The Velocity Health programme will support the digital transformation of the NHS
Global healthcare company Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) and Wayra UK, part of Telefónica Open Future, are once again partnering to offer two start-ups up to £68,000 investment as part of the Velocity Health programme.
Building on two years of success accelerating digital start-ups in healthcare, it will be the third year that MSD and Wayra operate Velocity Health, with the aim to accelerate AI health start-ups so that they are able to meet the ongoing healthcare challenges facing the National Health Service (NHS) in its Five Year Forward View.
The NHS is currently underfunded, needing an additional £30bn by 2020. In 2018, the programme will therefore focus on start-ups utilising technology to help support disease and illness prevention, implementing AI and Machine Learning.
Dr Junaid Bajwa, Director of Healthcare Services at MSD, explained: “As a company, MSD is deeply committed to scientific discovery, working in partnership with the healthcare system and scaling innovation. Velocity Health 2018 aims to build on the achievements of the previous two years of Velocity Health and work with start-ups that truly complement the future of healthcare delivery.
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The NHS has made digital excellence the cornerstone of its future model and we must embrace this if we are to have a healthcare system fit for the 21st Century.”
Wayra UK and MSD are committed to the identification, development, promotion and subsequent scale of UK-based start-ups, providing office space, masterclasses, one-on-one meetings and mentoring. This will be further supported through the implementation of Telefónica’s global resources and MSD’s health and data expertise, enabling increased networking opportunities.
In both the NHS Five Year Forward View and the Life Sciences Strategy, the NHS recognises the potential of technology to bring fundamental changes to healthcare delivery. Whether it is in further strengthening the science base, clinical trials capability or the creation of an environment that enables biotech and medtech companies to thrive and grow (e.g. in areas such as AI, genomics and diagnostics) or to better support population health (e.g. through empowering healthcare professionals, and empowering patients), Velocity Health 2018 wants to continue to support the NHS in their continued mission of being a pioneer in healthcare.
Spanning 10 months, the accelerator programme will nurture the entrepreneurial talent and technological expertise of each business in order to develop innovative products and services to deliver savings and efficiencies.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”