“Creating a pitch for specific audiences and understanding how the language has to change was one of the key learnings from the HIP course. They don’t teach us this when you’re studying to go into the healthcare profession. I have learned much more about positioning the product and its values according to the audience.”

Dr Carey McClellan, specialist physiotherapist in emergency care and the founder of getUbetter (HIP graduate, 2015, West of England


appsThe Healthcare Innovation Programme (HIP) has to date supported 94 healthcare entrepreneurs in Southern England to develop businesses that improve patient care, generate savings for the NHS, create jobs and economic growth.

A collaboration between four AHSNs (West of England, Kent Surrey & Sussex, Wessex and South West) and the global no. 1 university business incubator SETsquared, HIP is a unique personal development training programme helping healthcare entrepreneurs navigate what can be a very complex NHS business landscape.

Innovations that have benefitted from HIP so far include a pain self-management app, radiology image management, a speech therapy app, medical dictation software, and ‘how to’ videos for people with learning disabilities.

Many of the innovators to have been supported by HIP are at the very start of their companies’ journey and so are still developing. Others, including those who started in the first 2015 cohort, have gone on to join the National Innovation Accelerator, and may be able to benefit from the recently announced Innovation and Technology Tariff.

Challenge/ problem identified

Most start-up businesses fail within two years. Often this is due to poor business planning, misunderstanding the market, or failing to clearly identify and express the value proposition to investors or customers.

Add to that the complexity of the NHS as a market-place and the high-hurdles that need to be cleared for regulatory approval, and the NHS becomes a particularly difficult market to succeed in.

At the same time, the NHS will not meet its financial or capacity challenges by relying on innovation from within. Many other sectors such as shopping, holidays, insurance and journalism have benefited from adapting new technologies and new ways of working, and innovation is inevitable in the healthcare sector.

The Healthcare Innovation Programme (HIP) aims to bridge this gap, by ensuring healthcare innovators start on the right track, understand their market place and can therefore successfully bring their innovations to market faster for the benefit of patients.

Actions taken

  • Atlas 3Working in collaboration with the global no.1 university business incubator SETsquared, four AHSNs (Wessex, West of England, Kent Surrey Sussex, and South West) have devised an in-depth training programme focused on coaching, mentoring and providing business development support specifically to healthcare innovators.
  • An intensive four-day personal development course, the Healthcare Innovation Programme (HIP) targets people with innovative business propositions with genuine potential for health and care.
  • To date, the AHSNs have run programmes in 2015 and 2016, with more to come in 2017.
  • While covering core skills in entrepreneurship, HIP also provides delegates the opportunity to make a compelling pitch to an experienced panel and to network with like-minded innovators, and the chance to get continuing support from their local AHSN to further develop their proposition.

Impacts/ outcomes

Four AHSNs in Southern England are now working in partnership with SETsquared to deliver the Healthcare Innovation Programme (HIP) locally.

The programme is a great example of how we can work together to take advantage of centres of excellence such as SETsquared.

So far, HIP has provided business support to 94 healthcare entrepreneurs, helping them move their propositions forward, launch new products, secure investments and widen business networks. In 2017, a further 14 people are signed up to HIP in Wessex, while the West of England is currently taking applications for this year’s programme.

New products and services
HIP graduates have been supported in the development of a number of new healthcare products and services. These include:

  • getUBetter –pain self-management appunspecifiedCarey McClellan from getUBetter is a graduate from the Healthcare Innovation Programme and is now marketing their self-management apps for lower back pain. Their solution is designed to support patients, clinicians and healthcare providers. Individual sales of the apps are strong. They are rolling out the apps out to a large GP practice in Bristol and are close to securing their first NHS contract in London. Visit the getUbetter website for more information or watch this video.
  • Intelligent Sounds
    Jenny Dance, a language school owner from Bristol, has been successful in progressing her Intelligent Sounds speech therapy app thanks to HIP. The app can be used to support people with a range of conditions that can impact the clarity of speech, such as post-stroke dysarthria, speech difficulties resulting from Parkinson’s disease, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis or traumatic brain injury. Watch the video here.
  • EasyVideo
    EasyVideo enables users to scan any item around the home with a smart device and it plays a video of how to use it. For example, scan the kettle with an iPad and it plays a ‘how to make a cup of coffee’ video. Will Britton, founder and CEO of EasyVideo, has 300 paying customers and is launching a county-wide trial with in the coming year. Learn more here.
  • MyMHealth
    MyMHealth attended one of the first HIP courses in Wessex back in 2015. The company has already made significant steps towards success with MyCOPD. Since attending the course, MyMHealth has gone on to launch several new products, including MyAsthma and MyDiabetes. They have joined the National Innovation Accelerator, and are poised to benefit from the Innovation and Technology Tariff, which will see their MyCOPD product nationally funded by NHSE.

“HIP really gave our fledgling business the kick-start it needed to turn it into a successful, scalable operation. Had the West of England AHSN not offered this training programme, I would have found it impossible to build a convincing business case for my speech therapy app for potential health commissioners.”

Jenny Dance, language school owner and developer of the Intelligent Sounds app (HIP graduate, 2015, West of England)

Plans for the future

Wessex AHSN is running its 2017 HIP programme ,while the West of England AHSN is gearing up for delivery of its latest training programme to be held at the Corsham Institute in Wiltshire in May 2017.

Which national clinical or policy priorities does this example address?

  • Care and Quality
  • Health and Well Being
  • Driving Economic Growth

Start and end dates

Ongoing – started 2015

Contact for help and advice

Urszula Kapoulas, Regional Development Adviser, West of England AHSN
T: 0117 900 2155
E: urszula.kapoulas@weahsn.net

Vanesther Rees, Communications Manager, West of England AHSN
T: 0117 984 1629
E: vanesther.rees@weahsn.net

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