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Deadline extended for fast track funding so NHS patients get treatment innovations faster

NHS England has announced a two week extension on a scheme to fast-track cutting-edge innovations from across the globe to the NHS frontline.

Developers of medtech devices and apps from around the world are called upon to join the new Innovation and Technology tariff, which provides a clear “route to market” for innovations.  Hundreds of applications have been made already but NHS England has decided to extend the deadline to 16 August to ensure the best, new devices and apps get to NHS patients, apply for the NHS Innovation Accelerator.

For the first time the NHS is providing an explicit national reimbursement route for new medtech innovations. This will accelerate uptake of new medtech devices and apps for patients with diabetes, heart conditions, asthma, sleep disorders, and other chronic health conditions, and many other areas such as infertility and pregnancy, obesity reduction and weight management, and common mental health disorders.

Matthew Swindells, National Director for Operations and Information, said: “The NHS has a proud track record in medical innovation but has sometimes stumbled on getting ground-breaking and practical new technologies into the hands of NHS patients, nurses and doctors as quickly as possible. The new national funding route will help cut the hassle experienced by clinicians and innovators in getting uptake and spread across the NHS. At a time when the NHS is under pressure, we want to make it as easy as possible to fast track innovations that enhance patient outcomes and improve efficiency in NHS care.”

The new Innovation and Technology tariff category will streamline the process of getting innovations into the NHS by removing the need for multiple local price negotiations, and instead guaranteeing automatic reimbursement when an approved innovation is used, while at the same time allowing NHS England to negotiate national ‘bulk buy’ price discounts on behalf of hospitals and patients.

Examples of the sort of innovations which could become routinely commissioned in the NHS through the Innovation and Technology tariff:

  • MyCOPD – an app which allows patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) to self-manage their condition on their phone or tablet. MyCOPD offers patients expert advice and education on how to use their medication properly and how to perform special exercises designed to improve lung function.
  • AliveCor – a mobile heart monitor that instantly captures electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings, allowing the user to detect, monitor and manage heart arrhythmias. Arrhythmias can cause sudden cardiac death, which kills 100,000 in the UK annually. The Arrhythmia Alliance estimates 80% of these deaths could be avoided through better diagnosis. AliveCor also helps detect incidents of atrial fibrillation, which is responsible for a third of all strokes and costs the NHS over £2.2 billion annually.
  • PneuX – a cuffed ventilation tube and inflating device which is used to electronically monitor patients breathing in intensive care to prevent bacteria leaking into the lungs – something that occurs with standard tubes and can result in ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), the leading cause of hospital-acquired mortality in Intensive Care. On average 10 – 20% (10,000- 20,000) patients will be diagnosed with VAP annually, with a 30% mortality rate. Each episode of VAP costs the NHS between £10k and £20k.

The NHS Innovation Accelerator has been chosen to be the body to decide which innovations join the Innovation and Technology tariff and support developers with roll out.  Developers have until 16 August to apply.

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2 comments

  1. Ian Bowns says:

    Bad examples. AliveCor may be unnecessary. Free apps (using the Smartphone’s camera) can already detect AF. PneuX also not necessary. IHI have already shown that using the VAP Care Bundle can virtually eliminate VAP. See http://www.ihi.org/resources/pages/tools/howtoguidepreventvap.aspx.

    Why should the NHS spend more money to employ costly “innovations” to achieve what can already be achieved with free or cheaper technologies? What is needed is “appropriate technology”.

  2. I work at Kings College Hospital in the cardiac catheterisation laboratories and working with 3 novel devices that fall into this category . I would be grateful for further advice about acceleration of the development programme that could help these devices reach a much wider range of patients at multiple NHS sites