SBRI Healthcare Competition 19 – NHS Reset and Recovery and New Ways of Working

Fund Name: Competition 19 - NHS Reset and Recovery and New Ways of Working
Project Length: 9 months
Project Value: Up to £500k
Deadline: 13/10/2021


The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Healthcare competition is launched by NHS England and NHS Improvement in partnership with the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) to identify innovative new products and services. This competition seeks to address the critical need of supporting the NHS resetting and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, and finding new adapted ways of working to support the system finding appropriate ways of working, through taking services outside hospitals and closer to patients or supporting the workforce delivering care effectively. The ambition is to find mature innovative solutions, with demonstrated evidence of efficacy and accuracy that address one or both of the following areas:

1. Reducing the NHS workforce pressure
2. Increasing NHS effectiveness

Applicants are asked to consider their innovation on the whole system and their impact on care pathways and services delivery. Innovators should also demonstrate they are aware of the competitive environment, even considering working together with other companies to bring forward solutions that can make a real difference.

Fund Details

Challenge 1:

Innovative solutions are sought to reconfigure patient pathways to release pressure on a stretched NHS workforce and include but are not limited to:
1. Diagnostic and screening tools which can be operated by non-medically trained staff and care workers away from hospital to assist with outpatient backlogs and capacity / demand mismatch and prevent unnecessary visits to the hospital.
2. Tools that enable care workers in care homes to perform an increased number of clinical assessments and collect information through integrated IT systems that can be a point to point connection involving care homes, GPs, secondary care and ambulances (and social care) to enable appropriate sharing of data and information.
3. Access to community diagnostic testing and/or remote consultations, for example:
•Through the development of mobile and/or community diagnostic hubs providing “one stop shop” diagnostics for patients presenting with long-term conditions (e.g., audiology services, diabetic patients, FIT testing, long-term respiratory disorders, shortness of breath, blood analysis, ultrasound, confusion, etc) and long-COVID.
• Mobile diagnostic services that support pattern recognition, leveraging the power of artificial intelligence, to empower the more junior NHS workforce to accurately and safely perform a range of tests, and make faster clinical decisions.
4. Educational and training programmes, tools or technology that enhance learning though:
• Remote and/or virtual training tools for temporary staff / agency worker / community workers to enable the safe delivery of services within robust governance frameworks, and provide the best support within a short timeframe.
• Remote and/or virtual real-time orientation of the existing workforce (including nurses and resources deployed in the wider community) to enhance training in NHS settings which experience acute pressure.

Challenge 2:

Innovative solutions are sought to increase NHS effectiveness and include but are not limited to:
1. Risk stratifications tools to stratify and prioritise patients to ensure all patients can access care at the right time and at the right place.
2. Tools that enable the NHS to model and manage waiting lists in order to:
• Identify and monitor low complexity, high volume patients that can be managed in the community before they enter the waiting list.
• Manage patients on the waiting list in order to (i) ensure their symptoms do not escalate thus requiring interventions and (ii) prevent further attendance to primary care and community diagnostics
• Ensure all pre-surgery tests/investigations are efficiently booked in and performed ahead of hospital visits.
3. Transform services through robotic process automation to reduce burden on NHS staff and on administrative tasks.
4. Develop integrated systems that allow a point-to-point connection of patients records everywhere at any time, and that can communicate the information in real time in various diverse settings. The systems need to enable access to all test results to prevent duplication of diagnostic efforts and enhance effectiveness of care.
5. Technologies that can be used in primary or community care settings to shift downstream the diagnostic, rule-in or rule-out of patients presenting with symptoms and avoid the use of expensive, time-consuming procedures in secondary care.

The competition is open to single companies or organisations from the private, public and third sectors, including charities. The implementation will be 100% funded and suppliers for each project will be selected by an open competition process and retain the intellectual property rights (IPR) generated from the project, with certain rights of use retained by the NHS.


The call is open to innovations in an advanced stage of development. The aim is to accelerate these innovations into relevant health or social settings, and to facilitate the collection of evidence in real-world settings required by commissioners and regulators to make purchasing or other recommendations/decisions. The call is open to any innovation (e.g. medical device, in-vitro diagnostic, digital health and AI solutions and services) that meets the following requirements:
• CE mark or equivalent regulatory approval obtained for the proposed application (or evidence demonstrating the technology is close to obtaining approval) and/or Product in use in at least 1 Trust.
• Clinical efficacy and safety demonstrated through clinical trial.
• Clear partnership established with relevant service(s) / site(s) and relevant clinical team(s).
• For digital solutions, evidence that the technology has passed the necessary information governance and cyber security requirements.

There are a number of technologies, or types of solution, which are already available, sometimes from multiple suppliers, these are listed below. Any technologies that negatively impact staff workloads will
also be excluded.
• Early cancer detection and efficient diagnosis technologies and solutions are excluded as they are covered in the SBRI Healthcare Cancer Competition.
• Systems and solutions that do not consider full integration and end-to-end implementation for a chosen pathway.
• Technologies that may increase burden on the workforce, that are not fully inclusive and diverse and that may contribute to creating health inequalities (including digital exclusion or data inequalities).

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