving significant time, money and resources. A low-cost, fast and accurate biopsy triaging system has been developed to identify healthy samples and eliminate them from pathology. The project will determine whether it can be applied to colonic polyp screening.

Highland Biosciences Ltd
Demonstrating that delivering near patient coagulopathy diagnostics into acute care will improve efficiency of use of resources within the hospital. The project utilises the skills of NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Co-operative London (DEC) (Imperial College St. Marys’ Hospital) to gather stakeholder evidence and generate potential new pathways alongside economic cost modelling.

Nervecentre Software Ltd
Traditional bed management focuses on efficient allocation of beds, but in hospitals that are typically over 95% full, current methods provide little benefit. Nervecentre Software’s approach focuses upon use of mobile software to achieve regular, accurate capture of patient status, and efficient allocation and prioritisation of work for staff. The proposal combines lean thinking, patient centric pathways, and right clinician, right place, tight time concepts; translating this understanding into capacity management.

Sepsis Ltd
Based on a clinically validated biological assay the project will test a prototype point of care device. The assay detects abnormal blood chemistry due to bacterial sepsis within minutes of sampling and before standard physiological sepsis is diagnosed. It has been shown in children and adults in settings that include post-surgery, oncology, acute medical and intensive care units. The assay has been designed to frequently monitor progression of symptoms with a view to improve overall antibiotic stewardship to collectively meet objectives of the Department of Health’s UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013-2018.

About SBRI Healthcare

The Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare) is an NHS England initiative, led by the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), whose role is to promote UK economic growth by spreading innovation and best practice across the NHS. Winners receive fully funded development contracts between the awarded company and NHS England to meet known healthcare need.

Generally taking a three-phased development approach, projects start with a 6 month feasibility phase and can then move on to more detailed product development. Phase 1 contracts for feasibility testing are valued at up to £100,000 and last for six months. Phase 2 contracts for prototype development are worth up to £1 million over one year. Phase 3 contracts are intended to accelerate product adoption, with up to a further £1 million over 12 months, providing the opportunity for validation in NHS settings. While the public sector has the right to license the resultant technology, its intellectual property (IP) remains with the company, thereby enabling successful businesses to grow.

SBRI Healthcare supported companies are already making an impact; Owlstone Medical was recently awarded Invention of the Year in Top 50 Digital Health Awards for its breathalyzer for disease and PolyPhotonix named in Top 50 North East Tech companies as it tackles the causes of diabetes-related sight-loss with an LED sleep mask.

Funding for SBRI Healthcare has been secured from NHS England. The programme is directed by the Eastern Academic Health Science Network (EAHSN) on behalf of NHS England and the other regional AHSNs. Health Enterprise East is the management partner and supports the EAHSN to handle the applications, assessments and delivery against contracts.

About Academic Health Science Networks

There are 15 AHSNs across England. They connect academics, NHS, researchers and industry to accelerate the process of innovation and facilitate the adoption and spread of innovative ideas and technologies across large populations. They are driven by two imperatives: improving health and generating economic growth in their regions. SBRI Healthcare competitions are designed, supported and promoted in partnership with the AHSNs.


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