Health Innovation Manchester has awarded almost £100,000 in funding to three local organisations which are developing digital healthcare solutions aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of citizens.
The projects being funding include an initiative to improve outcomes for patients at high risk of complex wounds, an app to prevent falls amongst older people by encouraging them to exercise and a digital platform aimed at identifying and reducing the risk of obesity in children and young people.
To be awarded funding, organisations were required to demonstrate collaboration with NHS or social care partners and, potentially, academic or other industry partners.
Health Innovation Manchester is an academic health science centre that works with local universities and care providers in Manchester to drive new technological development.
Chief executive Ben Bridgewater said it was “vital that innovative digital products are brought to market quickly and efficiently” so that health and social care could meet the demands of modern patients.
A portion of the funding was awarded to the University of Manchester, which is developing a ‘gamified’ exercise and health literacy app for older people.
Called Keep-On-Keep-Up, the app is aimed at older people with long term health conditions and encourages them to keep healthy through exercise and proper hydration and nutrition.
The funding will also support the establishment of a Community Interest Company between the University of Manchester, Reason Digital and New Charter Housing Trust to make the technology ready for market.
Meanwhile, Manchester-based iQ Digital Health has received money to help tackle child obesity through the development of an informatics platform, developed in collaboration with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
The NHS Children’s Health and Monitoring Platform (CHAMP) will collect measurements of children from Manchester’s School Health Service and make the data available to parents, carers, health care professionals, education leadership, academia, clinical and data scientists.
The aim of the platform is to help clinicians gain an understanding of child obesity patterns, predict weight related illness and improve the to identify children with the highest health risk.
Sarah Vince-Cain, clinical programme manager at CHAMP MFT, called the initiative “an extremely exciting and pioneering project that offers an unprecedented opportunity to understand how children in Manchester are growing”.
Funding has also been awarded to software consultancy MDSAS, which hopes to use its IT solutions to improve the outcomes for patients with “complex” wounds.
Complex wounds – such as those experienced by people with diabetes – are often extremely painful and require care delivered by community nurses, podiatry services and vascular outpatient clinics.
These resources are often stretched thin and have little electronic data to support them.
Using the funding awarded by Health Innovation Manchester, MDSAS will lend its integrated care platform and imaging data app to Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust to facilitate the transfer of data, including wound images, with a view of supporting early intervention schemes and improved patient management.
Health Innovation Manchester claimed this could result in “potentially multi-million pound savings for the NHS, with the long-term potential for international implementation.”
Rob Hollingsworth, MDSAS managing director, added: “Winning the grant from Health Innovation Manchester has provided us with the crucial support we needed to utilise our successful software platforms in NHS wound care, which we anticipate will deliver significant improvements for patient care and financial savings for the NHS.”