The NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) has announced 17 new Fellows will join the programme in 2023. This is the largest cohort for the programme since its launch in 2015 and results in the programme now supporting close to 100 Fellows.  

The NIA is an award-winning NHS England initiative, working to support NHS Long Term Plan priorities by accelerating uptake of promising innovations for patient, population and NHS staff benefit. Delivered by the AHSN Network, the NIA is commissioned by the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative.

The successful Fellows have created innovations that offer solutions to some of the most pressing NHS needs. They range from digital apps that can overcome language barriers and reduce health inequalities, to an artificially intelligent chatbot that can offer responsive, instant access to mental health support.

To date, the NIA has supported the scaling of 85 innovations spread across 2,882 locations of England’s NHS. This has created 1,102 new jobs. Close to 60 NIA-supported innovations have been successfully marketed internationally.

Each NIA Fellow and their innovation are selected through a robust, multi-stage application and assessment process involving an expert panel of clinical, patient and commercial assessors.

The 17 innovations and innovators which make up the 2023 NIA cohort are:

Ascelus, Adrian Brown (CEO): a digital platform that integrates with hospital IT systems to improve management of long-term conditions including cancer. It removes the need for some face-to-face appointments and give patients the ability to receive clinical advice/test results via their phone.

Anya, Chen Mao Davies (CEO): a cutting-edge 3D interactive technology to help new mothers learn breastfeeding skills. Virtual communities and AI-powered support provide personalised around-the-clock assistance for parents throughout the first-1001 days of their child’s life.

Florence Intelligent Health Messaging, Gemma Donovan (Head of Digital Therapeutics Development): a persona-based SMS messaging tool that supports patients to self-manage their health. It delivers two-way behaviour change techniques to improve patient outcomes and increase health service capacity.

The Pinpoint Test, Giles Tully (CEO): a machine learning-based Clinical Decision Support tool that assists in cancer diagnosis by assessing routine blood test results and providing a calibrated probability that a symptomatic patient has cancer.

Holly Health, Grace Gimson (Founder and CEO): a behaviour change coaching app designed for people who are at risk of, or living with, chronic physical or mental health conditions. It combines psychological medicine approaches with personalised and fun app-based technology.

Mahana IBS, Jonathon Scholefield (Vice President of Business Development): a smart device providing cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for people living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Based upon twenty years of research, Mahana is clinically validated as providing significant and durable relief from IBS symptoms.

myHappymind, Laura Earnshaw (Founder and CEO): an innovative mental health program delivered by teachers in Primary schools and nurseries to children, staff and parents. It teaches science-backed strategies that support good mental health and prevents mental health issues.

Procomp Solutions, Mark Russell-Smith (Director of International Operations): an AI-assisted technology to optimise logistics and increase capacity. Can help hospitals to increase their discharge rates through the reduction of domiciliary care service milage.

Emergency Role Allocation System (ERAS), Michael Watts (Managing Director): a patient-centred, emergency-support software system that is improving safety in maternity by supporting teams to respond efficiently to obstetric emergencies.

Pathpoint eDerma, Piyush Mahapatra (Director of Innovation): a cloud-based system that provides a secure and centralised platform for dermatology services to be coordinated across multiple locations, bridging treatment provided across primary and secondary care sites for skin cancer.

CardMedic, Rachel Grimaldi (Founder and CEO): an app that reduces health inequalities by overcoming communication barriers between staff and patients. Displays an A-to-Z library of scripts that replicate common healthcare conversations on a digital device to support clinical interactions.

Wysa, Ros O’Brien (Managing Director): an AI-based mental health chatbot that offers instant, supportive, responsive, direct access to digital selfcare support. The first AI-based digital mental health solution to undergo a random control trial (RCT) in the NHS.

Hailie® Digital Inhaler, Sander ten Veldhuijs (Director of Operations): a Bluetooth-based medication adherence solution. Uses sensors that fit onto regular inhalers to offer real-time feedback to patients via the Hailie® app and to Clinicians via secure web portal.

Tellmi, Suzie Godson, (Co-CEO): an anonymous, pre-moderated peer support and psychoeducation app supporting the mental health of children and young people (CYP) aged more than 11 years old. Provides data and insights to provide more targeted support to CYPs mental health.

Suvera, Will Gao (Co-Founder and COO): a virtual clinic support service assisting general practice in their management of patients with long-term conditions. Suvera utilises proprietary technology to streamline the management and early detection of chronic conditions.

Digistain, Hemmel Amrania (CEO): a quick, comparatively cheap and simple diagnostic test that clinicians can use to deduce whether a person with cancer would benefit from undergoing chemotherapy treatment or not.

Limbic, Zohra Khaku (Director of Strategic Partnerships): an AI-powered clinical assessment chatbot that connects people to NHS psychological talking therapies. It collects patient-data and uses deep-learning to identify at-risk patients, enabling services to implement efficiencies.

Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of NHS England said: “We need innovation now more than ever before. If you think about the challenges the NHS has weathered over the last few years with COVID and where we find ourselves now. If we think not just about that immediate recovery challenge but about the changes to our population in the next few years, the increasing level of demand on the NHS, innovation is not just a nice to have, it’s an essential if we are going to do what we need to for today’s patients but put ourselves in the best possible position to care for tomorrow’s patients as well”.

Sir Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England and Chair of the NHS Innovation Accelerator said: “I am thrilled to see these seventeen new innovators join our programme. At the NIA they will be well supported to test if their ideas can be successfully adopted by and scaled across the NHS. By working together, we will find new ways to transform patient care and deliver improvements in the delivery of healthcare for future generations.”

Konrad Dobschuetz, National Director of the NHS Innovation Accelerator said: “Difficulties encountered throughout the Covid pandemic have further catalysed innovation in healthcare. We have seen the gaps and we all know things need to change to ensure our healthcare system is sustainable. Some great thinkers have come forward with solutions, showing themselves to be ready to scale their ideas in England’s NHS and further afield. We welcome them to the NIA.

“I am really looking forward to working with them over the next three years, strengthening their businesses and expand their solutions. All to help patients, improve the healthcare system and retain and create employment in the UK.”

Find out more about the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA).

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