SBRI Healthcare has awarded just over £1.1 million to twelve pioneering MedTech innovations in the field of urgent and emergency care. The new projects were funded through a nationwide call by SBRI Healthcare in 2020 which attracted around 90 applications.
Through a series of funding competitions geared around solving specific healthcare challenges, SBRI Healthcare works with businesses to identify, co-create and develop innovative health technology solutions for the NHS.
Competition 17 invited applications for funding to develop solutions to challenges in urgent and emergency care and sought to address two primary issues: (i) reducing demand, and (ii) reducing the length of stay in emergency departments.
The competition challenge, developed in partnership with Health Innovation Manchester and West Midlands AHSN, focused on addressing the ever-increasing pressures on hospital emergency departments (EDs). Pressures on EDs are well documented globally and not just in the NHS and, despite many years of innovation, growth in numbers arriving at the doors of the EDs continues. The added complications of the COVID-19 emergency has placed EDs under immense pressure on a global basis. Therefore, EDs stand to benefit hugely from the promise of new technologies that support the population and clinicians in the community by reducing initial demand and allowing earlier discharge.
The newly-funded projects aim to bring benefits to patients and care service users through innovations spanning from rapid and sensitive diagnostic devices and tools, to more efficient triage or referrals systems, also including training, clinical coaching and simulation modules to improve skills and diagnosis.
The projects will run up to six months and aim to demonstrate whether these innovations are technically feasible, before further funding is sought to develop and evaluate prototypes. The long-term aim is for successful technologies to be adopted for use in the NHS where they can provide benefits for patients, the NHS and the overall community.
Funding was awarded to the following projects:
Neutrocheck Ltd (awarded £99,844) – Development of a novel point-of-care blood finger prick device, NeutroCheck, that identifies adult chemotherapy patients requiring emergency admission for suspected neutropenic sepsis. NeutroCheck is a fast, reliable and low-cost device that enables rapid management of the condition for those who test positive, and gives peace of mind to those who don’t. Neutrocheck aims to improve patient safety and quality of life, reducing antibiotic wastage, and empowering doctors to treat their patients efficiently.
RAIQC Ltd (awarded £99,944) – RAIQC is a cutting-edge clinical simulation platform that allows users to be taught and assessed for different imaging modalities ranging from X-rays to CT and MRI scans. Users interact with real-life cases, click on any abnormality and provide a diagnosis. They are provided feedback about their accuracy and speed as well as an anonymous comparison with their peers. The overall aim is to improve the speed and accuracy of diagnostic imaging interpretation by ED clinicians.
Kinseed Ltd (awarded £58,358) – This project will enhance the company’s SwiftCare product to support the new Unified Paediatric Advice and Guidance Service (UPAGS), a collaboration between University Hospitals Birmingham and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust to introduce frontline triage at the point of care for paediatric referrals. The service is commissioned by Children’s Services in Birmingham & Solihull to improve patient experience, outcome and reduce the non-critical attendance to Emergency Departments through a new way of handling non-critical referrals with more options, by signposting to community care such as midwives, GPs etc.
Primum Digital Ltd (awarded £99,930) – This project focuses on a health economic evaluation of OrthoPathway, a progressive web application that provides a patient care pathway editing suite with a governance structure, encompassing an audit trail and tiered user accounts with create, update and delete privileges reserved to Trust-approved consultants.
NeuroResponse CIC (awarded £98,222) – The team has developed a triage, streaming and infection treatment pathways service, which offers a portal to host a care plan that clinicians see when patient calls NHS 111. This service pathway includes at home Quick Response (QR) labelled urine sample kits, NHS 111 dispatch of laboratory courier, and NHS 111 triage and messaging to community colleagues and neurologists as required. It has been developed for people living with Long Term Neurological Conditions (LTNCs) who often experience urinary tract infections which lead to ED admissions.
Medtechtomarket Consulting Ltd (awarded £94,717) – Medtechtomarket Consulting Ltd have demonstrated a proof of concept for a novel, highly sensitive, simple and low cost test for both paracetamol and liver damage with just a finger stick blood sample. This project focuses on prototype performance feasibility studies, clinical engagement and establishing a clinical plan. The vision is that A&E departments will be able to test for paracetamol self-poisoning much sooner and more easily, reducing department workload, saving costs, and enabling early discharge or treatment.
Invitron Ltd (awarded £97,312) – Development of an ultra-sensitive diagnostic test to rapidly detect heart attack (myocardial infarction) in individuals, typically in A&E, primary care or ambulance. The point-of-care, portable device will allow the practitioner (clinicians, nurses, ambulance services, GPs) to use a small droplet of blood (finger prick) to measure rapidly the level of troponin, a protein biomarker released in blood as a result of damage to the heart muscle.
Stream Bio Ltd (awarded £99,715) – Stream Bio are developing a point of care diagnostic test to detect heart attack biomarkers. In this project they will develop two extremely sensitive Conjugated Polymer Nanoparticle (CPN) lateral flow assay (LFA) for troponins I and T for rapid testing, to rule in/out acute coronary syndrome in the ambulance (or ED).
Recourse AI Ltd (formerly AIPatient Ltd) (awarded £94,950) – This project aims to develop and evaluate a scalable simulation-based training platform that supports independent skills-based learning for healthcare professionals in order to improve education in the community and EDs reducing pressure on acute services and length of stay. It focuses on demonstrating the technical feasibility of the proposed novel educational approach, which is a virtual standardised patient used to train medic-patient relationships and communication skills for medical students, educators and practitioners.
Health Navigator Ltd (awarded £94,890) – Health Navigator are developing an AI-guided clinical coaching system using a nurse-led proactive care model, which remotely supports patients identified by machine-learning-based case finding. This project seeks to enhance the algorithm to better identify suitable patients, and implement it on a testbed site.
Psyros Diagnostics Ltd (awarded £99,400) – Psyros are developing a rapid, affordable, ultra-sensitive point-of-care (POC) system, to fulfil the unmet need for bedside high sensitivity troponin measurement. Their method enables single-molecule counting in a digital manner. Binding events generate dark spots in a fluorescent background that can be counted individually using simple optical methods. This digital approach is essential to overcome signal-to-noise limitations, allowing enhanced sensitivity. It is readily adaptable to a small footprint POC system. This will facilitate widespread adoption of the 0/1h protocol.
eConsult Health Ltd (awarded £97,106) – eConsult Health Limited develops clinically led, innovative healthcare software platforms, including eTriage (digital urgent and emergency care triaging) and eConsult (online primary care consultations). eTriage is an innovative patient facing solution, already triaging Priority 1-5 ambulatory attendances at Urgent Treatment Centres (UTC) and EDs. This project explores the feasibility of rerouting lower priority patients (Categories 4&5) attending UTCs or EDs to a more appropriate point-of-care, by harnessing existing eTriage software platforms, to allow more efficient triage, attendance avoidance and streaming of patients.