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Businesses urged to get behind Health Innovation Exchange programme

An event showcasing businesses that have benefited from the £3.14-million Health Innovation Exchange (HIE) programme marked 12-months since its official launch.

The three-year collaborative programme, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), supports businesses in the Liverpool City Region. It accelerates innovation for the health and care sectors through collaboration with the NHS, academia and industry to co-develop new or existing services, products or processes.

The HIE brings together some of the best regional minds in health, care and business who have the expertise and resources to take products and services from ideas to invoice. By working with the programme, businesses can take advantage of knowledge and expertise within the partnership to help develop solutions to joint challenges, whilst receiving guidance for navigating the health ecosystem and technical support for repurposing products and services from non-health or care fields.

Health is one of the biggest and fastest-growing growing sectors in the world, valued at £400 billion globally, and the overall aim of the programme is to catalyse businesses in the Liverpool City Region to become market leaders in health, well-being, care and innovation by encouraging the development of innovative products, services and solutions.

The showcase event was aimed at promoting the programme and encouraging more local businesses to take advantage of the support on offer. Held on Wednesday 18th October at Liverpool Life Sciences, over 80 attendees heard from Dr Simon Bowers, chair and clinical director at Digital Innovation – Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, and Dr Liz Mear, chief executive at programme partner the Innovation Agency. Businesses that have benefited from the programme, including Tom Dawson, founder of Rescon Technologies, Dave Burrows, founder of Damibu, and Phil Blything, founder Glow New Media, also addressed guests.

Over the three years of its delivery, the programme aims to provide support for 80 businesses in the Liverpool City Region, with 27 businesses already having been engaged during the first 12 months. To be eligible, businesses must be looking to develop innovative products or services within the health and care sectors and be based within the areas that make up the Liverpool City Region: Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Halton, Knowsley and Wirral.

Dr Simon Bowers, chair and clinical director at Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Ageing populations and the rise of chronic diseases are major challenges for the UK, placing considerable strain on our health and social care services, which need new and innovative ways to relieve this strain.

“By harnessing the collective expertise of the NHS and universities, the Health Innovation Exchange aims to stimulate collaboration with businesses in the Liverpool City Region, enhancing the region’s capacity as a centre of excellence in developing smart and innovative solutions, whilst enabling the health and social to deliver more effectively and efficiently.”

Liz Mear, chief executive at programme partner the Innovation Agency said: “The Liverpool City Region already has very strong expertise in healthand life sciences. The Health Innovation Exchange is building upon this to make the region the best in the UK for healthcare innovation. The programme is for any small or medium sized businesses who are developing products or services for the health and care sectors, or who have existing products that can be repurposed for the sectors.”

Dave Burrows, founder of Damibu, said: “Support from the Health Innovation Exchange has played a major role in the growth of Damibu products for the health sector. When we set up, it was our aspiration to create digital health products in the healthcare sector because we believe in tech for good, but we didn’t have any practical connections or understanding of what the real challenges of the NHS and the health needs of the nation were.

“The programme provided us with knowledge and connected us to clinicians and people who operate health services. That knowledge has helped us to begin creating digital health products that can help improve people’s quality of life.”

The Health Innovation Exchange programme is delivered through a partnership between Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, Liverpool John Moores University, Mersey Care NHS Trust, Innovation Agency (Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast), Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, AIMES and Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LCR LEP).

To find out more about the programme visit: healthinnovationexchange.com