The Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), through SBRI Healthcare, has awarded £6 million to eighteen innovations that will help improve patient care and save money while also making the NHS greener.
Climate change is a threat to global health, with more than 13 million deaths around the world each year due to avoidable environmental causes. As highlighted recently in the Chief Medical Officer's report, air pollution alone accounts for up to 38,000 deaths a year in the UK and also causes increased cases of asthma, cancer and heart disease.
In October 2020, the NHS was the first health service in the world to commit to reaching net zero -- by 2040 for the emissions it controls and by 2045 for the emissions it influences. Innovations across the NHS are already playing a critical role in helping to achieve this goal, while continuing to improve standards of care for patients.
Eleven projects have collectively been awarded £1 million through SBRI Healthcare 'Competition 22 Phase 1' to establish technical feasibility, and seven more will receive combined funding of £5 million through 'Competition 18 Phase 2' for the development of prototypes and evaluation before real-world implementation.
The innovations include a circular economy service to replace single-use products, a tool to show the carbon footprint of medicines, and Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to enable faster, more reliable, on-demand, greener healthcare deliveries.
SBRI Healthcare is an AAC initiative -- a partnership between patient groups, government bodies, industry and the NHS hosted by NHS England, delivered in partnership with the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs).
Matt Whitty, CEO of the AAC, said "The SBRI Healthcare awards help the NHS to develop new technologies and solutions to address some of the biggest healthcare challenges facing society. We have selected these innovations because they have the potential to make a big difference to patients while also helping to achieve a net zero NHS. By supporting the most promising innovations the NHS will continue to evolve, helping meet more patients' needs and encouraging more innovators to come forward with ideas that make a difference."
Kathy Scott, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at Yorkshire and Humber AHSN and Chair for the AHSN Network Environmental Sustainability Community of Interest, said "The climate emergency is also a healthcare emergency. To work with the NHS it's crucial that innovators put sustainability at the heart of their innovations. The AHSNs are helping innovators to consider the impact of their innovations on the environment right from the start of their journeys, and to understand how to work with, and in, the NHS. It's encouraging to see such a diverse mix of companies awarded funding through SBRI Healthcare and we look forward to working with them in support of patients."
The awarded projects are:
Competition 22, Phase 1:
Revolution-ZERO Group Ltd -- awarded £83,323 -- ZERO-DECON: Net Zero Medical Textiles Decontamination
The ZERO-DECON project aims to remove the current requirement for heating water for washing medical textiles including surgical textiles, garments and linen within the UK (currently contributing >250,000 tonnes CO2e Emissions/year) and globally. The project directly addresses the greatest challenge facing healthcare laundry/decontamination services in reaching Net Zero.
52North -- awarded £99,790 -- Driving net zero personalised care through optimising the Neutrocheck solution, and creating an electronic tool to measure Carbon-related Patient-Reported Outcomes (Carbon ePROMs) to support the NHS to deliver net zero-innovations (including Neutrocheck) industrywide
Neutrocheck helps rapidly identify chemotherapy patients at risk of neutropenic sepsis. Through better triaging, Neutrocheck has the potential to save lives, reduce the burden on emergency care, improve quality of life and reduce carbon emissions. This project aims to further improve Neutrocheck's net zero impact and develop industry-first carbon-related electronic measures of patient reported outcomes (PROMs).
Medisyne Ltd -- awarded £100,000 -- Automated Urine output monitoring in the Acute setting (AURA study): Supporting the NHS workforce to reduce plastic urometer waste and deliver net zero surgical care
Medisyne Ltd is building an environmentally friendly, reusable, computer-based device that automatically records the amount of urine a patient produces in order to detect complications early. This device will replace the existing disposable, plastic measuring devices that contribute to NHS environmental pollution while freeing nursing staff.
AiSentia Ltd -- awarded £99,420 -- Next-Generation computerised tomography (CT) imaging using CT Digital Contrast to replace current standard iodinated contrast agent -- A feasibility study of clinical and environmental impact
This technology will de-carbonize CT imaging by reducing the levels of iodine in hospital wastewater / the wider environment, the amount of packaging (needle/pump injector plastic tubing, etc.), as well as the supply chain required. All achieved while providing a patient-first approach with seamless integration into current clinical workflows that increases procedure efficiency.
Walk with Path Limited -- awarded £99,479 -- Assessing the feasibility of a sensor-rich haptic wearable and advanced telemedicine platform to prevent diabetic foot ulcers and reduce carbon footprint, through 1) reduction in travel, and 2) reduction in the use of disposables
A smart wearable and telemedicine platform to prevent diabetes foot ulcers and reduce the carbon footprint. The project will assess feasibility and usability and develop a carbon footprint model.
Airway Medical Ltd -- awarded £99,967 -- A net zero project to provide a game changing net zero solution to personalised care
CAMSUtm -- This project provides a net zero medical suction device. Made from renewably sourced bio-polymers, its low-cost and intuitive function will ensure it can benefit more people, including helping address health inequalities. The project will directly replace an existing High-GWP technology that significantly contributes to the carbon footprint of the NHS.
Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (CSH) -- awarded £92,984 -- Sustainability in Quality Improvement (SusQI) commercialisation project: Net Zero Is In Your Hands
SusQI products measure the health outcomes of a service against its environmental, social and economic costs. Through commercialisation, more clinicians will be upskilled to use SusQI, influence more clinical pathways and reduce the environmental impacts of clinical decisions.
Definition Health Ltd -- awarded £99,788 -- Carbon reduction through a personalised surgical journey
The study's aim is to use the Total Digital Surgery Platform in a pilot of Orthopaedic surgery at University Hospitals Sussex to digitise the entire patient pathway from first referral to discharge. This will create 'Green Patients' whose new pathway is predominantly digital, allowing carbon reduction at each patient touchpoint.
Labcycle Ltd -- awarded £99,986 -- A world-first circular plastic consumables supply chain for healthcare systems
A solution to sort, decontaminate and recycle single-use plastics in the NHS, and to create a circular plastic supply chain in the healthcare sector.
HammondCare -- awarded £82,377 -- Virtual Dementia Behaviour Support Clinic (DBSC)
The Dementia Behaviour Support Clinic (DBSC) is a specialist virtual clinic, supported by MyPathway Solutions, a leading digital health provider, that is accessible anywhere, anytime for carers of people experiencing severe behaviours associated with dementia. The DBSC improves care outcomes and reduces the carbon footprint of services through tailored advice, non-pharmacological and social prescribing approaches.
Onkohealth -- awarded £97,810 -- Digital prehabilitation in personalised cancer care pathways
Onkohealth provides digital-first programmes of clinically-based behaviour change and coaching, tailored to people who are undergoing treatment for cancer and other conditions. The SBRI Healthcare project supports the delivery of a net zero NHS through a digital-first approach, delivering digital prehabilitation in personalised cancer care pathways.
Competition 18, Phase 2:
Apian Ltd -- awarded £799,773 -- Project Angel: Using uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) to deliver greener, faster and smarter healthcare to patients in the North of England
Project Angel enables faster, more reliable, on-demand healthcare deliveries producing fewer carbon emissions than current ground transportation. This will level up the North of England, contribute to the NHS net zero targets, create new jobs, and improve patient health outcomes and staff well-being.
Primum Digital Ltd -- awarded £799,430 -- CrossCover -- The evaluation of the clinical, financial cost and carbon cost effectiveness of the CrossCover Clinical Pathway Development and Operations (DevOps) Platform
CrossCover is the leading Development and Operations (DevOps) platform for clinical pathways. CrossCover enables experts to collaborate at scale, consolidate optimal clinical decision support processes and spread this knowledge into core NHS staff workflows. This ensures patients receive the best treatment every time at reduced financial and carbon cost.
Open Medical Ltd -- awarded £798,923 -- SurgiCare NetZero -- Delivering a Net Zero NHS
As an environmentally sustainable waiting list management tool, SurgiCare is set to diminish the carbon footprint of elective surgeries in the UK. Remote patient assessments, digital consent and paperless outcome reporting features reduce patient travel and the ensuing carbon emissions, while the sustainability add-on features raise environmental awareness within healthcare.
Revolution-ZERO Group Ltd -- awarded £800,000 -- Revolution-ZERO: Zero Waste, Zero Carbon, Circular Surgical Textiles
Revolution-ZERO is displacing the single-use gowns and drapes used in surgery with a circular economy service and product offering providing high performance, net zero, reusable, standards compliant alternatives. This initiative has the potential to save the NHS more than £50 million, 100,000 tonnes of carbon emissions and 25,000 tonnes of waste.
Elegant Design and Solutions Ltd -- awarded £800,000 -- Envirolieve -- from prototype to market
Envirolieve (patent pending) is a medical device which substantially reduces the amount of Entonox used at the bedside to achieve clinical effect. This will dramatically lower the carbon impact of nitrous oxide, now the most environmentally harmful drug used in the NHS. This project will progress Envirolieve through further design iteration, regulatory approval and on the road to market.
YewMaker -- awarded £729,638 -- MCF Classifier: Evidence-based tools supporting carbon-informed medicines optimisation and prescription
MCF Classifier is a suite of data and support tools providing medicine carbon emissions information within a practical framework to enable carbon-informed medicines use. MCF Classifier applies 'green-by-design' principles to systematically predict global warming potentials of hundreds of medicines and integrates this data with formulary and cost information in user-friendly visualisations.
Green Rewards Limited trading as Jump -- awarded £576,410 -- Jump: World-first healthcare specific carbon engagement tool
Jump's technology is a staff engagement platform that motivates NHS staff to make low carbon decisions. Healthcare roles have differing abilities to influence carbon emissions, and the tool will present low carbon choices specific to roles. It will be trialled with Newcastle, Leeds and Dorset Trusts.
SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) Healthcare is an Accelerated Access Collaborative funded initiative that provides funding to innovators to develop solutions that tackle existing unmet needs faced by the NHS. The programme aims to improve patient care, increase efficiency in the NHS, and support the UK economy. The SBRI Healthcare team, through support from the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), works closely with clinicians and frontline NHS staff to identify key challenges from within the service, focusing on specific areas recognised as priority by NHS England.
The Accelerated Access Collaborative is a unique partnership between patient groups, government bodies, industry and the NHS. It delivers ambitious programmes to ensure the NHS is in the best place to improve patient outcomes and reduce health inequalities through research and innovation. It does this by identifying the best new medicines, medical devices, diagnostics and digital products. It supports providers and integrated care systems to make them available to patients as quickly as possible. In addition, the AAC supports increasing participation in research and access to research trials. Over 1.6 million patients have benefited from its programmes to date, helping patients spend over 278,000 fewer days in hospital and saving the NHS over £185 million.
There are 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across England, established by NHS England in 2013 to spread innovation at pace and scale -- improving health and generating economic growth. Each AHSN works across a distinct geography serving a different population in each region. As the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, AHSNs are catalysts that create the right conditions to facilitate change across whole health and social care economies, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for patients.
The NHS contributes to around 4% of UK emissions and accounts for 3.5% of all road transport in England. In October 2020, the NHS became the world's first health service to commit to reaching net zero, in response to the profound and growing threat to health posed by climate change. The "Delivering a Net Zero Health Service" report sets out a clear ambition and two evidence-based targets. With patient care the priority for everything it does, the NHS is using innovation to not only reduce the impact on the environment, but also improve patient care -- and in many cases cut costs. Thanks to the pioneering work of NHS staff up and down the country, the NHS has already reduced its emissions by 30% since 2010, ahead of the UK Climate Change Act target.