An initiative launched on Wednesday, DigitalHealth.London, is aiming to accelerate the development, commercialisation and uptake of digital health technologies in the UK by improving access to the market for companies and entrepreneurs.  It is hoped that this will, in turn, attract more companies and entrepreneurs to the city and establish a global centre for the development of digital health technologies.  DigitalHealth.London is a collaboration between MedCity (the Mayor of London’s life sciences promotional agency) and London’s three Academic Health Science Networks (Imperial College Health Partners, USCL Partners and the Health Innovation Network).

According to MedCity, “the use of digital health technologies is being slowed by challenges including the lack of a clear procurement route in the NHS, and difficulty in gaining access to clinicians and patients who can help shape products and explain needs and constraints at an early stage.”  DigitalHealth.London is aiming to tackle these challenges by bringing together industry, clinicians, commissioners and patients to build a better understanding of the issues and requirements in digital health.  It is suggested that this will, in turn, help identify solutions that meet the needs of patients and clinicians.

According to their website, DigitalHealth.London will create and support networks that will allow for the sharing of guidance and will provide digital health companies and entrepreneurs with access to the “best” clinical advice and assistance.  The initiative will also work to promote research in to the health outcomes and economic benefits of digital health and to tackle some of the barriers to entry that currently exist such as NHS procurement and tariffs for digital health products.

Their first major project, the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator,  will support digital health start-ups and businesses in their engagement with the NHS and the wider healthcare sector in order to improve their understanding of the health system and refine their products to meet specific needs.  The programme, to be run over three years and to support around 80 small and medium sized businesses over that period, will also provide participants with the opportunity to demonstrate the potential of their innovations and showcase their products in health facilities.  With the programme of support to start in June 2016, DigitalHealth.London are holding an Accelerator Information Day on March 7 for potential applicants.

News regarding DigitalHealth.London follows the recent announcements that the UK government will invest £4.2 billion in NHS technology over the next five years and aim to achieve a paper free health care system by 2020.