Medtech firms share funding to accelerate product development

Health Innovation Manchester Momentum Fund supports businesses developing remote medical management solutions

Funding has been awarded to three novel digital health solutions by Health Innovation Manchester

Three digital healthcare companies have been awarded a share of £140,000 as part of a funding call to accelerate innovations in Greater Manchester.

A digital platform to support remote monitoring of complex wounds, an app to help young adults and adolescents manage their type 1 diabetes, and a speech recognition app with machine learning for people with speech impairments were successful as part of the 2020-2021 Health Innovation Manchester Momentum Fund.

Health Innovation Manchester, the organisation responsible for accelerating proven innovation into Greater Manchester’s health and social care services, selected the winners with the help of a panel of representatives including patients and partners.

We are really excited to work with these companies and their clinical partners to accelerate these innovative solutions to address the specific health and social care problems they address

The winners are Technologies of Voice Interface for Voiceitt, LovedBy for nudg, and MDSAS and the University of Manchester for Woundpad.

The fund was established to support the adoption and spread of needs-led, evidence-based innovations in the health and care system.

And the focus of this year’s funding call was ‘the remote management of post-acute COVID-19 and/or chronically-ill patients at home’.

Richard Deed, associate commercial director for industry at Health Innovation Manchester, said: “Greater Manchester key opinion leaders, including clinical experts, commissioners and patient representatives, were involved throughout the process, including helping to define the initial priority areas and shortlisting and interviewing the applicants.

“Both Voiceitt and Nudg are at an earlier stage of development and are taking novel digital approaches to address problems of communication for citizens with speech and language communications issues, and preventative measures for type 1 diabetes patients.

“Woundpad is at a later stage of development and the award will assist in the rollout across Manchester of its digital system for chronic wound care management.

“We are really excited to work with these companies and their clinical partners to accelerate these innovative solutions to address the specific health and social care problems they address.”

The winners

WoundPad brings together all the different components required for the remote management of complex wounds in a community setting

1. WoundPad by MDSAS: Awarded £42,000

A partnership between MDSAS and the University of Manchester; the company has designed and built WoundPad, a digital platform that brings together all the different components required for the remote management of complex wounds in a community setting.

During COVID-19, home visits have been impacted and this innovation can help those who most need community healthcare intervention.

The web-based platform integrates with NHS networks and systems to facilitate remote management at home, early intervention, triage, and escalation of care to specialist teams in accordance with care pathways, while building crucial evidence for outcome evaluation.

Dr Rob Hollingsworth, managing director at MDSAS, said: “Winning this grant will support wider implementation of WoundPad, delivering significant benefits to patients across Greater Manchester.

“Complex wounds are painful, at risk of infection and amputation, and have significant impact on the quality of life.

“WoundPad supports clinicians in delivery of care, optimising the use of stretched community resources, identifying patients most in need, and enabling earlier communication and intervention to improve patient outcomes.

“The project aligns directly with MDSAS’s core brand ethos, to put patients at the heart of healthcare services, support healthcare professionals in the provision of better care, and drive efficiencies through innovative IT.

“This award from Health Innovation Manchester will be used to expand the implementation of WoundPad across more of Greater Manchester, bringing significant benefits for patients, clinicians, and services.”

Funding has been awarded to three novel digital health solutions by Health Innovation Manchester

2. nudg by LovedBy: Awarded £48,098

nudg is an app platform which has been developed alongside the Manchester T1 Diabetic Team to deliver positive behaviour change using artificial intelligence and personalised lessons, prompts and support to support adolescents to manage their type 1 diabetes.

The team proposes to carry out a feasibility study to measure how effective the nudg platform is in creating non-invasive, app-based, behavioural changes to improve the HbA1c levels and general self-management of Type 1 diabetes in young adults and adolescents.

Matt Farrar, founder and chief executive of LovedBy, said: “We are really excited about the funding as it really unlocks our ability to run our clinal trial programme in Manchester.

“The Momentum Award success will provide valuable funds to support our joint research teams for up to 12 months.”

Voiceitt is an accessible tool and protective measure that improves independence, facilitates verbal communication, and reduces the potential of COVID-19 viral exposure

3. Voiceitt by Technologies of Voice Interface. Awarded £50,000

Voiceitt's speech recognition technology is designed to recognise and translate non-standard speech patterns.

The mobile app can be used to interpret a user’s unique speech sounds and produce voice commands through artificial intelligence and the platform’s algorithms.

Voiceitt is an accessible tool and protective measure that improves independence, facilitates verbal communication, and reduces the frequent need for proximity during conversation of a caregiver, therapist or nurse, thereby reducing potential COVID-19 viral exposure.

The project aims to test how well the system functions and what clinical impacts this can have.

Sara Smolley, head of partnerships and alliances at Voicett, said: “Voiceitt is an Israel-based start-up that has built powerful automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology for non-standard speech.

“The aim of the project is to validate and bring to market Voiceitt's first product, a mobile app enabling in-person communication and access to Alexa voice services through a clinical pilot study.

“The project will support the company's market entry into the UK market and expand the impact of Voiceitt's AI-driven technologies in the local communities in Manchester and across the United Kingdom.”

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