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Greater Manchester Digital Health Accelerator

Regional Digital Health Accelerators

Innovative digital health businesses across the country can now join regional digital health accelerators with the aim of speeding up the adoption of technology in the NHS, relieve high pressure on services and empower patients to manage their health.

If your company is seeking engagement and traction within the digital health eco-system local to one of the regional digital health accelerators, taking part in one could help you with opportunities to connect with NHS stakeholders, industry investors, patients, and other healthtech innovators.

The programme is uniquely positioned to provide in-depth knowledge of the NHS and wider UK health and care sector to high potential companies to help them refine, develop and scale their innovations. It focuses on engagement with clinicians and healthcare experts, working collaboratively to get to the root of health and care challenges and find solutions.


Support for companies

Companies accepted onto the programme will have the opportunity to take part in workshops and training, “meet the expert” sessions, one to one clinics, and other events and learning opportunities hosted and delivered by the Accelerator and its clinical, topical, and business experts.

Each company is also assigned a ‘Navigator’: an experienced professional from the NHS with the expertise to understand their needs and share expertise and advice on products in development, NHS navigation, and business models.

Support focuses on areas specific to individual companies’ needs, with a focus on engagement with different elements of the health and care system.

Support may include:

  • Engagement with clinicians and healthcare experts
  • Refining products to meet NHS need
  • Deepening understanding of the health system
  • Showcasing innovations in health facilities
  • Developing business models to progress product development
  • Market access and navigation

We have compiled a list of questions with answers to help you decide if this is the right programme for your company, and to support you through the application process.

Click here to apply

The closing date for applications is 23:59 on 13 April 2018.  Applicants will be notified of submission outcomes in July 2018.


Accelerator FAQs 

What is the difference between the regional digital health accelerators and other programmes like the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) and SBRI?

The regional digital health accelerators are distinct from SBRI and the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA), in that they work with earlier stage companies who will benefit from closer working with the NHS in a region, for example to trial products or build their real-world evidence base.

Unlike the NIA, the regional digital health accelerators focus exclusively on companies with digitally-enabled solutions, and provide a network of regional support, rather than a national programme.

The SBRI Healthcare programme provides funding to develop innovations that meet the challenges facing the healthcare system. The regional digital health accelerators work with companies who have already developed digitally-enabled solutions.

At what stage of development do companies have to be to apply?

  • Applications from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), as defined by the European Union, will be considered. You can read the definition here: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/conferences/state-aid/sme/smedefinitionguide_en.pdf
  • The emphasis in considering companies’ suitability focuses on three areas:
  • Credibility of business – so the companies have the potential to succeed and thrive
  • NHS need, and potential to help provide appropriate solutions – so the companies are meeting a real demand
  • Potential to benefit from the programme – so the companies have the capacity to benefit from the programme

What process or criteria is used to choose companies to take part?

  • Passing the rigorous selection process is a testament to the hard work and potential of each company.
  • Companies initially apply using a central online portal, and are shortlisted against specific criteria by at least four professionals with expertise in healthcare and/or digital health. Companies scoring highly at this stage are offered an interview, which will be carried out by the relevant regional digital health accelerator team in partnership with invited experts.
  • At the interview stage, companies are interviewed by a panel of five (on average) experts from varied backgrounds, including digital, clinical, and decision-making. Experts are matched where possible to interview companies that fall in their area of expertise or need, and score each on specific criteria.
  • Applicants are ranked on their scores, and the top companies are offered a place on the appropriate accelerator, subject to due diligence checks.
  • At both the online stage and at interview, applications are scored for their suitability for participation in the accelerator in three areas:
  • Credibility of business model.
  • NHS need, and potential to help provide appropriate solutions.
  • Potential to benefit from the programme.

Which companies are eligible to apply?

To be eligible to join a regional digital health accelerator, companies must demonstrate their commitment and links to the region they are applying to, and their ability to build relationships within the region.

  • Businesses must be registered withCompanies House to join a regional digital health accelerator. We can accept sole-traders, providing you have a unique tax reference number. If you are a charity, please contact critchley@nhs.net to discuss before applying.

Will I get feedback on my company’s application?

  • Feedback for companies at interview stage will be provided at the discretion of the AHSN that leads on the relevant regional digital health accelerator. Outside of this, we are unable to give feedback to companies outside of this due to staff capacity.

Why was my company not accepted onto the [specific] accelerator (I think it should have been)?

  • There are a limited number of places on each regional digital health accelerator, and thus the application process is rigorous and as transparent and fair as possible.
  • Every online application is scored on the same criteria by an independent panel of at least four people, and at interview the panel use the same criteria and do not confer. Unfortunately on this occasion your company did not score in the top companies, and so we were unable to offer it a place.

Re: negative comment or criticism against specific company, how / why is [named accelerator] involved?

  • The regional digital health accelerator(s) aim(s) to build the capability of innovators to navigate the NHS and innovation pathway, to speed up digital innovation in the NHS. The SMEs on the programme are at different stages – some products will be ready for market, others still at an early stage, with multiple areas needing further development or further pilots to take place.
  • Whatever the product, the NHS has clear [information governance / information security/ compliance / interoperability / safety /etc] rules that must be adhered to before innovations are rolled out to patients. NHS organisations will consider these requirements before deciding to adopt something new.
  • The regional digital health accelerator(s) can help companies better understand who to talk to and work with to make sure that their products meet the requirements, but does not directly advise or regulate products on the programme.

Do(es) the accelerator(s) provide funding for companies / how does participation affect compliance with state aid rules?

The regional digital health accelerator(s) do(es) not provide direct funding and cannot formally advise on funding or make specific introductions.

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